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"Finally, in a rough and unsettled world, it may have been necessary to use violence in ways that disturb us today." - Michael

I've been reading God's Jury, by Cullen Murphy. It's a study of secular and religious Inquisitions from the Middle Ages through modern times. In it, he quotes a historian (Eamon Duffy) as saying "I feel less shocked by the Inquisition than a lot of people do. I mean, take Queen Mary's government in the 1550's in England. What should she have done? These people did want to depose her, and she did think they were murdering souls. What could she have done?
And it's not that you're saying, 'I would have done the same thing in that position', because you're not in that position. That was then and this is now. Of course, these things are outrageous if they're considered in the abstract. But human beings don't live in the abstract, they live in the particular."

Good point.

Great series of posts.

""Inspiration" originally meant breathing in or absorbing the spirit of a supernatural being."

Okay, I like that. That is sort of what I believe happens. At least sometimes. I've read some neat stories about artists, some young girl, and musicians, and even a few scientists, and writers - whose inspiration seemed to have come from someplace else other than themselves. It's that "Conscious Universe" thing.

What is the name of that young girl, I think she's Russian or something, that does all those paintings? She's phenomenal? I've seen here on a bunch of TV shows and stories about her on the internet. She started painting when she was real young and her paintings look like they were inspired by either a near death experience or she is channeling inspiration from heaven? Darn I wish I could remember her name?

Hi Michael, I agree with your points here, in that while I too don't accept Jaynes' theory, I think he makes valid points about differing psychology found in different cultures and different time periods.

The past is a different country as they say, so we shouldnt be suprised to find some cultural aspects to be quite strange, but at the same time, we should also find commonalities too, and I think we do.

I also notice that you mentioned again the practice of statues in divine worship/communion. I wonder if I can repost one of my earlier comments about this which may shed some light on this practice. It is not as hard to understand, nor as rare, as you may think:

(from earlier post) Regarding your point about what to make of people offering food and other gifts for deities, particularly food, you say that this demonstrates an alien mindset as it seems obvious to us that the food remains uneaten so how can the gods be said to have shared in the gift of food?

You don't need too look far to see how this mindset works: in Thailand it is very common to come across roadside shrines to local spirits where all manner of offerings are left for the spirit: food, cigarettes(!), cash etc, the same occurs in household shrines. A friend of mine who had a Thai girlfriend used to laugh at her practice of leaving offerings of vimto soda at her shrine, but as far as she was concerned, the spirits were pleased by the soda and liked the colour!

With food offerings there is a sense of the god or spirit somehow still enjoying the food offering, the best way I can describe it is that the deity somehow gets the 'essence' of the food and enjoys it all the same, as well as being pleased that you offered it in the first place. This is despite the fact that the old food offerings are removed after they are spoiled and are obviously uneaten to our eyes.

Many food offering and indeed other material offerings in Thai and other cultures work the same way, and indeed this sense of the deity getting the 'essence' of an offering is commonplace throughout the classical world. I don't see why it would be different in earlier periods.

Regarding statues, a similar mindset is at work in the classical world. It depended on context. If a roman art collector had a variety of Venus statues in his collection, they were just that, a collection of statues. If however the statues were actively used in a cult setting, either in a sanctuary or on a procession, these objects were not just statues: they were seen to embody the essence of the deity, as if the perfection of the statue itself reflected a higher divine perfection and it was assumed that the god was present through the statue. This has led to a common misunderstanding in the modern world because some people assume that classical peoples thought the statue was the deity itself, but actually this is an oversimplification. Classical worshippers were quite aware that the object on view was a statue, carved by a human sculptor, but they would also be aware that the statue was embodying the essence of the deity so that the deity was present through its cult statue, so only in this sense was the statue equated to the deity in question. I think Christian icons and Christ statues work the same way.

I don't think it's too hard for moderns to understand this talk of 'essence'
Think of our modern celeb gods: is a coffee cup once drunk out of by Elvis still 'just' a coffee cup? Or has the fact that it was once touched by the lips of the King somehow imbue the cup with something of the essence of the King himself?

Check EBay for the answer to this one ;-)

I slept on it. I think her name is either Ariane or Akiane? Something like that. She started painting phenomenal pictures when she was really young. There has to be something spiritual or supernatural about it. Or at least that is the way I interpret it.

I enjoy interesting views of mind and its evolution even if some of them are unlikely. The only concern is that what starts out as an insight can turn into a dogma because we humans are attached to our egos,no matter how well meaning.

Coincidentally we can expect a new assault upon mediums and psychic phenomena with the release of Sylvia Browns 2004 interview on the old Montel Williams show telling Amanda Berrys late mother she was dead.

Michael I continue to suspect your own particular theory of a civilization of mediums explains the actual data far more straightforwardly than Jayne's does.

And one doesn't even have to believe in such things as mediums or psychic powers oneself only recognise people at the time did.

But I'd just like to draw your attention to certain things about the Sharruma Tudha-liys carving.

Sharruma I suggest isn't embracing Tudha-liys he's actually restraining him restraining him so forcefully in fact he's in danger of cutting off the blood supply to his head.

Sharruma's also got an equally powerful grip around Tudha-liys' arm but if you look carefully Tudha-liys' arm serves as Sharruma's phallus.

So we have Sharruma the wearer of a phallus like wizard's style crown cutting off

1) Tudha-liys' head from his body 2)Tudha-liys' hand from his arm and
3) the head of his own Atum like phallus from its shaft not unlike a tantric arresting seminal flow

This severed head motif turns up in Orpheus and John the Baptist of course but it's only those who like the Green Knight who consciously volunteer to lose their heads who seem to get them back intact though it also seems true while making the transition some individuals figuratively lose their head to such a degree for a while they become a danger to themselves and others and therefore have to be contained or restrained until they regain control of their senses.

It's that body mind dichotomy I once again suggest which's closer to each of us than our own jugular veins which really concerned the ancients not the bicameral mind.

"... we can expect a new assault upon mediums and psychic phenomena with the release of Sylvia Browns 2004 interview on the old Montel Williams show telling Amanda Berrys late mother she was dead."

Tarring all mediums with the same brush is clearly unfair, but Browne deserves ridicule. She made the same kind of mistake in two other cases that I'm aware of, and has embarrassed herself with numerous other bad predictions and screw-ups. And many of her psychic readings consist of untestable claims like "This is your 422nd lifetime." For this she charges $800 for a half hour phone reading!

" 'This is your 422nd lifetime.' " For this she charges $800 for a half hour phone reading!"

Hey, that's not so bad. It's less than $2 per lifetime.

In line with this theme of left brain vs right brain, I must draw you to Bernardo Kastrup's new project 'Inception Dialogues', where he is attempting to build a bridge between left brained analytical thinkers and right brained visionaries to create a common language and try to bring a more balanced approach.

I think Bernardo is on the same wavelength here with regards to the current left brain dominance we have in our present society and the damage this is causing us. He goes so far as to call it an illness. It has given us much that is positive, but the price has been to rob us of meaning.

I would start with part 1 as he gives a good overview of what he is trying to achieve. Btw Bernardo's main interpretation of reality is essentially a subjective Idealist perspective. Even if you don't buy that interpretation 100%, he nevertheless makes some great points and he is a real asset to the kind of 'rational spirituality' that we tend to go for in this blog (he even uses the term 'rational spirituality' to describe his left/right brained integrated outlook).

Thanks for that link Douglas. Not quite my thing, but very interesting.

" 'This is your 422nd lifetime.' " For this she charges $800 for a half hour phone reading!"
Hey, that's not so bad. It's less than $2 per lifetime.

I am glad you can be rational about the low cost it actually turns out to be assuming multiple reincarnations haha

This is the problem with Psychic Mediums. There are some that are really amazing and say things that blow you away - and then there are some that are so off the wall and (I'm sorry)just laughable and say such ridiculous things that it's no wonder that skeptics find it easy pickings when looking for things to ridicule us about. They paint them all with a broad brush.

Tonight on Coast to Coast AM:

Tonight's show
1am - 5am ET
10pm - 2am PT
After Death Evidence
Mon 05-13
Filmmaker and producer Paul Davids and Professor of medicine, Gary E. Schwartz will discuss their recent work with top science professors and well-respected mediums investigating astonishing evidence for "after death communication," which is featured in their new documentary, The Life After Death Project.

I thought this news was interesting in that it pushes back the traces of "non-bicameral" thought in ancient Egypt even earlier. Recently, archaeologists discovered the oldest papyri yet - from the reign of Khufu in the Fourth Dynasty. It was at an ancient Egyptian harbor on the Red Sea coast. The port was discovered at Wadi el-Jarf, nearly 110 miles south of Suez by a team of Franco-Egyptian archaeologists led by Pierre Tallet, Egyptologist at the University of Paris-Sorbonne.

From :

Most interestingly, the storage galleries also contained hundreds of papyrus fragments. Among them, 10 were very well preserved. “They are the oldest papyri ever found,” Tallet said. Many of the papyri describe how the central administration, under the reign of Cheops, sent food -- mainly bread and beer -- to the workers involved in the Egyptian expeditions departing from the port.

But one papyrus is much more intriguing: it's the diary of Merrer, an Old Kingdom official involved in the building of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. From four different sheets and many fragments, the researchers were able to follow his daily activity for more that three months. "He mainly reported about his many trips to the Turah limestone quarry to fetch blocks for the building of the pyramid," Tallet said. “Although we will not learn anything new about the construction of Cheops monument, this diary provides for the first time an insight on this matter," Tallet said.

Of course the remains of this diary don't indicate either the presence or absence of sophisticated self-reflection, but it still pushes linear, rational "left-brained" non-bicameral consciousness back even farther, to about 2570 BC, 670 years before Sinuhe.

I read the linked article, but I can't tell, from what is reported, whether or not this very ancient document is relevant to Jaynes' theory.

"pushes linear, rational 'left-brained' non-bicameral consciousness back even farther"

I think you are misconstruing what Jaynes means by consciousness and by bicamerality. His "bicameral men" were able to think in linear fashion, build the pyramids, create art, etc., etc.; they just weren't self-reflective. I get the impression you haven't actually read Jaynes and are under a misimpression as to what he was claiming.

I do agree that Sinuhe is a very good piece of evidence against bicamerality, because he does not attribute his actions to the gods (except possibly for his flight into exile, but even there he seems to be guessing at his own motives). This newly discovered older document, which seems to be more of a factual record of someone's comings and goings, is less obviously relevant.

Bear in mind that as Jaynes uses the term "consciousness," it is possible to read, write, have a conversation, cook a meal, draw up blueprints, drive a car, play tennis, fall in love and get married, and program a computer without being conscious.

I'm not saying his use of the term is correct, only that his usage is extremely narrow and is basically limited to self-awareness - the ability to visualize a mental space occupied by an analog "I," which can then be imagined carrying out various actions in the past and future.

If this is confusing (and it is), you might want to read the first part of his book in order to get a clearer sense of what he is, and is not, saying:

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