Highlights from Julian Jaynes

From The Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

So we arrive at the position that the actual process of thinking, so usually thought to be the very life of consciousness, is not conscious at all and that only its preparation, its materials, and its end result are consciously perceived.

The very reason we need logic at all is because most reasoning is not conscious at all.

How often we reach sound conclusions and are quite unable to justify them! Because reasoning is not conscious.

It is something of a lovely surprise that the irregular conjugation of our most nondescript verb is thus a record of a time when man had no independent word for ‘existence’ and could only say that something ‘grows’ or that it “breathes.”

A theory is thus a metaphor between a model and data. And understanding in science is the feeling of similarity between complicated data and a familiar model.

Or, to say it another way with echoes of John Locke, there is nothing in consciousness that is not an analog of something that was in behavior first.

An aura of flames flashes up from his shoulders as he speaks (which has made some scholars think it is Shamash, the sun-god). Hammurabi listens intently as he stands just below him (“under-stands”).

Even today, our ideas of nobility are largely residues of bicameral authority: it is not noble to whine, it is not noble to plead, it is not noble to beg, even though these postures are really the most moral of ways to settle differences. And hence the instability of the bicameral mind.

Every god is a jealous god after the breakdown of the bicameral mind.

A collection of Alan Kay quotes

Art is the reminder that our brain is so limited that we can hardly deal with getting from one moment to the next, art forces us to acknowledge there is more there.

Jokes and discoveries are very much related (taking you into a different path and reveal that you’re in a  different context.

If you see the present as a construction, you can have ideas about the future that are much better.