NOTE: For those who are not familiar with Jaynes’ ideas, I suggest you check out this Wikipedia Link first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Jaynes
One of Julian Jaynes’ pivotal insights in developing his theory of consciousness came from his study of preliterate poetry. The frequent occurrence of situations where the characters heard the Gods speaking to them as to how to proceed suggested to Jaynes that these poems might actually be reporting how pre-literate people experienced the world. It also led him to suggest that the mysterious Ka of Egyptian theology was none other than those same voices.
Prior to that time, most scholars took those voices to be metaphoric, or stylized ways of reporting insights, but Jaynes took them literally and for that we have to thank him.
The second insight Jaynes had came from his own personal experience with poetry, both as a writer and reader, where he quite correctly saw that the ecstatic mental and emotional state experienced by today’s poets during the advent of a poem was linked to what pre-literate people experienced when hearing bi-cameral voices.
Jayne’s lack of experience with spontaneous oral composition of poetry, however, led him to several inaccurate conclusions about the nature of preliterate poetry and the nature of the Muse’s voice, which is a quite different internal voice ( in its characteristics) from the guiding voices pre-literate peoples experienced and some 2% of us still hear in times of stress and high creativity.
My own experience with both kinds of voices leads me to believe that the Muse’s voice came out of a later evolutionary development that resulted from early humans imitating their right-brained guiding voices.
Jayne’s errors stemmed largely from the fact he was only acquainted with the written composition of a poem, which is quite different from spontaneous oral composition, the latter being a largely unconscious act, closer to dreaming while awake than conscious writing.
In addition, most of the scholarship on oral, preliterate composition that Jaynes relied on is inaccurate for the same reason: lack of actual experience. It is impossible to experience spontaneous oral composition from the fully conscious mindset of a scholar or scientist.
True oral composition It requires surrendering completely to the artistic unconscious, or more accurately, (in Jungian terms) to the Poetry “archetype” . My experience in doing so has led me to believe that the mindset I enter when spontaneously creating an oral poem is not only very close what was experienced by preliterate poets, but also, very close to the mindset of preliterate humans when the heard bicameral voices.
Finally, I have pursued Jaynes’ insight into the nature of the Ka a bit further than he did. Based on my own experiences, I have come to believe that the Egyptians desire to keep the Ka alive was the seed that gave birth to their elaborate and totally consuming mummification practices.