Thoughts On The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind
First there was nothing, at least nothing that could be remembered or perceived. Then there was evolutionary man in physical form. Like waking from sleep the body was there before the awareness of it came into it. Over time unconscious people developed a wonderful communication tool called language. This happened over millions of years since evolution moves very slow from our perspective. From there, language gave birth to metaphor; the ability to explain the non-tangible. Take love for example; a concept that does not objectively exist as a thing but can be explained in metaphor and no one seems to question references to it as a thing. In this way the dynamic, incrementally changing, self identity based on chosen and applied identifications are averaged out in time to construct a self image that is non-tangible and can only be explained through metaphor.
As metaphor came the end of the era of what I will call absolute bicameral control shifted into the initial phase of partial bicameral mind that involves the perception of space and time but is still largely unconscious. This is Eden, where ignorance is bliss. Unconscious man who is commanded by "god' (aka the non-speaking half of the brain from the video at the beginning of this blog) directly and not able to make decisions for himself. There is no time, no guilt, no shame, no need for saving from one's sins, no death, no personal responsibility. All these things require self awareness that had not evolved yet. As we move on, the voice (god) gives commands that can be deviated from. Don't eat from this tree. The first deviation from full bicameral god voice enslavement is "original sin."
This begins the era of non-absolute bicamerality or partial bicamerality where man hears the voice of god directly and follows his commands mindlessly but can disobey to a degree, but not without punishment. Adam and Eve eat from the tree and as promised by the snake in the story are made like the gods, knowing good from evil. This means they would have the beginnings of conscious thought; able to decide to follow the instructions of the god voice or not. The choice is non-absolute bicamerality. Gnostics view this as the birth of early consciousness, believing the god that withholds knowledge to be evil. This was the first opportunity for conscious wisdom to be utilized, where traditional Christianity looks at it as the downfall of humanity. The first sin that caused man to be kicked out of the garden was "ignorance is bliss." Before this, there was no power because knowledge is power. There was also no responsibility as responsibility springs from power. This begins a pre-conscious phase but before the initial fall there was basically no memory as there was no language or very little and then oral tradition became available.
As we move on over very long periods of neurological, societal, and cultural evolution, this partial bicamerality of direct spoken voices with god-like commands begins to fade and the reliance on idols and objects becomes required to educe and contain the god who gives instruction. These gods know every thought in your head since they reside in the other brain inside your head, but now they begin to require a physical external idol to visibly give the voice context that is becoming lost in the addition of partial consciousness. This reminds me of Wilson the volley ball that served as Tom Hanks's character friend in castaway. Any conversation coming from his mind but applied to the ball.
Unaware of the split brain, humans at this time believed that temples were where "god" physically resided and that idols were the god itself. In the old testament this is in the arch of the covenant or the temple, meaning the house of god, were he actually is. Now the modern church has a strange idea that god is everywhere, in heaven, but more in a church and more where two or three are gathered in Jesus's name. This is never seemed to make sense to me but I digress. These temples and idols are the place where the god resides that speaks in audible form to the people giving them commands. Back then it was common to hear the voice of god and in some cases even see god through auditory and visual hallucinations coming from the then dominant half of the non-integrated, split brain.
This accounts for the acts of god not being questioned. It also accounts for how evil the commands of god seemed to be in the old testament. It is important to note that other historical explanations are available from the Greeks, Egyptians, Aztecs and basically every ancient culture but for that, read the Bicameral Mind Theory book.
Neurological evolution continues and language gives birth to writing which further diminishes the direct power of the gods. The bicameral mind that was communicating in auditory form initially is thought to read to the person. We see the ten commandments appear and now god is represented by law as opposed to direct communication. This law can be fixed and referenced by everyone where the bicameral voice was individual but submitted to in hierarchical form. In small cultures, the leader or chief communicated most directly with god and in some cases was thought of as god himself. In other cases, the leader would die and the voice of the leader would continue on in bicameral form as the authority.
As writing increases bicamerality still exists since there are no clean lines of separation in evolution. Instead, there are critical mass points like the crest of a wave. Fewer people communicate with god directly. Many people feel abandoned by their gods as they are now developing early consciousness and long for their god come back and tell them what to do so they don't have to interpret the law for themselves. Any personal responsibility or decision making is feared since it didn't exist prior. Many people turn to prophets, oracles, and others who still can communicate with the gods do to a stronger bicameral remnant. This is very similar to adults telling children "enjoy it now, this is the best years of your life" and the children having no consciousness or contrast to recognize the message. Depression is only available to the conscious but so is joy. Both exist through conscious contrast. The loss of innocence is only realized after it is outgrown.
Religious masses today reference heaven as the new Eden: the place of unconscious pleasure with no contrast, where ignorance is bliss. Based on this common view, there is no conscious decision-making in heaven. If you were able to decide what to do it would very quickly start to resemble earth. I have been told by people from a few different religions that we can't understand these things here on earth but in heaven we can ask god. Unfortunately you won't be able to decide if you like the answer he gives since, based on my idea of consciousness, you won't have the neurological ability to decide if you like the answer the big guy gives you or not.
People wait for god or Jesus, who is god and gods son according to many, to return so they do not have to struggle with their own choices. He will judge and make judgments for them. The people feel alone and abandoned. Loneliness is also a creation of consciousness. Your mind is integrated with itself so you perceive yourself as one instead of two and then are alone as a result. Alone in the world, alone in our own heads, as we all are. Never fully known, people often beg for forgiveness and use the written law (bible) to make decisions for them instead of using reason. As a child I was taught not to steal because it was a sin to steal and the written law of god says not to. I teach my child not to steal because if he does he will instantaneously lose the ability to trust. He will receive this inability to trust as punishment wether he gets caught or not. If a punishment is instantaneous and not from god and happens if you get caught or not, then ethics don't require religion. The truth is based on rational ethics there is one to forgive the action, instead of asking for forgiveness from a god where we are forced to learn from the mistake and not repeat it out of his own reason and self interest.
This rational ethic has nothing to do with god and those who get their ethics from god or gods law believe that no one could ever use self awareness and self discipline without a divine judge threatening to send them to hell. They look at the past unconscious bicameral man or at modern semi-conscious semi-bicameral man and do not believe that ethics without gods are possible just because they themselves are not able to behave without a judge, they assume others cannot either. They have never been able to self-regulate in the past but in a fully conscious future they will be able to.
The written language and law then further establish a conscious mind and as time goes on fewer and fewer people have bicameral voices in their heads. Those that do become increasingly volatile. The addition of consciousness and the ability to question a voice leads into what we now see as chaotic schizophrenia. Cultures collapse and this is the breakdown of the bicameral mind. The theory is that initially when the shift from spoken to written language happened the visual/god side of the brain would speak the words as commands so written word had an idol function to induce fleeting bicameral speech. This is why the treatment of the actual commandment stones themselves was treated the way that it was. Here we find a shift from one voice to lots of voices; the addition of angels and demons as the bicameral voices are questioned and the neurological transition further away from absolute bicamerality. This makes the abandonment feel more intense as people still struggling with conscious choice and personal responsibility establish the casting of lots (rolling dice) or use of idols to make decisions and imposing the will of god on the dice as an indirect communication from the now silent gods.
We often see religions give value to their shiny crosses and the modern New Age community is infatuated with shiny rocks and crystals that they give certain characteristics to. It is all the same as they are still not able to rely on their own conscious minds and need the beauty of a particular rock to give them what they want. I have known some people to spend lots of money and time making trinkets called organite. They say that these shiny trinkets can block electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and can protect a person. I once mentioned that if it blocked frequencies (like on a cell phone for example) it would render the cell phone useless since it's a wireless device that receives frequencies in the form of calls. The unconscious give power to external objects because they don't have enough reason on their own to have self confidence. My five year old is drawn to anything shiny. This mentality in children and in a bicameral neurological scenario (including adults that are closer to bicamerality) all flock to these objects or anything they can make into modern idols.
This concludes Part 2
Part 3 will lead us from the written language into the construct of heaven. The place far away were the gods have gone when in fact the bicameral voices are being replaced by a conscious mind.
Rob Alexander is on a journey to learn not just about health but everything else.
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