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Bicameral / Bicamerality:

The quality of having ‘two rooms , chambers, or main branches. The term was coined into a cognitive definition by Julian Jaynes — who uses it to indicate ‘two kingdoms’ of consciousness co-existing as potentially discrete entities in a single person. Jaynes’ model proposes that over a timeline covering the last 6000 years of human history we lost an anciently conserved aspect of human consciousness, trading it for a new form of memory and representational awareness. This aspect was one in which we heard voices, learned in seemingly impossible ways, and were by all modern standards profoundly different creatures. We were more akin to our models of advanced aliens in some dimensions, and at the same time more prone to what would seem by modern standards to be outlandishly irrational pogroms of various sorts. In effect, tantrums.

For example, back then, celestially authorized voices in our head could drive us around like cars...commanding us almost like puppets, in the name of a human sovereign — such as a King or Prophet — or in the name of God(s).

We used external toys to conserve memory of identity, tasks and locations, and our own memory was formative at best. Jaynes saw these matters as a mechanism of achieving tight social cohesion in groups, which led to dramatic new opportunities for benefit and stability.


The bicameral person has common ongoing experience of ‘being told’ the memories, commands, intelligence and admonitions of an ‘other who speaks within’. Sometimes these events are entirely involuntary, and contain admonitions or instructions which ‘must be carried out at all costs, immediately’. Often this other is identified with a celestial dimension, or — in cognitive terms — the dimension representative of ‘authority’ and its hierarchies. A bicameral culture is one in which this status is ‘normal’, and unicamerality within such a culture would be experienced as ‘alien’.

A unicameral person (the position we inhabit) has purportedly either integrated (unlikely) or displaced what is essentially ‘half’ of consciousness — the half we might have once referred to as divine, and which we now don’t refer to much at all except to silence. badly emulate or diagnose it. Most modern theistic religions are mimicking themselves as reconstructors of a viable assembly-call to unified bicameral experience, yet any actual bicamerality would be severely punished by these same edifices.

In very recent history we have repeatedly seen the relative ease with which a mechanized unicameral culture based in object commerce will decimate and control the terrain of any extant bicameral culture once empowered to do so. Even without large-scale terrestrial crisis — unicameral cultures of any size have always been a virulent enemy of their predecessors in every case. [1]


This ‘mode of consciousness’ is generally denigrated such that it appears to be an undesirable consequence of something we did not yet possess (a hallucinatory denigration of our modern consciousness by comparison) rather than a family of abilities that was obscured and co-opted by competing momentums. The problem is clear: to admit anything other than hallucination was happening would require we attempt to explain what that happening was — and this activity would lead us away from cognitive archeology into theology — a dimension that Jaynes was happy to take an abstract or academic view toward.

He was an archaeologist more than a theologian, and part of his agenda as an academic was to debunk the idea that other forms of intelligence might exist in locally accessible transports — and that religions might be records of such contact. From his position there was no way for him to metaphy these dimensions of consciousness as actually having to do with contact with anything other than something akin to sustainable group hypnosis. He paints these collective cognitive activities as a primitive precursors to our modern consciousness, and shows that these momentums are still with us in forms we would recognize — such as the ‘imaginary friend’ of the child, and the admonitory demons of dark psychosis.

The general outline of the book paints ‘the gods’ as primarily imaginal or metaphoric figurations, a kind of auto-regenerative group hallucination common to the intimately knit civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Ur. While I agree that these societies were ‘something akin to bicameral’, I do not subscribe to his implication that these qualities of consciousness were fundamentally ‘hallucinatory’ or ‘self-generated’.

It is certainly true that these experiences and ‘directives’ most often take place in an imaginal ‘dimension’ — but this does not comprise evidence that they are merely local simulations — even if they were, they are not simulations of nothing. We must remember that all of metaphication, including the forms with which we question and explore such matters — everything we have ever thought or ‘proven’ is imaginal in basis! Remove humans from the picture, and all of the ‘proofs’ and names and structures of ‘rational fact’ are entirely void.

All of our intellectual and knowledge-activity takes place in precisely the same sort of imaginal dimension. The very mind with which we decide ‘what is hallucination’ is just as ‘hallucinatory’ as whatever we may agree to degrade with this epithet.


Prior to 7000 years ago, human history probably made a few flops back and forth between various mixtures of these two modes, until some 4000 years ago when the remaining bicameral kingdoms were shattered, and the remaining bicameral peoples became the subject of open persecution. From this time forward they and their kind have been generally hated and killed by those who were no longer able to ‘hear the counsels and teachings of the gods with(in)’. [2]

When these features of our consciousness were lost or environmentally challenged, the resulting ‘unicameral’ peoples became increasingly violent in their active opposition to or predation upon the remaining bicamerals, and many of the stories of persecution we are familiar with today emerge nearly intact from this ancient prejudice. A unicameral society will ideologically frame its bicameral members as bad, wrong, broken, criminal, undesirable for congress or diseased — as justification for imprisonment, rape, slavery, execution, or ‘conversion’ to ‘a more civilized model’. In many or most cases these cultures actually pretend to bicameral roots, such as in the spurious ‘Christian Basis’ of North America — particularly the United States.

The transition from a bicameral paradigm to formal representation was fraught with anomalous phases and false starts. Additionally, the phases played out along unique timelines on different continents, such that the unicameral culture of Spain could penetrate and destroy essentially pristine bicameral cultures in South America, as later those of England would do in the northern continent.


According to Jaynes’ perspective, over a period of around a thousand years, the gods ‘left earth’ — perhaps as the result of a variety of events which shattered or severely stressed complexly evolved localized cultures. Human unity was the lens that assembled ‘contact with the gods’ and when terrestrial events shattered this, that contact disappeared as surely as if it had never existed. Our modern religions exist as almost indecipherable memoirs of the times prior to and during this disappearance.

What this actually meant was that a kind of ‘first channel’ in our imaginal universe shut down unexpectedly for whole civilizations. A greater catastrophe could not be imagined, and in fact the idea that something which had always been present could disappear had never really occurred to anyone. It was about the same as if everyone’s eyes suddenly stopped working for no apparent reason.

The resultant chaos and reorganization of meaning, consciousness and civilization set up successive ‘mini-apocalypses’ proceeding from our many competing responses to this initial loss. These events marked the beginnings of our long exile into the dimensions of semantic abstraction, memory, ‘psychology’, ‘language math’, and ‘the sciences’. In the wake of this very sudden change, those left ‘inwardly blind’ had to try to understand or justify what had happened. The result? Guilt, by association: If the celestial ones left us, we must have somehow offended them...

Usually these cultures organized around a central teacher, prophet or protective sovereign. Large groups often formed into unique sub-instances or ‘families’ within collectives — each one uniquely recapitulating their larger superset(s). We still carry this entire assembly within us — we can see that the inner self we form and sustain in distant remembrance of these fundamentally human necessities is amenable to to the same analogy. The primary difference is that as a result of the loss of our bicamerality we have largely moved from exploring the experience and expressions of enacted human unification — to isolated simulations which when enacted breed catastrophe. Eventually a transport leading in the general direction of this cognitive heritage was ‘re-discovered’ in the mutually adoring relationship we call ‘love’.


Bicamerals and Memory

Jaynes believes that (as a species) we did not possess an analog of our modern formal representational memory until relatively recently (starting 5000-2500 years ago). Before this time he shows evidence that we probably used tokens, particularly dolls and other ‘idols’ as inductive autohypnotic transports — allowing us to record and recall primarily by associating memory with a physical toy (an ‘idol’). Essentially he is suggesting that human memory is based in an earlier analog which required extrinsic tokens. Over time, we assembled the necessary ‘re-presentative’ skills such that we could effectively resignal ourselves in a new dimension. He provides a variety of credible evidence for this general idea throughout his book.

His theories on this matter have met primarily with scorn, but my own experience and research leads me to credential his innovative position, if not his specific timelines. I have clear memories of my own early phases of enlanguaging, and I find his speculations congruent with my own experience. This might lend support to the idea that his theories are pointing in a generally correct if seemingly radical direction, and also that we may each be recapitulating all of these phases ourselves during our own enlanguaging and enculturation. The latter position is clearly evidenced in the cognitive maturation of human children.

What we ‘used to do’ with solid dolls, we now do with formal lexical symmetries — metaphor. Except almost none of us are aware of any of these terrains, or their significance in our lives and planetary history as a species.


There is a subvocalization phase in most children’s experience of learning to read. This ‘inward gesture’ is eventually transferred out the ‘place’ in conscious anatomy where it is founded, into a place where vocalization is simulated only vaguely if at all when reading. Yet in the early phases of ‘sounding out’ words and phonemes, we are either sub-vocalizing, or performing a cognitive analog of this. During this activity the elemental structure of our consciousness is changing, as previously conserved potentials are sloughed off in favor of the incoming complexities and requirements of formal language. Some of those

Acting as an invasive terrain-predator, language establishes itself as a priority in many simultaneous domains of our cognitive person. The rewards of enlanguaging to the human person appear profound — more attention from those around us and increased opportunities for survival, fulfillment, reproduction and elaboration of self. Yet perhaps we should know more about what we are trading away for the gifts of abstraction, comparative valuing, and relation that come with language and their informal and formal logics. Too often the appearance of profound reward is hiding something —too often the something hiding there is a predator.


Bicamerality, Psychism, Psychosis

Adults in the West are scripted by parents, culture and peers to dispose of the anomalous cognitive events of children with a smirk implying they somehow ‘know better’. In most cases, we do this with each other as well. In general, at least here in the West, the child’s impossibly adaptive natural intelligence is openly attacked, shattered, co-opted and sold back to them at ever-increasing prices, in an absurd and exponentially expanding assortment of costumes. Why? By which I mean to ask: what is it that is so profoundly missing in us and our children that endless millions of plastic doll-like reductions must be manufactured and consumed ever-more rapidly to account for this inconceivable impoverishment?

Even this question is dwarfed by our complete denigration of forms and ways of learning and expression we (as ‘adults’) consider primitive. A human infant, apparantly ‘intellectually helpless’, will learn over 150 distinct alien languages within the first year of its life. How exactly do we each accomplish this? We are told the answer is ‘still unknown’, which means essentially that ‘experts are still stumped’. The reason they are stumped is that they seek a mechanical answer in a dimension where the answers are so amazing that to glance in the general direction of the truth would completely eradicate most of what we know as science.

In the processes of enlanguaging and enculturation, a human infant will develop and express cognitive skills which far exceed those of the savant. If merely encouraged, each child will naturally magnify these into potentials of learning and application unheard of and unbelieved in by ‘rational adults’. We see no examples of this because it is nowhere allowed, not because our children fail to be born incumbent geniuses. The environment is ‘dead-set-against’ the establishment of the child’s native intelligence, and prefers a crippling analog which effectively assassinates prodigy.

I wish to suggest that an element of the ‘learning engines’ employed by children is direct contact with a transhuman and atemporally local sentient ‘entity’, and since this is generally denied or co-opted by adult stories which openly contradict the truth, the children are ‘punished to silences’ or congruance with absurd paradigms acting as predatory obstacles to understanding these matters. As to the potential to retain and elaborate access to this non-human ‘dimension’ of intelligence — there is none. With extremely few exceptions, the environment within which each of us are immersed will attack us nearly every time we move in that direction. So there is a direct cultural pressure against anyone who desires to explore these dimensions of ‘anomalous cognition’.

As a child I was deeply curious about these matters, and I spoke at length with other children of my age, younger and older at every opportunity. I was consistently asking them for reports of anything out of the ordinary, especially things the adults would not credential or believe, or experiences which they were told ‘were just their imagination’.

The results were consistently startling. Eventually I came to believe that the majority of gateway experiences of youth were neatly snipped off and discarded with precisely this sort of strategy. My own parents, who were young (in their 20’s) and somewhat liberal, if atheist (they sometimes entertained metaphysical ideologies and discussions), were always quick to silence or deny any sort of cognitive event or behavior that didn’t appear to ‘fit the norm’ or that would too significantly single me out for attention. In every case the incredible adventures of dreaming and matters I will not here pursue were silenced, translated into meaningless babble, and openly denied to me. Perhaps worse, my parents and family were consistently denied the fruits such understandings might have bore had they ever received the least nurturence or terrain for elaboration.

This is of course not ‘my story’ but the story of a nation, a continent, and in fact hundreds or thousands of generations of human beings. Why must we denigrate matters of connectivity which do not fit our models? Purportedly it is to ‘protect us from nonsense and charlatains’ — yet somehow it seems to increase their numbers, rape us of what it is supposed to be protecting at ever-higher prices, and deliver us naked and helpless to the servitude of even more bizarre and deadly predators. I have no experience of humanity or any person ‘being protected’ by these denials at all. In fact, my experience, and the experience of the children and adults I have known and spoken to is one of rape. Open, overt rape, repetitively applied to children who are blamed for the incidents and charged incessently for re-application of the blade. Why would we be cognitively raping our children?
























The Lens Effect

It may well be that common contact with ‘the Celestial Ones’ or ‘the unityBeing’ requires that certain dimensions of human unity are well-established and luxuriously nurtured.


Bicamerals and God [meaning] or Logics [structures]


Bicamerals in ‘Fiction’ and Mythos:

• Fiver in ‘Watership Down’

• Jesus Christ

The story of Christ considered in this light is a story consistently replayed in human history: we claim to desire access to and preservation of our bicameral birthrights, but we enact the polar opposite whenever proffered the direct opportunity to partake of them. Generally this results in the wrongful execution of innocent people who would in fact deliver on their promises of access to impossible abundance if given any reasonable chance to do so.

This is the story of every human child — born bicameral in a world that by its logics and agreements must hate, deny or oppose this in every possible way.

• Guatama Buddha


Bicamerality in Industrial Societies





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[1] . American Indians and African Aboriginal Peoples are examples of bicameral cultures whose participants possess representational memory — which means that these are not necessarily polarities, and that (if Jaynes’ theories are generally accurate) some cultures were able to integrate these elements post-breakdown.

[2] The story of Cain (the firstBorn) and Abel in The Bible recapitulates this problem in our relational nature and activity. Abel, a somewhat childlike shepherd, is assassinated by his brother ‘a tiller of earth’. The shepherd-child represents the elementally filial adoration of the protector/parent. The gardener-child is the more mechanical: he sees and values relations in terms of quantities first, and is a ‘divider’ not a unifier.

Cain’s ‘tool of dividing’ is mechanical, and it is probably with this tool that he kills his brother. Abel’s ‘tool’ was his care for family and flock — it was not amenable to being fashioned into a weapon of rape, silencing, or execution.

Cain ‘divided’ the children of Abel from emanation when he divided his brother from Life, and deprived the world and his family of his companionship. This single act resulted in a loss that would grow the way a tree-breeding factory grows — exponentially. As time progressed, the ‘amount of the loss’ would be magnified in scalarly ascending waves — of the essential ‘missingness’ of all the wonders that would have risen from the children of Abel had his life not been so needlessly taken.

The power of division — is sublime — in all proceeding consequence. Cain’s birth recapitulates the problem of the Serpent and the Tree, such that the first progeny of Adam and Eve is ‘divisive’ in the same way the ‘gifts’ of the Fruit of Knowledge were.