Here is one of those books that take you a long time to read, not because it's turgid or even long, but because there are so many implications in every statement this thinker made. It was the first book for ages that I have read with a pencil for notations always at hand. I had long ago read "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", (that is almost a pre-requisite)but this volume admirably rounds that work out with peripheral and even reconsidered central themes.
Basically the first part is a recap of Jaynes' life and work in three papers by various authors.
Part II is a generous helping of articles and lectures by Jaynes, many of the former previously available only in the original (and sometimes obscure) journals they were written for.
From Chapter 8 on in this part of the book, there are musings that leave one breathless. I am a linguist and have heard most of the discussions on the origins of language, but it was while reading Chapter 9 "The Evolution of Language in the Late Pleistocene" that I realized that Jaynes' theories are the most insightful in that area. Not to go too deeply into it, I would mention that he relates language to the ways that birds use sound to set spacing and the way speaking requires and engenders attention. He lays out a very convincing plan on what evolved in language and in what order and why, and it is an evolution that would surprise traditional linguists, but which, if you ponder the reasoning carefully, makes perfect sense.
Parts III and IV really give you an idea of what a first-class mind this man had since they consist of interviews and discussions. It's so good to "hear" his actual voice. And the questions that he was asked were equally astute.
I wouldn't hesitate to buy such a worthwhile volume as this. I think I personally will be reading it again and again, because it is so rich in, well, consciousness.
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The Julian Jaynes Collection Paperback – 7 May 2019
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- Language : English
- Paperback : 408 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0979074444
- ISBN-13 : 978-0979074448
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About the Author
Marcel Kuijsten is Founder and Executive Director of the Julian Jaynes Society (julianjaynes.org). He has designed, edited, and published three books: Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind: The Theories of Julian Jaynes, The Julian Jaynes Collection, and Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited, and is co-editor (with Professor Brian J. McVeigh) of The Jaynesian, the newsletter of the Julian Jaynes Society.
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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
Almost too thought provoking5 May 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
36 people found this helpful
The Milk Man
If you haven't read Jaynes, You need to!29 July 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
This book has changed the way i perceive the world. Not many books will do that to you. I'd give it 3 thumbs up if i had an extra thumb! You'll never look at consciousness the same after this brilliant work of art. Julian Jaynes is the Darwin of the mind!!!!
2 people found this helpful
Indispensible22 December 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
Indispensible if you want to know more about Jaynes' theory.
One person found this helpful
Frances J. Powell
As a follow up to my first acquaintance with Julian ...27 October 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
As a follow up to my first acquaintance with Julian Jaynes' theory of consciousness in his 'The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind', it could not be bettered. Jaynes' work deserves a wider readership and Marcel Kuijsten is making a very important contribution to the dissemination of a theory that must eventually prove to be just as significant as Darwin's.
6 people found this helpful
A Great Insight Into Jaynes Later Work5 November 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
Tremendously helpful and opened up many of what had been mysteries to me about Jaynes and his later years. Many papers included from Jaynes conferences, as well as other Jaynes publications. I'd put off buying this when it was first published, and am now thrilled that I finally did so. 5 stars for this one.
5 people found this helpful