Blog Archives

Your Oddly-Shaped Mind

"There are three kinds of death in this world. There's heart death, there's brain death, and there's being off the network." — Guy Almes Last time we explored how your body — a tube of cogitating meat that you (sort

Hallucinated Gods

We've laid a lot of groundwork over the past two months for me to be able to say this with a straight face: Julian Jaynes believed that ancient people experienced their gods as auditory hallucinations. OK, maybe I cringed a

Neurons Gone Wild

To reject gods and spirits is easy: just bully them away in the name of science. But to accept them, or at least our experiences of them, and yet give them a scientific explanation: there's a task worthy of our

Accepting Deviant Minds

There is no question that the mind is vaster and more fluid than our ordinary, waking consciousness suggests. — Sam Harris At a sleepover when I was 12, a friend told me that he could control his dreams. It didn't

Mr. Jaynes' Wild Ride

If any book deserves to be called a mindfuck, it's Julian Jaynes' epic, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. When it was first published in 1976, no one knew quite what to make of it,

Consciousness: An Outside View

(Originally published at Ribbonfarm.) How can 'mere' matter, properly configured, manage to be conscious? Are chimpanzees or elephants conscious? Can a computer be conscious? Today we will answer none of these questions. In fact, we won't even address them. These