Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
This seems to beg a ref to The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by J Jaynes, which I blush to admit I have not actually read (only reviews and excerpts) but has long, long been on my list of Books to Get Around To Sometime Soon.

If the right brain is wordless, then Jaynes' theory about "hearing voices" as an early stage of human bicameral cognition would be invalidated.  But I have always been intrigued by the notion, as I fancy was Neal Stephenson when he wrote about subliminal "programs" or incantations called "namshub" as a means of controlling human behaviour (in his magnificently and rivetingly incoherent novel Snow Crash).

An additional odd note is that recent neurological telemetry suggests that many mammals -- cats and dogs certainly, and probably quite a lot of others -- apparently sleep "in shifts", with one hemisphere sleeping while the other monitors the external senses (sight, smell, hearing).  Only half the brain ever sleeps at any given time.  I can't recall whether primates also exhibit this "shift sleeping" behaviour.

There is something quite fascinatingly eerie about the notion of our two brain hemispheres carrying on their separate lives with only the equivalent of a transatlantic data cable connecting them.  I rather like it -- it's alien and spooky enough to remind us how very strange we large mammals really are, and as if that weren't enough, what a perplexing mystery self-consciousness is on top of it.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 at 10:44:13 PM EST

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