"Sometimes, you have to go into into the dark in order to see the light" -Gary Schwartz
Scott MC wrote:Consciousness is, in at least one sense, what we are.
As such, the absence of anything even close to a working definition for it should be a bit more of a cause for concern in scientific circles than it seems to be at present.
Scott MC wrote:But consciousness is what we are.
The first section (of three) is must reading for anyone who wants to discuss consciousness. Jaynes' analysis is an excellent effort at pinning down exactly what is this thing we call consciousness, and as you point out, what it is not. He goes through a variety of misconceptions, showing that consciousness is not intelligence, not memory, not thinking, not learning...tayga wrote:At the beginning of Julian Jaynes' 'The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind', he demonstrates a number of things that consciousness ISN'T. You'd be surprised.
Julian Jaynes wrote:Consciousness is a much smaller part of out mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate! It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when it actually does not.
Scott MC wrote:has any researcher made a link between consciousness and life?
On the contrary. Jaynes approaches the subject in a scientific manner, he defines consciousness in the first section of the book. The problem with most discussions of consciousness is that everyone has a different idea of what it is. Jaynes starts out by establishing a working definition; as the reader progresses with the book, he knows precisely what Jaynes means when he uses the word "conscious." Whether the reader agrees or not with his conclusions, the meaning of the word is understood.Scott MC wrote:Jaynes' valiant attempt to describe consciousness never comes close to any kind of intelligible definition.
Jaynes explains how consciousness arises from language. That is the cultural connection, conciousness is locked into a social context. Our consciousness arises from our use of language, specifically the use of metaphors and analogs.Scott MC wrote:There are semantic difficulties with English (the whole 'being unconscious' thing), and there are obviously some very fertile brains on it, but really, when you simply look for conclusions, there are none - not even a working hypothesis.
Recommended: The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind, by Julian JaynesScott MC wrote:I'm not very well read at all in the field yet, but has any researcher made a link between consciousness and life?
nick c wrote: Jaynes proposes that there were entire civilizations of humans in the past that did not possess consciousness.
nick c wrote:Jaynes explains how consciousness arises from language.
nick c wrote:
Jaynes proposes that there were entire civilizations of humans in the past that did not possess consciousness.
Yes, Sanskrit literature would be well into the era of consciousness. Obviously, consciousness would be a requirement for anyone who brings up the subject of "consciousness."John MC wrote:But seriously.
The whole Sanskrit literature revolves around the subject of consciousness. Yoga? Meditation? Ayurveda? Perhaps it was after Mr Jaynes' time that these things became known about in the US and elsewhere.
But that is exactly what Jaynes does. After reading the book, there will be no doubt in the readers mind as to what constitutes "consciousness," whether or not you agree with the author's conclusions.John MT wrote:Mr Jaynes' approach assumes that consciousness 'arises'. But until we can ascertain the point and moment it does so, what to speak of knowing its nature and characteristics, that idea too should be recognised as entirely unsubstantiated.
Exactly. I do not remember any discussion, by Jaynes, of Adam and Eve. But I am sure that he would agree that it is an allusion made by conscious man, to the time when humans were bicameral, ie without consciousness.I'd go with that too. It fits with the Adam and Eve thing, "they were naked and knew it not".
Animals have no guilt about their nakedness. Eating from the 'tree' awoke them to their
This is an opinion, to which you are entitled. What is "authority" and what are you looking for to qualify as an "authority"?I don't accept Mr Jaynes as an authority on consciousness, despite his book.
Mr Jaynes' theory doesn't even have credentials
What he wrote impresses me, not so much his credentials.Julian Jaynes was born on West Newton, Massachusetts. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard and McGill and then went on to receive both his master's and doctoral degrees in Psychology from Yale. Jaynes was a popular teacher and he lectured in the psychology department at Princeton University from 1966 to 1990. He also served as Visiting Lecturer or Scholar in Residence in departments of philosophy, English, and archeology and in numerous medical schools. Julian Jaynes was an associate editor of the internationally renowned journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences and on the editorial board of the Journal of Mind and Behavior.
http://radio-weblogs.com/0107127/storie ... Meraz.html
Again, you are entitled to an opinion. But to classify Jaynes' theory as New Age makes no sense. I have never seen any New Age literature refer to Jaynes or promote his theory? but then I really don't read too much of that. To dismiss it as "New Age bunkum" seems like a convenient method of avoiding having to deal with the issues.Imho, it's just Darwinian/New Age bunkum
Jaynes use of the word 'introspection' is not at all vague. It is the ability to examine one's own thoughts, experience, feelings, etc. Jaynes goes on to explain how language creates a mental structure that allows for this introspection. The subject which is being introspected upon is the discretion of the person doing the introspecting, it may be profound or mundane. (I suspect from what you wrote above, that you are a proponent of the premise that consciousness is an innate property of all life, that it has levels. While I would disagree, I certainly can understand your position. Can you understand mine?)It's also very polluting semantically - adding to the utter confusion re: consciousness.
My point is, that the phrase "that which is introspectable" begs the question, 'why do we know practically nothing about 'that which is introspectable', despite Mr Jaynes' book?
And how high is his theory on the scale of introspectability, from, say ...
1. Why do I suffer? or How can I be happy?
Does Mr Jaynes describe pranayama or yoga at all?
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