A world of unseen visions and heard silences

Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking.
How Julian Jaynes’ famous 1970s theory is faring in the neuroscience age.

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Language needed to exist before what he has defined as consciousness was possible. So he decides to read early texts, including The Iliad andThe Odyssey, to look for signs of people who aren’t capable of introspection—people who are all sea, no rime. And he believes he sees that in The Iliad. He writes that the characters inThe Iliad do not look inward, and they take no independent initiative. They only do what is suggested by the gods. When something needs to happen, a god appears and speaks. Without these voices, the heroes would stand frozen on the beaches of Troy, like puppets.

By The Odyssey, the characters are capable of something like interior thought, he says. The modern mind, with its internal narrative and longing for direction from a higher power, appear.

And the language—what language! It has a Nabokovian richness. There is an elegance, power, and believability to his prose. It sounds prophetic. It feels true. And that has incredible weight. Truth and beauty intertwine in ways humans have trouble picking apart.

Play book

We spend a lot of time advising startups. Though one-on-one advice will always be crucial, we thought it might help us scale Y Combinator if we could distill the most generalizable parts of this advice into a sort of playbook we could give YC and YC Fellowship companies.

Then we thought we should just give it to everyone.

Mother

After witnessing the destruction brought on by hurricanes in Thailand, the Southern U.S. and around the world, Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn began creating a series of sculptures titled ‘Force of Nature’. Made from bronze, stainless steel and aluminum, the sculptures, full of life and energy, depict mother nature hurtling planet earth around in circles. The powerful and furious image is meant remind us of the power of nature and what Quinn describes as our “false sense of security” towards it.

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