I, in my aloneness, part II – my bicameral mind.

“introspectable mind-space”

At the risk of having lost a few of you. I’d like to explain the bicameral mind.  Julian Jaynes explained this as a different, non-conscious mental schema where volition, in the face of novel stimuli, mediated through a linguistic control mechanism (we made sounds) and experienced as auditory verbal hallucinations. Passing from the right hemisphere of the brain to the left (the introspective thought). He referred to this as man reacting in a bicameral (two chambers involved in creating and accepting a hypothetical idea) manner. The right coming up with an abstract idea and conveying it in an acceptable way to the left side of the brain.

Okay, now having lost the rest of you, I’ll explain. I’m left-handed, placing a stronger emphasis on right brain thinking. Many believe “imagination” (and hallucinations) have their roots there. Point in fact, Julian Jaynes (1920-1997) was an American psychologist who referenced different states of consciousness (I’m simplifying things here) and how they interact with one another from the two halves of our brain. Beginning with the right hemisphere for the bicameral mind.

Most people are right handed which means that the left side of their brain is the dominant hemisphere. Being left handed I’m located in the remaining 3 percent of the population where the right side of my brain is dominant. But even more rare, according to several I.Q. tests conducted at an earlier age, is the possibility that both sides of my brain are dominant, in that they work and play well together.

This is a good thing. I think about everything and explore my thinking thoughts a great deal. And a bad thing, because I find everything has  introspective value, as well as subjective.

This has created havoc my entire life, of course. Because almost nothing is viewed as linear, everything has a potential matrix with depth and possibilities attached to it. I’d have made a great theoretical physicist if I enjoyed math a little more, but I digress (another problem for me as I can digress – and do – frequently).

Bottom line. it is ever so easy for me to go to my “introspectable mind-space” and hang out there, quite comfortably. Imagination is real there – you see. And the range of possibilities and potentialities coupled with imagination is … well … frankly unimaginable. But most enjoyable.

Does this mean I’m smarter than the average bear? Absolutely! Does this mean I’ve learned how to use it to my advantage? Absolutely not!

You can see the quandary in which I frequently find myself. I know the answers to some amazing problems but have trouble explaining them to others.

So … what have you learned from this post? Perhaps that I am a comprehensible, multi-talented genius with special gifts of great import. Or perhaps that I’m amazingly long winded without saying a single thing of particular importance to you. If you made it all the way through, I applaud you. If you didn’t … well then you’re not reading this are you?

As for me I’m going to go hang out in my introspectable mind-space. Where all is forgiven and I am always well received.

Good Day!

~ Penny

20 thoughts on “I, in my aloneness, part II – my bicameral mind.

  1. Well Penny this is a bit hard for me, but may I say I love you all the same. I am right handed and my dance teacher says I am better with my left foot as I seem to try harder with it. So here you go I am right handed but not right footed… hehe. Also when broke my right wrist I wrote with my left hand, with practice it is possible. Big hugs, right or left, I don’t mind! 🙂

  2. I must admit to not having heard of the “bicameral mind” but find the brain to be quite fascinating and am proud to say I made it through your post, once you explained the bicameral mind (lol). I do recall growing up that I quite often felt different from others, my thoughts being counter to many of those around me. Even today I find myself to be much more introspective than the average bear. Hubby quite often asks me what is wrong when I have stepped inside myself. You might think after 20+ years he would understand where I have wandered off. 😉

    • Or not. I think for those who think (normally I guess is the right word) they do find it hard to understand those of us who dwell in another place part of the time (i.e. my own relationships from the past) but that’s okay too, as long as there’s love! 🙂

  3. I wonder if you spelled genius wrong near the end to see who was actually reading. If it was an error, then delete this part of the post 😉

    I was reading the first paragraph thinking “I’m not going to get lost because I am clever” and to my credit, I did manage to make sense of the majority, but had to concede defeat hehe.

    What about people who are ambidextrous (I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous – and I’d give my left one to be able to spell it). I suppose it would be which is their most dominant side, after all, even ambidextrous people have a hand they prefer to use more often than not.

    I know that a lot of left handed people were beaten to stop them using that hand, as it was “the devil’s hand”. My sister forced to be ambidextrous as she was always told that she was holding the pen wrong or writing wrong (haha – writing wrong). Although she wasn’t beaten, she was chastised every time she used the “wrong hand”

  4. Hi Penny,

    For what it’s worth, there is evidently a lot of controversy over “how the brain works” in respect to left and right brain function.
    I am responding because having a huge interest in the subject, and having read Jaynes’ book years ago, and having also read more recent books that argue against left-brained, right-brained theories, I thought you might be interested in some information on the controversy. There’s a short article from NPR here, that you might find interesting:


    “However, it seems safe to say that for the most part we all use both sides of our brains almost all the time. We do know a few factors that influence how functions are lateralized and how much they are lateralized. For example, having a “reversed” laterality (with, for example, control of speech in the right rather than the left hemisphere) is more likely for left-handed than right-handed people (although it is important not to overgeneralize from this: the vast majority of left-handed people have the typical lateralization pattern). Moreover, differences have been seen among right-handed people depending on whether or not they have left-handed biological relatives; this is something my lab is beginning to explore. Again, small biological shifts, caused in part by (complex) genetic differences, can lead to different functional patterns, including whether a function tends to be very lateralized or accomplished by both hemispheres.”

    If there is indeed such a difference, I might be tempted to say that I am a left-handed person trapped in a right-handed body. 🙂


    • Hi Debra, thanks so much for your comments and link, I have likewise read much on the subject, over the years. Depending on the “experts” there are very interesting agreements and disagreements going on. Some of these disagreements have occurred at conventions and lectures and are hilarious, actually (they become quite heated in the moment). I do agree with you, as each of us is individual in our physical makeup, environmental influences, and so on; but our genetic difference does influence the whole thing and how it works. I like your final words on the subject, however.
      It says much, for those who would see! 🙂

      • Thanks Penny,
        I should have added, that like you, I have taken heat for having a strong intellect. I also have struggled a lot in my life to verbalize what is clearly imagined and understood internally, or I prefer to say, pre-verbally.

        I was happy to read your post and could easily relate.

        P.S. One of my fave neuroscience books is The Brain the Changes Itself.


    • Hi Ivonne. I am so glad you liked it. When I was very young, I was thought to be retarded, but as an young adult at a University I was told I was a genius and could do and be whatever I wanted (ha,ha) and then I was told by my spouse at the time to hide my intellect, no fooling. That no one was interested in that part of me. Took a few more years to recognize personal self worth and like “all” of who I am, the good parts and the weird parts too! And I am fascinated with our brains, can never learn enough. LOL

Leave a Reply to Yoshiko Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s