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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Lyke Wake Dirge

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Many years ago, my brother lent me a copy of Julian Jaynes “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”. This truly is an amazing book, even if the main thesis is probably completely wrong. 
One of the core ideas in the book is that consciousness is essentially constructed of metaphors. In particular, we use the metaphor of physical space, of landscape, to construct our minds. We need language to express these metaphors, so Jaynes’ hypothesis is that consciousness developed *after* language. 
But I’m more interested in this idea of internal mental landscapes. We model our minds on the external landscape and we perceive the external as a reflection of our internal landscapes. 
This idea has fascinated me ever since I first read the book. 
Robert McFarlane discusses similar ideas in his wonderful book on walking, “The Old Ways”. By walking through a landscape, our minds spread out and takes on the shape of the landscape. We allow our minds to settle in to the la…