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Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Deep in the back of your mind, you?ve always had the feeling that there?s something strange about reality. There is. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they examine neurological quandaries, cosmic mysteries, evolutionary marvels and our transhuman future.

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Introducing Sleepwalkers

If there's one thing that sets people apart from machines, it's creativity, right? Automation may take over certain jobs, but what happens when algorithms start to learn from our work to create their own? This episode, we speak with people using AI to generate films, poetry, music, and even recipes. And the founder of Google X, Sebastian Thrun, explains what's powering this new wave of AI. All episode of Sleepwalkers are available to binge now!

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2019-07-31
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Listener Mail: The Psychedelic Experience

It?s listener mail time again, this time devoted entirely to feedback on Stuff to Blow Your Mind?s five-part series on psychedelics. Join Robert and Joe as they read everyone?s submitted thoughts and experiences. 

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2019-07-30
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From the Vault: MDMA, Part 2

Some of you have tried the ecstasy. Others have merely heard about the drug on a TV sitcom, or heard about it in a news report. Either way, MDMA's power resonates through our culture -- and sometimes it's hard to distinguish the truth form the misinformation. But what exactly is this psychoactive agent? Where does it come from and what sort of effect does it have on the human experience? Join Robert and Christian as they explore the origins and properties of MDMA. (Originally published Dec. 17, 2015)

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2019-07-27
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Electric Microbe Land

It?s easy to think of electricity as the domain of Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Street Fighter?s Blanka. But as Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, it?s also the domain of microbes -- and it will change the shape of future technology. 

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2019-07-25
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TEETH: Dental Evolution and Marching Molars

Where do teeth come from and how do different dental variations in the animal world force us to rethink our glorious chompers? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore dental evolution and the wondrous marching molars of elephants and manatees. 






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2019-07-23
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From the Vault: MDMA, Part 1

Some of you have tried the ecstasy. Others have merely heard about the drug on a TV sitcom, or heard about it in a news report. Either way, MDMA's power resonates through our culture -- and sometimes it's hard to distinguish the truth form the misinformation. But what exactly is this psychoactive agent? Where does it come from and what sort of effect does it have on the human experience? Join Robert and Christian as they explore the origins and properties of MDMA. (Originally published Dec. 15, 2015)

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2019-07-20
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TEETH (with Katie Goldin)

Katie Goldin is back with a new season of Creature Feature, so she joins Robert and Joe on Stuff to Blow Your Mind for a chat about strange and amazing teeth in the animal kingdom. 

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2019-07-18
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Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 5

What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert and Joe explore the world of entheogens. 

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2019-07-16
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From the Vault: Timothy Leary, Part 2

Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD?s power and potential? Join Robert and Christian for a special two-part look at the man, the time and the drug he championed. Turn on, tune in, drop out... (originally published Sep 21, 2017)

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2019-07-13
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Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 4

What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert and Joe explore the world of entheogens. 

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2019-07-11
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Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 3

What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert and Joe explore the world of entheogens. 

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2019-07-09
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From the Vault: Timothy Leary, Part 1

Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD?s power and potential? Join Robert and Christian for a special two-part look at the man, the time and the drug he championed. Turn on, tune in, drop out... (originally published Sep 19, 2017)

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2019-07-06
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Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 2

What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert and Joe explore the world of entheogens. 

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2019-07-04
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Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 1

What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert and Joe explore the world of entheogens. 

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2019-07-02
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From the Vault: The Science of Holy Butter

There's more to butter than meets the eye. Each yellow pat of fatty goodness is nothing short of processed solar energy, and its long history entails many a magical and sacred rite. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider the curious nature of butter. (Originally published Jan 10, 2017)

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2019-06-29
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Roman Extinctions

Humans are capable of amazing technological and societal feats, but we?ve also brought much misery, death and destruction to our world. We are currently in the midst of the sixth great extinction event -- the Holocene extinction -- and the ravages of human activity extend back throughout our history as a dominator species. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe focus in on some of the key extinctions that occurred during the Roman Empire. 

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2019-06-27
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Listener Mail: Fatberg City

It's time for another listener mail and this time we have field reports from the war on fatbergs in the world's sewers -- plus various other e-mails related to recent episodes. 

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2019-06-25
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From the Vault: The Fartonomicon

What is a fart? From what foul bodily depths does it arise? Join Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they crack open the Fartomicon. Explore the fascinating chemistry of flatus, recoil in horror at the thought of medieval fart demons and consider the curious creatures that enjoy a flatulence-free existence. (Originally published April 17, 2018)







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2019-06-22
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The Facial Feedback Hypothesis

To what extent does the act of smiling generate happiness in the mind of the smiler? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the Facial Feedback Hypothesis and what it means for our complex human emotions. 

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2019-06-20
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Silent Running

It?s time for another movie episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and this time Robert and Joe are talking about 1972?s ?Silent Running,? in which Bruce Dern and his robot pals are caught in an endless chase. It?s a discussion of sci-fi, space botany, environmentalism and the relationship between humans and the forest. 

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2019-06-18
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From the Vault: Life on Venus

The planet Venus might seem a hellish destination and an unlikely place to find extraterrestrial life. And yet, many experts agree that life may have existed in the planet's ancient oceans -- and may thrive yet within the upper atmosphere. Join Robert and Joe in a quest for Venusian aliens. (Originally published May 17, 2018)

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2019-06-15
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Against ?Survival of the Fittest?

Is natural selection REALLY survival of the fittest? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss where the phrase comes from and how well it actually matches up with our understanding of evolution.

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2019-06-13
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Brain Soup and Liquid Brains

Is there ever a good scientific reason to turn brains into soup? What does all of this have to do with the concept of ?liquid brains?? Robert and Joe explore on Stuff to Blow Your Mind. 

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2019-06-11
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From the Vault: Finite and Infinite Games

How do you play the game of life? Do you play it as a finite game or an infinite one? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the 1986 philosophy book ?Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility? by American scholar James P. Carse. (Originally published May 31, 2018)

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2019-06-08
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Q2: Bones of the Plumed Serpent

In the Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode ?Quetzalcoatl: The Winged Serpent,? Robert and Joe discussed the feathered snake god of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica -- as well as the giant pterosaur named after it. In this episode, fossils and myth come together in a discussion of Adrienne Mayor?s geomythology take on the plumed serpent.  





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2019-06-06
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The Soap Dragon

What monsters of fatty flesh lie slumbering in the sewer guts of our great cities? Join Robert and Joe as they venture into the dark to discover the beast we all made together.

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2019-06-04
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From the Vault: Neurosecurity: Dawn of the Brain Hackers

While hackers and malware can certainly cause a great deal of damage and misery, these dangers can?t hurt us physically, right? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe are sorry to say you?re wrong -- and as more biotechnology and brain-computer interface creeps into our lives, the risk will only go up. Tune in for a discussion on inherent vulnerability, looming technology and what needs to happen to protect us. (Originally published June 1, 2017)

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2019-06-01
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The Great Wave

For centuries, sailors have told stories of mountainous killer waves that rise out of the ocean without warning. Join Robert and Joe for a discussion of the history and science of rogue waves.

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2019-05-30
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The Doppelganger Network

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss Doppelgangers, fairy imposters, the brain basis for the feeling of familiarity, and a unique way of understanding the impact of social media and modern communications technology.

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2019-05-28
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From the Vault: Beyond the Uncanny Valley

From bad CGI characters to creepy humanoid robots, everyone knows the uncanny valley effect when they see it. But where did this idea come from and to what extent is it actually a thing? Join Robert and Joe as they descend into the uncanny valley and explore just what's going on in our minds when we lock eyes with less-than-human simulacrums. (Originally published April 6, 2017)

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2019-05-25
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Listener Mail: Sacred Squirrels and More

It?s time for another bag of Stuff to Blow Your Mind listener mail, plus a minor update on sacred squirrels. Join Robert, Joe and your friendly neighborhood mailbot dig into your thoughts on recent episodes. 

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2019-05-23
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Introducing Ephemeral

Lost materials, dropped threads, forgotten stories. Ephemera in the way that it?s intertwined in our lives. All those things, tangible and intangible, that you wish you could take just one more look at before they vanish into the past. Listen wherever podcasts are found and learn more at www.ephemeral.show

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2019-05-22
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Deep Sea Ecology with Diva Amon

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe chat with deep sea marine biologist Diva Amon about life in the deep ocean -- from the wonderous organisms that thrive there to the human activities that threaten their future.

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2019-05-21
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From the Vault: Into the Uncanny Valley

The far side of the uncanny valley rises steeply, assaulting our psyche as our artificial human likenesses creep ever closer toward perfection. But what happens when we actually emerge on the other side? What happens to human society when video footage is no longer the gold standard? Robert and Joe investigate. (Originally published April 4, 2017)

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2019-05-18
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The Science of Thulsa Doom, Part 2

It?s time for another movie-themed Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode. In fact, it's TWO episodes. This time Robert and Joe discuss the 1982 sword and sorcery picture ?Conan the Barbarian.? Join them as they gush over the film?s charismatic villain Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and explore the real world of giant snakes, Set, snake arrows and more.

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2019-05-16
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The Science of Thulsa Doom

It?s time for another movie-themed episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind -- and this time Robert and Joe are discussing the 1982 sword and sorcery picture ?Conan the Barbarian.? Join them as they gush over the film?s charismatic villain Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and explore the real world of giant snakes, Set, snake arrows and more. 

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2019-05-14
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From the Vault: Carl Zimmer on Heredity's Power

Why does heredity hold such power over us? How did the ancients contemplate it and how is genetic technology changing the shape of future heredity? In this classic episode, Robert and Joe chat with acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer about the topics explored in his  book ?She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.? (Originally published June 14, 2018)





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2019-05-11
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Send an Owl/Raven/Pigeon!

Harry Potter sends messages by owl. The characters of ?Game of Thrones? employ ravens. Meanwhile, real-life messenger pigeons have carried messages for thousands of years. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider just why the homing pigeon is perfect for this job -- and why owls and ravens are not. 

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2019-05-09
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Almost Cannibals

What?s the line between cannibalism and mere predation? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider some thought-provoking cases of predation and cannibalism in the animal world. 

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2019-05-07
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From the Vault: Coral Sex in the Sea

Sure coral reefs are rich, vibrant ecosystems, but did you know they also have a kinky side? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, "Sex in the Sea" author Dr. Marah J. Hardt returns to chat about coral reproduction and the role this vital, threatened organism plays in our world.

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2019-05-04
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The Fallacy of Alignment: Fundamental Attribution Error, Part 2

How do we consider and predict the actions and intentions of others? How much do we lean on an individual?s presumed internal disposition versus the particulars of their situation? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe consider the fundamental attribution error, which breaks down the errors and even dangers of causal cognition. 

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2019-05-02
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The Fallacy of Alignment: Fundamental Attribution Error, Part 1

How do we consider and predict the actions and intentions of others? How much do we lean on an individual?s presumed internal disposition versus the particulars of their situation? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe consider the fundamental attribution error, which breaks down the errors and even dangers of causal cognition. 

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2019-04-30
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Invention: Toilets, Part 1

Have you subscribed to Robert and Joe's other podcast INVENTION yet? If not, here's a taste of what they're up to in part 1 of their look at toilet technology, from the oldest latrine pit to the modern flushing commode. 

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2019-04-27
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The Sacred Mountain, Part 2

Why do sacred mountains exist in so many cultures and myths? To what extent could high altitude conditions contribute to the way our mind processes these breathtaking environments? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe explore the wonder and science of sacred mountains.

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2019-04-25
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The Sacred Mountain, Part 1

Why do sacred mountains exist in so many cultures and myths? To what extent could high altitude conditions contribute to the way our mind processes these breathtaking environments? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe explore the wonder and science of sacred mountains. 

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2019-04-23
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From the Vault: Humanity's THC Odyssey

Humans have known about cannabis for thousands of years, crafting hemp textiles and consuming its psychoactive THC. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Christian Sager examine the cannabis plant, its travels through human populations and its famed sensory and psychological effects. (Originally published May 3, 2016)

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2019-04-20
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The Imp of the Perverse

In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a tale about a man overcome by the compulsion to confess to the heinous crime he sought to keep secret. The conundrum pops up in other Poe tales as well, but the so called ?Imp of the Perverse? also invades the human mind with alarming regularity. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe attempt to understand just why, considering Freud, neuroscience, Ironic Process Theory and more. 

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2019-04-18
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The Pressure

Atmospheric pressure. Water pressure. Geologic pressure. What exactly IS pressure and how do humans interact with it? Join Robert and Joe for a look at examples on and within planet Earth -- as well as beyond. 

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2019-04-16
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From the Vault: Bicameralism, Part 2

In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book ?The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind? hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated voices in place of conscious thought, and presented archaeological, literary, historical and religious evidence to support this highly controversial view. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter. (originally published Sep 28, 2017)
Related Content: Bicameralism, Part 1: The Voice of God (podcast)Bonus Episode: R. Scott Bakker on Consciousness & Consult (podcast)Where is my mind? (podcast)What Mind Control Feels Like(podcast)Outside Content:The Julian Jaynes Society'The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind' by Julian Jaynes

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2019-04-13
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Against Narrative: Are stories bad for us? Part 2

It?s hard to imagine human beings without storytelling and literature. Surely, these are some of the very things that define us. Narratives give our lives and our world meaning, but what if there?s a dark side to their sorcerous power? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the storyteller?s potent spell.

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2019-04-11
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