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"The Origin of Consciousness..." A Stuctured Book Discussion Options
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011 12:51:04 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Jaynes wrote:
2. Excerption. In consciousness, we are never 'seeing'
anything in its entirety. This is because such 'seeing' is an analog of
actual behavior j and in actual behavior we can only see or pay
attention to a part of a thing at any one moment. And so in
consciousness. We excerpt from the collection of possible attentions
to a thing which comprises our knowledge of it. And this is all that it
is possible
to do since consciousness is a metaphor of our actual behavior.

What I found extremely interesting about this characteristic the first time I read about it was, there are some mentions of the phenomenon in different areas of psychology, but those are not what I'm referring to. About five years before reading Jaynes, during my period as an evangelical preacher, I would prepare my sermons and Bible studies from an early Greek New Testament. That was when I first came across the word "epignosis", most of us are familiar with gnosis, translated as knowledge, but what then this epignosis? Well it was the first time I found my references stumbling over how to translate a word; to know in fullness, to know completely, intimate experiential knowledge, whole paragraphs written as definitions. When I first read this section I thought, "Damn, the ancient Greeks had a word to stand against this characteristic of consciousness," and I wouldn't be surprised if that is exactly why the word exists.
This is one of the reasons why I think we must remember that what Jaynes describes, is consciousness as it is found in its natural state, and that some of the limitations he asserts, such as the underlined above, should not be taken too seriously.
Posting before work in the morning again, ah well, I wanted to get this impression of this section into the discussion, for the rest of it, I'll just say that I agree with his explicit statement of the importance of this phenomenon as a defining characteristic, and that it is far too under-recognized and at extreme peril.



On this, I agree entirely. It only makes sense when you think about it. At any given time, there are multiple sensations coming into the brain. It would be a waste of energy for the brain to attempt to catalog and remember each one. So by a process of accretion, inputs are blended or grouped into larger units, creating a hierarchy of memory.

Since the process is linked to various inputs, we often recall the memory by the strongest input, or any combination thereof. That may be smell, sight, pain, joy, etc.


I don't understand what you mean by under-recognition and extreme peril. ????

leonAzul
Posted: Friday, December 2, 2011 12:18:20 AM

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FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
Jaynes wrote:
2. Excerption. In consciousness, we are never 'seeing'
anything in its entirety. This is because such 'seeing' is an analog of
actual behavior j and in actual behavior we can only see or pay
attention to a part of a thing at any one moment. And so in
consciousness. We excerpt from the collection of possible attentions
to a thing which comprises our knowledge of it. And this is all that it
is possible
to do since consciousness is a metaphor of our actual behavior.

I wanted to get this impression of this section into the discussion, for the rest of it, I'll just say that I agree with his explicit statement of the importance of this phenomenon as a defining characteristic, and that it is far too under-recognized and at extreme peril.




I don't understand what you mean by under-recognition and extreme peril. ????



Since Epiphileon has not responded yet, please allow me to interject.

It is my opinion that both Epiphileon and Jaynes are referring to bias, the filtering of inputs. Some of this occurs due to physical perspective, some of this due to anatomy, some of this to avoid information overload, and some of this is out of a cussed obstinacy to ignore that which is contrary to comfortable belief systems. It is the latter sort of bias that can get us into serious trouble when it enables the denial of facts necessary for survival.

The underlined phrase represents Jaynes' intention to place the discourse squarely in the domain of observable phenomena, and to explicitly excerpt any supernatural cause from the discussion.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, December 2, 2011 5:35:39 AM

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FounDit wrote:

On this, I agree entirely. It only makes sense when you think about it. At any given time, there are multiple sensations coming into the brain. It would be a waste of energy for the brain to attempt to catalog and remember each one. So by a process of accretion, inputs are blended or grouped into larger units, creating a hierarchy of memory.

That was not quite what I meant, nor what I think Jaynes is saying, excerption is a choice behavior, the reason we do it is not due to potential overload, but because the 'seeing" of the mind of I, is an analog to the seeing of the optical system, and we can only see part of any object, at any given time, and since consciousness is a metaphorical analog of the perceptual world, it must be this way. He goes on to mention some of the aspects of mentality that will influence what data will be excerpted from an observed phenomenon. If we are observing a person we like, then the data excepted will be positive, tending to ignore negative aspects, even if they are huge. An extreme example, think of some of the love relationships one has had, or more obviously one's friends have had. BUT, and this is extremely important this process goes on across the entirety of observed phenomenon, including internal.
I can see why Jaynes is identifying this as an aspect of our consciousness experience; however although the behavior may be a characteristic of consciousness, it is determined by a host of unconscious influences, personality, emotions, attitudes, and prior experiences being among the strongest influences on what data will be excerpted.
Remember excerption happens with what we are attending to, not the sum total of sensory input, that does undergo a selection process but that process is what attention is.
Welcome to the hall of King Subjectivity expect to be deceived. This is one of the reasons why of all the things I seem to know, those I trust the least, are those that are mostly my own ideas.

I don't understand what you mean by under-recognition and extreme peril. ????
For the most part people do not realize they are doing this at all, even those who have become aware of it, tend to not take it sufficiently into account.
Extreme peril results from the fact that increasingly, nearly by the moment we need concerted action on a whole realm of problems, peoples "opinions" on what the problems are, what the causes are, and what to do about them are all highly influenced by exception, and once they have their opinion, they tend to defend it as if self depended on it.
Hand out the fiddles, while the torch is put to civilization.

LeonAzul wrote:

The underlined phrase represents Jaynes' intention to place the discourse squarely in the domain of observable phenomena, and to explicitly excerpt any supernatural cause from the discussion.

I think as far as Jaynes is concerned that issue is settled and what he means here is that since we cannot physically see all sides of an object at one time, and in his opinion consciousness is a direct analog of the perceptual world, that we therefore cannot behold all aspects of anything with the I of mind.


FounDit
Posted: Saturday, December 3, 2011 12:08:04 AM

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Took a quick read this morning but had to leave. As I read your post, I feel we are saying much the same thing, just in different words. The only exception I would point to is the phrase, "excerption is a choice behavior".

I can see adults doing that, but I think children would not necessarily think in terms of making a choice of how they will excerpt a memory. But that's not too much of a sticking point. Excerpting does, however, result in the idea of memory being "determined by a host of unconscious influences, personality, emotions, attitudes, and prior experiences being among the strongest influences on what data will be excerpted."

"...once they have their opinion, they tend to defend it as if self depended on it." ties in to something I wrote earlier about the foundation of personality being build upon so much we believe to be true, but which, in reality, may not be. As a result, people feel their foundation is being torn asunder whenever a belief is challenged. It takes a strong person to be able to face that fear, and, apparently, not many are willing or capable of doing it. Hand out the fiddles.

So I think we are fairly well in agreement on this, yes?
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, December 4, 2011 7:36:41 AM

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FounDit wrote:

So I think we are fairly well in agreement on this, yes?

I think we do largely agree on some of the manifest behaviors of modern human mentality, that are of a threatening nature to the survival of the species; however, where we most disagree is on the underlying causation of those behaviors.
FounDit wrote:
Took a quick read this morning but had to leave. As I read your post, I feel we are saying much the same thing, just in different words. The only exception I would point to is the phrase,
Epiphileion wrote:
"excerption is a choice behavior".

FounDit wrote:
I can see adults doing that, but I think children would not necessarily think in terms of making a choice of how they will excerpt a memory. But that's not too much of a sticking point. Excerpting does, however, result in the idea of memory being
Epiphileion wrote:
"determined by a host of unconscious influences, personality, emotions, attitudes, and prior experiences being among the strongest influences on what data will be excerpted."

Choice behavior is far more pervasive than we think at first, much of it requires no conscious attention, and in fact in many cases happens before we are aware of it at all, excerption is just such a case, and why I see the under recognition of this fact as immensely perilous.
I also have a difficulties with how you're referencing the role of memory. The two classic categories of memory are long and short term, neither of these will work for the activities you describe, long term because it is too slow, short term because it is too fragile. There is a third way in which the term memory had been used recently; however, it is used not as a noun, but as a descriptor of how the phenomenon of consciousness is produced. Edelman uses it to describe the recursion of the model of "the real world", that we carry around in our heads that results in awareness, by calling it "the remembered present" but this is a distinct physiological event and establishes consciousness as a specific physiological function, not built from stored memories, but an, as close to real-time as possible, sensory event. I don't think I've mentioned this before in that manner, I know the thought has come up a few times as I was composing replies to you, but I had never thought of classifying consciousness before as to what type of brain function it would be. I am sufficiently comfortable, and having consciously assessed it at this occurrence, to go as far as, assert, consciousness is a sensory phenomenon, and therefore all other aspects of brain function are not part of its make up, but are phenomenon that consciousness perceives, and in some instances can actually influence.


FounDit wrote:
Epiphilion wrote:
"...once they have their opinion, they tend to defend it as if self depended on it."
ties in to something I wrote earlier about the foundation of personality being build upon so much we believe to be true, but which, in reality, may not be.

I'm sorry this may seem picky, but it is imperative in attempting to come to a consistent, and internally valid model of mentality that we be extremely precise in any statements regarding its structure. The foundation of personality is genetic and what we believe is actually subject to rather strong influence by personality, not the other way around.

FounDit wrote:
As a result, people feel their foundation is being torn asunder whenever a belief is challenged.

Yes, we are in total agreement on this point.
FounDit wrote:
It takes a strong person to be able to face that fear, and, apparently, not many are willing or capable of doing it.

On this, I am not so sure, I know what you're saying, and subjectively would be in whole hearted agreement; however, I'm not sure any of it would hold up to objective and rigorous scientific examination. I think there may be other variables to consider, for instance someone with a deep sense of integrity, presented with what they considered irrefutable evidence that contradicted their belief set, may find their minds changed, willing or not.
FounDit wrote:
Hand out the fiddles.

I think the specter of this metaphor is one of the things that disallows me from just dropping the issue altogether.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, December 4, 2011 12:28:26 PM

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Epiphelion wrote:
Choice behavior is far more pervasive than we think at first, much of it requires no conscious attention, and in fact in many cases happens before we are aware of it at all, excerption is just such a case, and why I see the under recognition of this fact as immensely perilous.


Ok. I understood your selection of the words “a choice behavior” as meaning a conscious, deliberate action. That is why I took exception to it. I agree that much of it happens without conscious attention, so we’re back on track there.


Epiphelion wrote:
I also have a difficulties with how you're referencing the role of memory. The two classic categories of memory are long and short term, neither of these will work for the activities you describe, long term because it is too slow, short term because it is too fragile.


I was agreeing with you that memory was being "determined by a host of unconscious influences, personality, emotions, attitudes, and prior experiences being among the strongest influences on what data will be excerpted." To use your words.
So with what reference to memory, that I am I using, are you disagreeing? You lost me there.


Epiphileon wrote:
There is a third way in which the term memory had been used recently; however, it is used not as a noun, but as a descriptor of how the phenomenon of consciousness is produced. Edelman uses it to describe the recursion of the model of "the real world", that we carry around in our heads that results in awareness, by calling it "the remembered present" but this is a distinct physiological event and establishes consciousness as a specific physiological function, not built from stored memories, but an, as close to real-time as possible, sensory event. I don't think I've mentioned this before in that manner, I know the thought has come up a few times as I was composing replies to you, but I had never thought of classifying consciousness before as to what type of brain function it would be. I am sufficiently comfortable, and having consciously assessed it at this occurrence, to go as far as, assert, consciousness is a sensory phenomenon, and therefore all other aspects of brain function are not part of its make up, but are phenomenon that consciousness perceives, and in some instances can actually influence.


At this point, I’m tempted to agree with you on your definition of consciousness, but the part about all other aspects of brain function are not part of its make up give me pause.

Do you see consciousness as being separate from all other functions of the brain; that it has no part, or experiences none, of the sensory inputs from all the receptors of the body? Surly not. I don’t see how that is possible. I’ll wait for your clarification on that.



Epiphelion wrote:
The foundation of personality is genetic and what we believe is actually subject to rather strong influence by personality, not the other way around.




I was referring to the things we are taught by our parents, our culture, and our experiences within our families and cultures. These are the things which, to a very great extent, form much of our adult personality or characteristic behavior, in my opinion.

I think the genetic foundation is just a general, very broad, canvass upon which life experiences write large.

Are you saying you think personality is genetic; that it is personality that influences what we believe, rather than, or to a greater degree than, external influences, such as family, peers, and culture?



Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, December 4, 2011 2:23:55 PM

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FounDit wrote:

Epiphelion wrote:
I also have a difficulties with how you're referencing the role of memory. The two classic categories of memory are long and short term, neither of these will work for the activities you describe, long term because it is too slow, short term because it is too fragile.


founDit wrote:
I was agreeing with you that memory was being "determined by a host of unconscious influences, personality, emotions, attitudes, and prior experiences being among the strongest influences on what data will be excerpted." To use your words.
So with what reference to memory, that I am I using, are you disagreeing? You lost me there.

I'm sorry I thought you were saying the consciousness was made of memory.

Epiphileon wrote:
There is a third way in which the term memory had been used recently; however, it is used not as a noun, but as a descriptor of how the phenomenon of consciousness is produced. Edelman uses it to describe the recursion of the model of "the real world", that we carry around in our heads that results in awareness, by calling it "the remembered present" but this is a distinct physiological event and establishes consciousness as a specific physiological function, not built from stored memories, but an, as close to real-time as possible, sensory event. I don't think I've mentioned this before in that manner, I know the thought has come up a few times as I was composing replies to you, but I had never thought of classifying consciousness before as to what type of brain function it would be. I am sufficiently comfortable, and having consciously assessed it at this occurrence, to go as far as, assert, consciousness is a sensory phenomenon, and therefore all other aspects of brain function are not part of its make up, but are phenomenon that consciousness perceives, and in some instances can actually influence.


FounDit wrote:
At this point, I’m tempted to agree with you on your definition of consciousness, but the part about all other aspects of brain function are not part of its make up give me pause.

Do you see consciousness as being separate from all other functions of the brain; that it has no part, or experiences none, of the sensory inputs from all the receptors of the body? Surly not. I don’t see how that is possible. I’ll wait for your clarification on that.

It is a separate sensory function, and is capable of being aware of many other mental phenomena, while not being made up of those parts.


Epiphelion wrote:
The foundation of personality is genetic and what we believe is actually subject to rather strong influence by personality, not the other way around.


FounDit wrote:
I was referring to the things we are taught by our parents, our culture, and our experiences within our families and cultures. These are the things which, to a very great extent, form much of our adult personality or characteristic behavior, in my opinion.

I think the genetic foundation is just a general, very broad, canvass upon which life experiences write large.

It is far more specific than you might think, but within any specific personality profile, there is a very wide range of reaction.
FounDit wrote:
Are you saying you think personality is genetic; that it is personality that influences what we believe, rather than, or to a greater degree than, external influences, such as family, peers, and culture?

No, and to quote one of my professors, that used to drive my psychometrics professor nuts with this statement, "It is 100% both."

Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, December 4, 2011 7:48:28 PM

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Dec.4-Dec.11
Chapter 3
pages 67 thru 75.25
FounDit
Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 7:46:08 PM

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founDit wrote:
I was agreeing with you that memory was being "determined by a host of unconscious influences, personality, emotions, attitudes, and prior experiences being among the strongest influences on what data will be excerpted." To use your words.
So with what reference to memory, that I am I using, are you disagreeing? You lost me there.

Epiphelion wrote:
It is a separate sensory function, and is capable of being aware of many other mental phenomena, while not being made up of those parts.



I can accept that it is separate in its function, but not separate in the sense of having no shared experience. Consciousness experiences all the sensory data that memories are built from, as well as being able to examine and possibly manipulate said memory. Agree or disagree?

Now I see you have skipped over several sections to Ch. 3. I do want to ask if you accept the position Jaynes stated that consciousness is built on language; that “Consciousness come after language!” As far as I am concerned, Jaynes has not proved this point at all.

Consciousness, the “I” and “Me” of the mind, the faculty that can see and understand cause and effect, that can think in abstracts, must exist to create language. As I stated before, I see language without consciousness as an impossibility.

If the remainder of the book is founded upon this premis, I fail to see the purpose of continuing onward, as I cannot agree to this idea.
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 4:40:21 AM

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FounDit wrote:
founDit wrote:
I was agreeing with you that memory was being "determined by a host of unconscious influences, personality, emotions, attitudes, and prior experiences being among the strongest influences on what data will be excerpted." To use your words.
So with what reference to memory, that I am I using, are you disagreeing? You lost me there.

Epiphelion wrote:
It is a separate sensory function, and is capable of being aware of many other mental phenomena, while not being made up of those parts.



I can accept that it is separate in its function, but not separate in the sense of having no shared experience. Consciousness experiences all the sensory data that memories are built from, as well as being able to examine and possibly manipulate said memory. Agree or disagree?
yes, that is what I meant by "capable of being aware of many other mental phenomena,"; however consciousness does not necessarily experience all of the sensory data that ends up in memory.

Now I see you have skipped over several sections to Ch. 3. I do want to ask if you accept the position Jaynes stated that consciousness is built on language; that “Consciousness come after language!” As far as I am concerned, Jaynes has not proved this point at all.
If you check the scheduled readings there is no gap in the pages, those sections merely did not get discussed which I thought was a shame, but I did not want to arbitrarily stretch out the section another week. I would be happy to however if that were the general consensus.

Consciousness, the “I” and “Me” of the mind, the faculty that can see and understand cause and effect, that can think in abstracts, must exist to create language. As I stated before, I see language without consciousness as an impossibility.
I don't yet see why, many animals understand cause and effect, and the beginnings of language are very concrete; bear, run, club, fire, hot, and so forth, not much abstract about those things.

If the remainder of the book is founded upon this premis, I fail to see the purpose of continuing onward, as I cannot agree to this idea.
The next few sections directly address that issue,, but it seems to me he already has a strong case going with the reciprocal metaphor dynamic. Sorry for not being meticulous with the quote function in this reply, for some reason in a great deal of strange pain this morning
Wanderer
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:20:05 PM

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Epi I'm hoping you are feeling better.
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 2:49:12 PM

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FounDit:
Consciousness, the “I” and “Me” of the mind, the faculty that can see and understand cause and effect, that can think in abstracts, must exist to create language. As I stated before, I see language without consciousness as an impossibility.

Epiphelion:
I don't yet see why, many animals understand cause and effect, and the beginnings of language are very concrete; bear, run, club, fire, hot, and so forth, not much abstract about those things.

FounDit:
You think animals can understand cause and effect? I have a great deal of difficulty with that. I think they may be capable of memory of cause and effect, but not understanding as we possess understanding. I have never seen a creature exhibit that kind of understanding. Also, I was listing that as being one among several of the features of consciousness.

At any rate, the words you mentioned above: bear, run, club, fire, hot, are all abstract creations of language. If I spoke any one of them to an animal, there would be no understanding at all. To say there is not much abstract about them strikes me as very odd. Perhaps you meant that the things the words represent are not abstract, but that has no relation to language creation per se.


For the reading:
p. 74

“The gods are what we now call hallucinations.”

As I read this week’s part, I recall that this book was written in the 1970’s. I’m beginning to suspect this explains a great deal about how this book came into existence. Perhaps the men of the Iliad were not the only ones who were hallucinating?




leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 7:08:08 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

If you check the scheduled readings there is no gap in the pages, those sections merely did not get discussed which I thought was a shame, but I did not want to arbitrarily stretch out the section another week. I would be happy to however if that were the general consensus.


I suspect they were not discussed for the same reason I have little to say this week. There was little of substance that was not either a summary of points already discussed or was otherwise reasonably clear.

We should keep in mind, however, that one of the benefits of a structured discussion such as this one is that it makes it easier to refer back to an earlier point that either supports or conflicts with the section currently being examined.
leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 7:41:01 PM

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FounDit wrote:

FounDit:
You think animals can understand cause and effect? I have a great deal of difficulty with that. I think they may be capable of memory of cause and effect, but not understanding as we possess understanding. I have never seen a creature exhibit that kind of understanding. Also, I was listing that as being one among several of the features of consciousness.



I do not have much difficulty with the idea of animal intelligence, except to be cautious of the temptation to anthropomorphize when studying it. As better observations of canid and primate behavior are made, how much humans behave like animals may be more accurate than we care to admit.

In addition to the evidence for animal intelligence, I have a problem with rejecting the notion out of hand because it allows the claim of "irreducible complexity", and that is decidedly a dead end concept.

FounDit wrote:

FounDit:
At any rate, the words you mentioned above: bear, run, club, fire, hot, are all abstract creations of language. If I spoke any one of them to an animal, there would be no understanding at all. To say there is not much abstract about them strikes me as very odd. Perhaps you meant that the things the words represent are not abstract, but that has no relation to language creation per se.



You would need to train the animal in human language in order for it to understand you every bit as much as you would need to learn animal language in order to understand its response.

Everywhere else in the universe we find that complexity is the result of simpler structures applied in patterns—often involving recursion or deceptively simple phase shifts. Why is this not the case with language?


FounDit wrote:


For the reading:
p. 74

“The gods are what we now call hallucinations.”

FounDit:
As I read this week’s part, I recall that this book was written in the 1970’s. I’m beginning to suspect this explains a great deal about how this book came into existence. Perhaps the men of the Iliad were not the only ones who were hallucinating?



Applause

If only I could remember why that made me smile. Whistle
Ray41
Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 1:16:53 AM

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Leon wrote:
You would need to train the animal in human language in order for it to understand you every bit as much as you would need to learn animal language in order to understand its response


As an aside, and I will try to be brief,Shhh I watched a TV documentary a week ago which was based on a group of (isolated) Indian people who live in the south of that country. The researchers carried out DNA testing as they believed that these people were one of the first to migrate from Africa. Testing showed that some still had DNA identical to the that of the first people at the cradle of modern man. Their beliefs/religion, is Brahmin in style, and every year they have a festival[?] in which the Priests perform and recite 'mantras'. These have been taught down through the ages, and the movements and 'language' are extremely precise as they are meticulously practised as they are passed on. The language was a complete mystery to the researchers, they could find nothing written, nothing that sounded like it, yet it obviously conveyed meaning. It predates Sanskrit.
This form of belief/religion dates back to thousands of years BCE.
This is very recent research and Jaynes would never had the advantage of this.
When the mystery language was eventually solved, it was 'animal sounds that were being used as words/meaning'.
I am sorry for my poor interpretation of the documentary, I should have recorded it.I can't even recall the title of the documentary,Brick wall Brick wall
The interesting part that made me think, was that, 'here is language'. It may well be the 'first language'. It did not consist of 'man made words' but was adapted/copied from 'animal sounds'. The $64 question is 'did this require consciousness'???Think


leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 10:17:09 AM

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Ray41 wrote:
Leon wrote:
You would need to train the animal in human language in order for it to understand you every bit as much as you would need to learn animal language in order to understand its response


As an aside, and I will try to be brief,Shhh I watched a TV documentary a week ago which was based on a group of (isolated) Indian people who live in the south of that country. The researchers carried out DNA testing as they believed that these people were one of the first to migrate from Africa. Testing showed that some still had DNA identical to the that of the first people at the cradle of modern man. Their beliefs/religion, is Brahmin in style, and every year they have a festival[?] in which the Priests perform and recite 'mantras'. These have been taught down through the ages, and the movements and 'language' are extremely precise as they are meticulously practised as they are passed on. The language was a complete mystery to the researchers, they could find nothing written, nothing that sounded like it, yet it obviously conveyed meaning. It predates Sanskrit.
This form of belief/religion dates back to thousands of years BCE.
This is very recent research and Jaynes would never had the advantage of this.
When the mystery language was eventually solved, it was 'animal sounds that were being used as words/meaning'.
I am sorry for my poor interpretation of the documentary, I should have recorded it.I can't even recall the title of the documentary,Brick wall Brick wall
The interesting part that made me think, was that, 'here is language'. It may well be the 'first language'. It did not consist of 'man made words' but was adapted/copied from 'animal sounds'. The $64 question is 'did this require consciousness'???Think



Does this look familiar?

The Story of India

Jaynes might have found this series of interest as well.
Brain Story: The Final Mystery
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 5:14:50 PM

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Ray41 wrote:
Leon wrote:
You would need to train the animal in human language in order for it to understand you every bit as much as you would need to learn animal language in order to understand its response


As an aside, and I will try to be brief,Shhh I watched a TV documentary a week ago which was based on a group of (isolated) Indian people who live in the south of that country. The researchers carried out DNA testing as they believed that these people were one of the first to migrate from Africa. Testing showed that some still had DNA identical to the that of the first people at the cradle of modern man. Their beliefs/religion, is Brahmin in style, and every year they have a festival[?] in which the Priests perform and recite 'mantras'. These have been taught down through the ages, and the movements and 'language' are extremely precise as they are meticulously practised as they are passed on. The language was a complete mystery to the researchers, they could find nothing written, nothing that sounded like it, yet it obviously conveyed meaning. It predates Sanskrit.
This form of belief/religion dates back to thousands of years BCE.
This is very recent research and Jaynes would never had the advantage of this.
When the mystery language was eventually solved, it was 'animal sounds that were being used as words/meaning'.
I am sorry for my poor interpretation of the documentary, I should have recorded it.I can't even recall the title of the documentary,Brick wall Brick wall
The interesting part that made me think, was that, 'here is language'. It may well be the 'first language'. It did not consist of 'man made words' but was adapted/copied from 'animal sounds'. The $64 question is 'did this require consciousness'???Think



Interesting. A couple of ideas came to mind as I thought about that concept, Ray.

I think it would depend (and we can never know) on whether the animal sounds the original speakers used was simply mimicry or if there was a purpose behind it. However, since dance movements were involved, I suspect there was a purpose behind it, thus, conscious awareness.

If mimicry, then no consciousness would be necessary, much like a parrot or lyre bird mimics sounds.

If there was a purpose, such as aboriginal peoples paying homage to the creatures they lived among, or imitating the hunting of them, then I would say there was consciousness involved. Consciousness in the sense of awareness of self in a body; awareness of life in other bodies such as animals; a sense of empathy, even while participating in killing said animal for survival.

Any of those sensations, would, I think, call for the presence of conscious awareness.

I began watching the videos leon posted, starting with Brain Story. I'm only about half way thru the series now, but very interesting. Thanks, leonA.

I'll also watch the one on India too if that is the one you are talking about Ray.

Ray41
Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 5:51:33 PM

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YESApplause that is it leon, I was reading a good book at the time and was reluctant to put it aside, hence my sketchy and 'not' so accurate recall.
As soon as I saw the map, and the beach, and the words 'so fertile you could drop a mango seed anywhere and a tree would grow' my ancient brain switched over to recovery mode Anxious .
I must go as it is of to town for weekly shop.
Thank you leon for finding link.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 6:46:55 AM

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leonAzul wrote:

Jaynes might have found this series of interest as well.
Brain Story: The Final Mystery

Yes, I think he may have been a wee bit, on the far side of interested. Just finished watching the five parts of episode 6 that your link goes to. It seems to be a very well done survey of what is currently up with the question of consciousness, across a very large section of neuroscience.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 6:51:33 AM

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Wanderer wrote:
Epi I'm hoping you are feeling better.

Thanks Wanderer, there seems to be something new amiss with the physiology, I'll be off to see the witch doctors at the V.A. later today.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2011 7:11:22 AM
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Epi, what type of pain is it, and where is your pain located? I hope you are staring to feel better... Take care of yourself, especially if no one else cares. Marissa.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2011 6:02:50 PM

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Thanks Marissa there are actually a few folks that see to it I take better care of myself than I probably would, I sent you a PM on the questions.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2011 7:58:41 PM

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Dec.11-Dec.18
Chapter 3
pages 75.25 thru 83
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 3:35:56 PM

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From one extreme to the other, the first half of this chapter nearly floated away it was so fluffy, now this week I feel like my brain pan is about to go China syndrome on me.

Part of why I am still mulling things over a bit is that I would like to be able to share online links to some of Jaynes's cited sources, if only I could find some. I think that would go a long way to helping us judge the viability of his claims.
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:38:39 AM

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leonAzul wrote:
From one extreme to the other, the first half of this chapter nearly floated away it was so fluffy, now this week I feel like my brain pan is about to go China syndrome on me.

Part of why I am still mulling things over a bit is that I would like to be able to share online links to some of Jaynes's cited sources, if only I could find some. I think that would go a long way to helping us judge the viability of his claims.

Good morning Leon, what references are you looking for?
Also as next week is Christmas week, I'm thinking that this section should go till the 7th of January.
Sorry I've been a little lax here, the VA was busy scaring the crap out of me, only to finally say, I may just need to lose my gallbladdder.
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 3:59:09 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

Good morning Leon, what references are you looking for?


Some of the material he cites in his footnotes for starters.

Jaynes wrote:
//80 (86)
7
M. C. F. Ventris and J. Chadwick, Documents in Mycenaean Greek (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1973). A summary of this material and its relation-
ship to archaeological finds may be found in T. B. L. Webster, From Mycenae to
Homer (London: Methuen, 1958).



Jaynes wrote:
//85 (91)
1
owe the idea of this example to Erwin W. Straus' insightful essay, "Phenome-
nology of Hallucinations," in L. J. West, ed., Hallucinations (New York: Grune and
Stratton, 1962), pp. 220-232.


Also I am sorting through various online translations of the Iliad that we can refer to, since this seems to be an important bit of evidence for Jaynes. I am looking specifically for a more literal translation that would expose any changes in point of view rather than a literary translation which might obscure them.
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 4:57:49 AM

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Dec.18-Jan.1
Holiday Hiatus
pages 1 thru 83
General impressions, missed points, clarifications, et cetera
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 5:10:28 AM

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leonAzul wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:

Good morning Leon, what references are you looking for?

Some of the material he cites in his footnotes for starters.


Good moring Leon, try this page as a starting point, "Articles Related to Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory", at the Julian Jaynes Society website.
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 1:58:00 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

Dec.18-Jan.1
Holiday Hiatus
pages 1 thru 83
General impressions, missed points, clarifications, et cetera


Applause
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 2:36:22 PM

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// 75 (81)

They were noble automatons who knew not what they did.
The Bicameral Mind
The picture then is one of strangeness and heartlessness and emptiness. We cannot approach these heroes by inventing mind-spaces behind their fierce eyes as we do with each other. Iliadic man did not have subjectivity as do we; he had no awareness of his awareness of the world, no internal mind-space to introspect upon.

Comment:
From TFD Article of the day: "http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Ochre" Ocher
Among the earliest pigments used by mankind, ocher has a yellow-orange to orange color and is made of varying proportions of iron oxide and clay. The world's first known works of art, found in South Africa's Blombos Cave and dated to 75,000 years ago, consist of ocher pieces engraved with abstract designs, and Cro-Magnon artists living about 10,000 to 40,000 years ago used ocher in their cave paintings.

It would seem these facts refute the above statement unless we believe the right hemisphere learned all about color, line, balance, perspective, and shading, while the left hemisphere sat stupidly staring at fungus. When it had learned all it needed to know about cave art, the right hemisphere then commanded the left to get busy and draw.


Objection: Is it not true that some scholars have considered the poem to be entirely the invention of one man, Homer, with no historical basis whatever, even doubting whether Troy evei: ex-

76

The Mind of Man

isted at all, in spite of Schliemann's famous discoveries in the nineteenth century?

Reply: This doubt has recently been put to rest by the discovery of Hittite tablets, dating from 1300 B.C., which clearly refer to the land of the Achaeans and their king, Agamemnon. The catalogue of Greek places that send ships to Troy in Book 2 corresponds remarkably closely to the pattern of settlement which archaeology has discovered. The treasures of Mycenae, once thought to be fairy tales in the imagination of a poet, have been dug out of the silted ruins of the city. Other details mentioned in the Iliad, the manners of burial, the kinds of armor, such as the precisely described boars'-tusk helmet, have been unearthed in sites relevant to the poem.


Comment:
Volition, planning, initiative is learned and organized with no consciousness whatever, and then 'told' to the individual in his familiar language, sometimes with the visual aura of a familiar friend or authority figure or 'god', or sometimes as a voice alone. The individual obeyed these hallucinated voices because he could not 'see' what to do by himself.

So how was ship building learned? Or boars’-tusk helmets? Or burial rites? Did the right hemisphere again learn all this while the left hemisphere was asleep or contemplating its navel?


//80 (86)

Linear B Tablets from Knossos, Mycenae, and Pylos. They were written directly in what I am calling the bicameral period. They have long been known, yet long resistant to the most arduous labors of cryptographers. Recently, however, they have been deciphered and shown to contain a syllabic script, the earliest written Greek used only for record purposes.7 And it gives us an outline picture of Mycenaean society much more in keeping with the hypothesis of a bicameral mind: hierarchies of officials, soldiers, or workers, inventories of goods, statements of goods owed to the ruler and particularly to gods.

These records in Linear B call
the head of the state the wanax, a word which in later classical
Greek is only used for gods. Similarly, the records call the land
occupied by his state as his temenos, a word which later is used
only for land sacred to the gods. The later Greek word for king is
basileus, but the term in these tablets denotes a much less impor-
tant person. He is more or less the first servant of the wanax,
just as in Mesopotamia the human ruler was really the steward of
the lands 'owned' by the god he heard in hallucination — as we
shall see in II.2. The material from the Linear B tablets is
difficult to piece together, but they do reveal the hierarchical and
leveled nature of centralized palace civilizations which the suc-
cession of poets who composed the Iliad in the oral tradition
completely ignored.



Comment:
If these words like “wanax” were used during the bicameral period, then why were they not used to mean “gods” if these people thought the gods were speaking to them?
Jaynes says the material is difficult to piece together, but Jaynes has no problem piecing it together, understanding exactly how the society was organized and how the poets ignored all of it.

//81(87)

For example, when Hector is withdrawing from the battle, one line (6:117) says, "The black hide beat upon his neck and ankles." This can only be the early Mycenaean body-shield. But the next line refers to "The rim which ran round the outside of the bossed shield," and this is a very different kind and a much later type of shield. Obviously, the second line was added by a later poet who in his auditory trance was not even visualizing what he was saying.

Comment:
Obviously! How could one not see that?

As it is, I have in the previous pages omitted certain discrepancies to the theory which I regard as such incursions. These outcroppings of something close to subjective consciousness occur in parts of the Iliad regarded by scholars as later additions to the core poem.

Comment:
Well, we certainly don’t want to use anything that might contradict the hypothesis.


This is kind of fun. I read, I smile. I read some more, I grin. I read some more, I laugh out loud. I can hardly wait for the part where the aliens come down in their spaceships and teach early humans how to levitate stones. (Was that too much? I thought it was funny. If i do'ed it, I gonna be in big twouble. I do'ed it anyway...heh, heh, heh.)





leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:45:34 PM

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Thanks. That is one site I hadn't looked at too closely since it seems to be mostly analyses, such as we are engaged in, rather than source material. There are lists of recommended articles and books, which of course are quite valuable, but I have not found online versions that we could share in this discussion. Obviously, any serious research in this area would require some time in a decent library that subscribes to peer-reviewed journals and maintains a collection of scientific references and publications in the areas of neurology, psychology, and anthropology.

I have several public library cards with online services, but they only have access to the search engines, such as JSTOR, which is excellent for reading abstracts but does not give access to the documents themselves. Affiliation with a university would do it, but that is not practical for me at this time. ;-)


Epiphileon wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:

Good morning Leon, what references are you looking for?

Some of the material he cites in his footnotes for starters.


Good moring Leon, try this page as a starting point, "Articles Related to Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory", at the Julian Jaynes Society website.
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:15:51 PM

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FounDit wrote:
// 75 (81)

They were noble automatons who knew not what they did.
The Bicameral Mind
The picture then is one of strangeness and heartlessness and emptiness. We cannot approach these heroes by inventing mind-spaces behind their fierce eyes as we do with each other. Iliadic man did not have subjectivity as do we; he had no awareness of his awareness of the world, no internal mind-space to introspect upon.

Comment:
From TFD Article of the day: "http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Ochre" Ocher
Among the earliest pigments used by mankind, ocher has a yellow-orange to orange color and is made of varying proportions of iron oxide and clay. The world's first known works of art, found in South Africa's Blombos Cave and dated to 75,000 years ago, consist of ocher pieces engraved with abstract designs, and Cro-Magnon artists living about 10,000 to 40,000 years ago used ocher in their cave paintings.

It would seem these facts refute the above statement unless we believe the right hemisphere learned all about color, line, balance, perspective, and shading, while the left hemisphere sat stupidly staring at fungus. When it had learned all it needed to know about cave art, the right hemisphere then commanded the left to get busy and draw.


Objection: Is it not true that some scholars have considered the poem to be entirely the invention of one man, Homer, with no historical basis whatever, even doubting whether Troy evei: ex-

76

The Mind of Man

isted at all, in spite of Schliemann's famous discoveries in the nineteenth century?

Reply: This doubt has recently been put to rest by the discovery of Hittite tablets, dating from 1300 B.C., which clearly refer to the land of the Achaeans and their king, Agamemnon. The catalogue of Greek places that send ships to Troy in Book 2 corresponds remarkably closely to the pattern of settlement which archaeology has discovered. The treasures of Mycenae, once thought to be fairy tales in the imagination of a poet, have been dug out of the silted ruins of the city. Other details mentioned in the Iliad, the manners of burial, the kinds of armor, such as the precisely described boars'-tusk helmet, have been unearthed in sites relevant to the poem.


Comment:
Volition, planning, initiative is learned and organized with no consciousness whatever, and then 'told' to the individual in his familiar language, sometimes with the visual aura of a familiar friend or authority figure or 'god', or sometimes as a voice alone. The individual obeyed these hallucinated voices because he could not 'see' what to do by himself.

So how was ship building learned? Or boars’-tusk helmets? Or burial rites? Did the right hemisphere again learn all this while the left hemisphere was asleep or contemplating its navel?



Despite the flowery hyperbole, that is the very point: there was no contemplation to speak of. All the processes which we attribute to volition because of our introspection were accomplished by the brain without reflection, including language.

Can you think of any other documents that refer to a time when biological humans first became aware of volition, thus becoming modern persons? Do they not describe language, in particular deceit, as part of the process?
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 1:53:01 PM

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leonAzul wrote:
Despite the flowery hyperbole, that is the very point: there was no contemplation to speak of. All the processes which we attribute to volition because of our introspection were accomplished by the brain without reflection, including language.

Can you think of any other documents that refer to a time when biological humans first became aware of volition, thus becoming modern persons? Do they not describe language, in particular deceit, as part of the process?

FounDit:
I was feeling somewhat piquant at the time, and the flowery hyperbole could not be contained. It happens occasionally.

Concerning the points you raised: contemplation, volition, reflection, and documents referencing a time of awareness of volition, all these are elements that can only be speculated upon by our modern human brains.

(Btw, do you have evidence there was no contemplation or reflection, or are you simply accepting Jaynes's word for it? I ask because that doesn't sound like something you would do.)

There is no evidence from that early period that we can use as reference or proof. The only evidence available to us is the brain we use today, and deducing from it the things that might have occurred.

I’m not a scientist, but from what I do know, since the brain develops from a single mass, and although it has a longitudinal fissure, it is not truly split in the sense we use that word. The fissure appears to barely extend to a third of the brain's depth; the fissures and convolutions allowing for a greater surface area for neuronal connections than otherwise would be possible within the skull.

With the exception of the ventricles in the central areas, the brain is a whole mass. Since the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere the left, the brain is functionally connected.

It would seem to be logically impossible then, for the brain to exist as two separate entities within the skull of a human, as an examination of the brain reveals that it is interconnected nearly throughout its body. Unless some evidence is found that demonstrates the capacity of a creature to have a truly split brain (divided into two separate functional halves), I have to believe it isn’t done in nature, and certainly not in humans, early or late.

I cannot, therefore, accept the idea of a bicameral mind having existed in early humans. The very definition of volition requires conscious choice or decision. It also makes no sense for the brain to develop as two separate entities. It seems to me that, teleologically, a fully functional, integrated brain insures a greater survival quotient than a divided one. All this, of course, is simply my opinion, but it is all any of us have at the moment. We have no evidence for a certainty, so we are left with conjecture based on reason and logic.



NancyLee
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 4:02:38 PM
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Hi Everybody!

Thought I might add my two cents here.

To me the concept Jaynes has is that today we have the subconscious mind that really does all the work and the consciously aware mind that generally makes decisions, decides what work we will do, and it is felt to be the 'self.' We still have two aspects of the brain, not really a physically split brain.

To me he is saying that the self-aware mind didn't exist in the past in the same way. It was there deciding things but had no 'self' appellation, no feeling of lonely isolation. We were one of a hierarchical group in which our belonging and our place was implicit.

Becoming self-aware was a huge change in thinking and behaving and decision making. Once we became aware, we could make quicker decisions, lie if necessary, and think about ourselves and the world differently. Before this we probably never placed ourselves as the top of the food chain, we just were part of the food chain group.

Any thoughts?

Merry Christmas!

NancyLee

leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 5:26:38 PM

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FounDit wrote:


FounDit:
I was feeling somewhat piquant at the time, and the flowery hyperbole could not be contained. It happens occasionally.

Concerning the points you raised: contemplation, volition, reflection, and documents referencing a time of awareness of volition, all these are elements that can only be speculated upon by our modern human brains.

(Btw, do you have evidence there was no contemplation or reflection, or are you simply accepting Jaynes's word for it? I ask because that doesn't sound like something you would do.)



I'll come back later to respond but I see I need to clarify something immediately.

That was intended as an expression of Jaynes's point of view. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

(BTW, I really did enjoy your take on it, you'll have no trouble with me.)
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