Josephine Anstey | United States | 2018 | 9:23
Improvising Consciousness: The Bicameral Mind is an episode in a creative non-fiction/experimental documentary series. The series are lectures which present an alternative account of the evolution of human consciousness arguing that environmental disasters have resulted and will result in major changes to cognitive processes. The argument is rooted in standard and radical scholarship in neuroanthropology and cognitive science, but also serves as a feminist spoof, challenging tenacious assumptions that equate human intelligence with language, rationality, and men: think baby-slings as the ground-breaking technology for humans, not spears!
The spoof is personified in a fictional character, Jennifer Årnstay Professor of Material and Analogical Eco-Cognition, visiting from an unspecified time and place. In a humanitarian gesture, she comes to explain that the cognitive module for spoken language that was leveraged as a solution to survival pressures in 12,000 BCE has become an existential threat for humans facing the challenges of the Anthropocene in 2000 CE. In this episode, she examines the creeping and insidious influence of language on early human society culminating with the conception of “God.”