Technology as Consciousness Extender

I have already blogged about The Third Space, a place you go when you’re on the phone with someone; someplace other than here. The Third Space is a physical space that exists in your mind, contingent on your connection with the person on the other end of the line.

In The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes argues that a characteristic of consciousness is a similar space. He observes that conscious thought always takes place visually – as it were – within a mental space. We describe conscious thought as “looking within”, or “seeing into” another person, amongst many other turns of phrase.

However, Jaynes is very explicit in saying that consciousness is not required in speaking casually with another person. Consciousness, in Jaynes’s view, is almost rare; not being prerequisite for most of our actions or states of mind.

If we consider the space of consciousness that Jaynes describes and The Third Space as being one and the same, what does this imply? If a casual conversation does not seem to require consciousness, yet even the most casual cellphone conversant is walking into traffic, oblivious to “this” space, completely absorbed into The Third Space, does this imply that the cellphone somehow induces consciousness where otherwise there would be none?

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