"Consciousness and craziness and a hypothesis about their origins"
About this document
Note: This is just a hypothesis that mashes up several other sources. Even I find it farfetched.
The sources are:
How I perceived The Selfish Gene and Memetics based on online conversations and resources.
My study of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Bible and ancient history.
Linguistical insights from learning Hebrew and Arabic
Insights from my experience with MDD and Hypomanias.
The origins of consciousness and madness
It is well known that when individuals of most primate species (including monkeys!) are separated from their group/tribe, they stop eating and drinking and become unenergetic and can even die out of thirst or hunger. This is a very similar phenomenon to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_disorder in humans.
In order to avoid it, humans, who often needed to travel long distances alone to find mates, food, water, elementary materials, etc. developed during their evolution a thought process, where they hallucinated guiding thoughts (or even voices) of "leaders" (= "guideline-generators") which emitted "rules", or even just "guidelines" to entertain them, guide them, encourage them, amuse them etc. But these humans were nevertheless nonsentient.
These leaders could be all kind of entities: friends, relatives, pets, inanimate objects, dead people, abstract concepts (e.g: "love", "clumsiness"), mythological figures (including polytheistic gods such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asherah , but also non-divine mortals such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgamesh or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesop ) , as well as platonic ideals and subideals such as "the human", "the child", "the tree", "the oak", "the bird", "the swallow", etc.
Note that these language-speaking humans, didn’t immediately obey these leaders and guidelines, as people who have read about Sumerian history can attest to, but they still used it for reasoning.
From 2000 BC to 1000 BC the Akkadians and their extant colonies of Babylon and Assyria developed increasingly simplified methods of writing, culminating in the Phoenician Abjad (or vowel-less "Alphabet"), which was particularly suitable for writing Canaanite Aramaic and other languages which we now call Semitic languages (albeit the use of "Shem" to describe peoples in the Tanakh and elsewhere was more political )
As the Alphabet was easy enough to be learnt even by children (and often was) and there were plenty of clay tablets or stone walls to write using chalk or other stones (as I can attest from my experiences in hiking .il and .pa ), many guidelines were exchanged there in the form of messages (or "memes") not unlike the Internet social media in today’s world.
These guidelines were referred to as "el"s (אל) in Hebrew which stems from the "towards" preposition, so it meant "direction", "target", "destination" and only meant "a god" later.
A "guideline-generator" was called "eloha" (אלוה) which meant a collection of "el"s, and whose plural, "elohim" ("אלוהים") now means the monotheisic "God" in modern Hebrew. (This is similar to how the modern English word "corporation" stems from "corpora" which is a Latin plural of "corpus": "body", "person".)
Jaynes notes that the modern Hebrew word for king "melekh" (מלך) meant a lesser leader than an "El", and in butchered ancient Hebrew could have meant "go from where!" ("me’ayin lekh") or "reason" or "cause" or "incentive".
One of these guideline generators was "אנוכי יהוה אלהיך" (= "anochi yehovah eloheichah" in modern Hebrew) which meant "he/she/what is and will be shall be your guideline-generator" (which likely emitted guidelines close to "live in the present and for the future" or "let bygones be bygones" or even "forget it", "I forgive you", "Let it be", "Let it go", "no worries"/"hakuna matata"). This is now known as the First commandment although "Dibber" in Hebrew simply means "he/she/what/it spoke".
We can imagine a conversation then to go similar to this:
While being useful (see Saladin for instance), it was often overridden by other leaders or their guidelines. As a result, the following meta-guideline or followup for the 1st commandment was appended to it: The second commandment: "No other leaders [or guidelines] shall take precedence over me [= The Jehovah Guideline]". ("לא יהיה לך אלהים אחרים על פניי")
This was nice and well, until one day one boy, girl, man, or woman, who likely was taught to read (possibly by himself) - I’ll call him SoulZero - accidentally read the Second Commandment before he was familiar with the first. Then he interpreted it as: "The ‘Soul’ Leader said: no other leader or its guideline shall take precedence over me [= the ‘Soul' Leader!]"
So it was self-referential as suspected in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" and threw SoulZero’s brain into a short confusion and demoting of the leaders and their guidelines from which there was only one escape: the birth of a human soul aka "ego" or "I-ness" or "center of sentience/consciousness". A personal meta-leader.
SoulZero started hearing mere thoughts instead of voices that sounded real. He became a "self-leader" or "Ben-elohim" or "king-of-kings".
The "worst" thing was that it was contagious and soon many people became sentient. SoulZero and the other self-leaders told their gospel in the form of "There are no gods? What are you talking about? Hear this: No other leader shall take precedence over me".
The self-leaders could better lead their life but on the downside had to decide to think and they could be happy, "down", clinically depressed, mildly depressed, hypomanic, manic or even Schizophrenic.
Clinical depression ( MDD ) and Murder
From experience, while I was in Major depressive disorder ( MDD ), my mind was void of thoughts and I was constantly seeking guidance. Moreover, I believed that the advice and the guidance were absolute "rules" or even dogma, and that I must obey it.
In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is described as MDDed and as murdering innocent people.
The nevi’im and amateur philosophers:
I believe that "niba" / "hitnabé" meant "to be crazy"/"to emit crazy things" in ancient Hebrew: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevi%27im - including in today’s casual sense or "to seek divine guidance". Initially, most of them were out-of-control Schizophrenics and maniacs but eventually many of the best Nevi’im were hypomanic at worst, and not only emulated their predecessors or contemporaries but topped them.
They could have been funny, or exalting, or sexy, or blasphemous. They often spoke in normal prose or free-form verse.
Ezekiel chapter no. I - https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16099 - can be seen as mocking the various previous visions-of-revelations and doing it so well that people found it incredibly funny (and it is pointless to derive meaning from it - Ezekiel was just "making shit up").