What is consciousness?
What makes us aware of ourselves and our actions and thoughts and emotions, and able to introspect? What is the internal dialog that is constantly playing in our heads? Are the basic basis for consciousness the same for all of us humans — as in the same species? A lot of difficult questions for Monday morning. But there is a reason for all that — it came to me last evening as I was scrolling through random articles on Wikipedia. An entry for a book I read sometime before came up — The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind — Wikipedia. I remembered that this book had a lot of influence on me, but I become curious why I hadn’t followed up on it by reading more on this subject. I checked the date when I read it, and it became clear — it was in February 2020 when I was still in the midst of full-blown substance abuse. Following up on things was not high on my priority list, and my mind wasn’t working well at all.
That means one thing — I need to re-read this book as soon as possible and see my reaction and thought now with a sober mind because the subject is fascinating and important to me. In the nutshell — the author argues that what we understand as consciousness was absent from people until the 5th century BC. Before that, there was an understanding of internal dialogue or monologue — one part of the brain would be talking, and the other would listen. That lead to the commonality of prophets and violence since people would act on thoughts in their minds as a command coming from the outside and spiritual world. Starting with the intellectual revolution of Ancient Greece, we as people developed tools for understanding thought processes and awareness of ourselves. But what if — that ancient duality of the bicameral mind is still present in people now? And if so, would we be able to know it? What if people still take commands from the thoughts in their minds without any analysis and introspection? And that looks quite possible since that would lead to a lack of self-awareness and lack of shame that so many people exhibit today. So many people are utterly without any embarrassment and discomfort in their words, thoughts, lies, and actions that it would be a good explanation (since the other explanation is that we are living among a sizable group of psychopaths). Are there two mutually incompatible consciousnesses that exist without awareness of each other and without any common point of understanding?