We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Those who have in their mind that mind does not exist seem to think (although with what, it's hard to know) that they can place themselves outside the equation, so to speak, and transcend the rest of us. However, if they dismiss the existence of mind, they consequentially dismiss the existence of their own, negating any possible reason to pay the slightest attention to them.
I read that book many years ago, and could barely make heads or tails of it. I could understand the words and a few of the concepts, but I do not accept that there could have been populations of human beings with no sense of self, which is what I understand consciousness to be. Even higher animals have a sense of self, even if they don't think like we do.
That's what I like about this overview, read the whole thing if you get a chance. He replaces 'consciousness' with 'theory of mind' and it makes more sense. The way we perceive our mind as influenced by modern psychology is quite different from even a few hundred years ago and very much different farther back.
Ditto on the overview; this is how I (unconsciously) interpreted Jaynes. It's a hell of a story, as full of holes as Swiss cheese, and pretty much unverifiable--good scientists don't put much stock in self-reported data. Nevertheless, a hell of a story.
That's a very interesting article. I don't know if I would understand the subject well enough to enjoy the book, but it does give a lot to think about. I can understand how emotions or random thoughts could be considered outside forces, but I can't imagine life without 'theory of mind.'
It's hard to tell if Jaynes' theory is crazy enough to actually work or just crazy.
I read that book many years ago and was very impressed. Academically, it was relegated to the fringe, maybe out of professional jealousy, maybe out of his use of historical evidence and of hypnosis as key supporting evidence.
One conclusion I took away is that his hypothesis also explained why men think women are so often crazy. Men have more divided brains - left and right. The brains of women have their hemispheres much more tightly bound. Maybe that's why they can mutli-task better and men can better singularly focus, or even obsess.
I don't think feminists liked that implication and was another reason the book got a chilly reception in academia.
If you want to know what the mind is, read the Shiva Sutras. It is an ancient text that describes exactly what the mind is in detail. It is quite scientific, but there may be terms in there that one is not accustomed to using....
Reminds me of Stephenson’s “Snow Crash,” which hypothesized a pattern which would entrance people. It originated in the Bronze Age—and here’s where it’s hilarious—would be used by fundamentalists today. (The biggest thought controllers on the planet are self-proclaimed atheist-socialists.)
Eric Raymond (at http://esr.ibiblio.org/) has written similarly.
He uses voodoo, um, demons, as projections of his personality to focus his mind. He also wrote that other people thought differently than he did; that they thought more in language than he does. I think he’s read Jaynes.
It’s been too long since I’ve read his essays to give them a full and reasonable summary. Go to the source.