Jeremy Christian's Psychological Proposal for Adam and Eve's Uniqueness

Does the difference have to be genetic? What if it’s psychological? …

"… many modern scientists [assume] that human behavior can only be explained in physical terms, and ignore the fact that the human mind or psyche is to some degree an independent entity, which can change or develop along its own lines, without necessarily altering physical structure." - Steve Taylor, The Fall: The Insanity of the Ego in Human History and the Dawning of a New Era

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Perhaps, but I’m not satisfied with simply saying it is “psychological” and leaving it at that. We have to dig deeper into what “psychological” means metaphysically speaking. What is the relation between a “psychological” change and a “spiritual” one (as theologians like to speak)? Is there a difference between a psychological change that is underpinned by a physical one, as opposed to one which has no corresponding physical changes?

Also, is Steve Taylor’s assertion correct? Do we know for sure that there are psychological changes that do not depend on any changes in physical structure? (I’m sure some metaphysical naturalists who believe that all psychology is ultimate just brain chemistry would disagree.)

One of Josh’s main contributions to this debate is the importance of translating terms properly from one field to another. Otherwise this psychological explanation may be convincing to psychologists, but incomprehensible to theologians, philosophers and scientists.

There’s a particular difference I have in mind that I’ve been laying out here and there the last few days. You’ve been involved as a moderator already from time to time, so you’re probably at least somewhat familiar.

There’s a shift in the fundamental social aspects of human groups. Humans used to be peaceful, egalitarian species. Then that changed.

The assumption has always been that male dominance and class stratification were products of civilization. Socially evolved through high population interaction. When, in actuality, it would seem the change happens first, then the constructs of the civilization are built that way. Socially stratified. Patriarchial.

An example I was attempting to highlight got me called a racist in another thread. Hence your moderation involvement. At the risk of that again, I want to point this out because it’s specific to this point.

The Native Americans of the North American Plains

These same qualities that only existed in the people of civilizations on the other side of the planet began to manifest in the indigenous natives that were in closest proximity to the arriving Europeans.

This example I feel highlights well that this change in the social paradigm of how humans interact isn’t a genetic one. It’s within generations. Coaxed out, it would seem. Just through contact/interaction. Psychological.

The author above is highlighting this shift in that book.

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Ah, but they weren’t. The plains culture developed because of the acquisition of horses, and this didn’t happen through direct interaction with Europeans. By the time there was regular interaction with Europeans, the culture was already in place. Further, there were highly hierarchical cultures in Mesoamerica and South America, preceding all interaction with the Old World. (And please don’t bring up the Chinese Olmecs.)

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Sure, horses played a role. But it was not the only thing…
“As Service writes, “the famous Plains culture was not fully aboriginal, nor did it last long.” It only occurred after the Europeans had destroyed most other Indian cultures in both North and South America, and was mainly the result of cultural disruption and group migrations. Guns and horses were an important part of the culture, both of which came from the Europeans.” - Steve Taylor, The Fall

If you bring up the hierarchical cultures in Mesoamerica and South America, I’m likely going to bring up the Chinese Olmecs. It’s hard to ignore.

I know it’s controversial, but I don’t think it’s quite right to simply dismiss …

“[archaeologist H.M. Xu] argues that the Olmecs sailed to Mexico from China after the fall of the Shang Dynasty in 1122 BCE. He notes that around this time about 250,000 people disappeared, and suggests that at least some of these travelled to America.”

Olmec culture from around 1200 - 400BCE

I wonder if Xu is considered at all credible, even in China.

Can’t say. Found this, if this helps …
“In September, Xu’s work was published across 16 pages of China’s most influential academic journal, the Quarterly Journal of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences” - TCU Magazine

@Jeremy_Christian may be proposing something similar to the Bicameral Mind.

Hadn’t considered that. Taylor sees it as I do, the emergence of the modern human ego.

Taylor’s theory as to a cause has to do with adversity, with the desiccation of the Sahara being the trigger that started it in the middle east…

“James DeMeo explains the transition in terms of Wilhelm Reich’s concept of ‘armouring’. In his view, the pain and suffering which the Saharasian peoples were confronted with made them “wall themselves off” from the world and from their own feelings. They covered over their natural pleasure-seeking impulses with secondary pleasure-denying instincts; and impulses such as the maternal-infant and the male-female bonds, connection to nature, the sexual instinct, trust and openness to other human beings were disrupted.”

… I think of it in a similar way. A severed tie between us and each other/nature/God. Basically, when we stopped living in harmony with the natural world around us and began to instead inflict our will onto it.

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The Bicameral Mind is yet another crackpot theory supported by imaginatively interpreted, cherrypicked literary clues. Can we agree on that?

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That Illiad/Odyssey thing is a bit of a stretch

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I would agree that many of the arguments he makes are most likely incorrect, especially the literary arguments. Focus on the larger picture though, and the larger thesis, that full sentience arose far more recently in history, by non genetic mechanisms.

I do not agree with this and I don’t see any reason that AE should understood as the first sentient beings.

So, in essence, you are agreeing with my opinion but you want to be nice.


Full sentience? No.

I want to make it absolutely clear that I’m not suggesting indigenous people are any less capable or less human. Maybe less discontent.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” - Blaise Pascal

This observation I think illustrates well what I’m getting at …

"The author Edward T. Hall recalls how, when he worked on Indian reservations in the 1930s, the Indians seemed to possess an amazinng quality of patience. In contrast to the Europeans, who fidgeted impatiently and become irritable, the Indians he saw waiting at trading posts and hospitals never showed any sign of irritation whatsoevere, even if they had to wait for hours. As he writes:

An Indian might come into the agency in the morning and still be sitting patiently outside the superintendent’s office in the afternoon. Nothing in his bearing or demeanour would change in the intervening hours … We whites squirmed, got up, sat down, went outside and looked toward the fields where our friends were working, yawned and stretched our legs … The Indians simply sat there, occasionally passing a word to one another."

It’s not that the people of indigenous cultures weren’t capable of creating writing or mathematics or inventing the wheel. It’s because they had no problems to solve. They weren’t discontent. Bothered by something needing a solution.

Personal possession, warfare, social stratification, patriarchy. These are what sets us “modern” or “civilized” humans apart. Not sentience. These characteristics, as ingrained and fundamental as they may seem to human nature, are late developments. Aberrations, really.

I’d like to quote the Matrix if I may…

Agent Smith: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.

He’s absolutely right. Indigenous humans still act just like a natural mammalian species. Much more intelligent, but still in line with their class.

Starting from the cradle of civilization on we “civilized” humans have steered in a totally different direction. This is not a ‘natural’ progression, I’m asserting. This is the impact of something significant right then and there that changed our species significantly.

He’s completely wrong, as shown by the many diverse examples of overpopulation then crash that have occured in nature among non-human species, from reindeer on Svalbard to snowshoe hares to locusts to algae. Smith’s comment " you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed" is a perfect description of an algal bloom. Look up “boom-bust” and “population crash”, and stop treating movie quotes as factual information.

Buckle your seatbelt, Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye bye.


Thank you, Roy. I’m not treating this movie quote as factual information. I thought it illustrated well what I’m trying to get at. That humanity pivoted at a fundamental level and completely shifted in how we operate and function. Transformed.

Similar to how homo sapiens pushed Neanderthal out of existence. We “civilized” humans, though still the same species, pushed the other ‘type’ of homo sapiens to the brink of extinction globally in roughly 6000 years.

A psychological change that created a new species that resembles a genetic change in its impact.

So you think humanity transformed from consuming resources in equilibrium with the ecology, like animals do, to consuming resources recklessly, unlike animals?

Not just resource consumption. A complete alteration to how humans operate. From egalitarian to class stratification and patriarchy. From peaceful to warring. Docile to aggressive. Living in harmony with the natural world to inflicting our will upon it.

It’s always been the assumption that these changes came with the advent of civilization and the alternate lifestyle it provided. When in actuality, the behavior changes came first. Civilization, it would seem, is the product of these, and not the other way around.

Like the Native Americans of the Plains. They didn’t live the civilization lifestyle, yet manifested all the same traits.