How reciprocal altruism produced the voices of the gods
My understanding is that inner speech doesn't correlate with much of interest today, so I would be inclined to think it's an accident. Perhaps just a question of which thoughts get wired close to the auditory part of the brain (idk much about neurology 😅).
Schizophrenia is 2-3 times more common among Africans than it is in at least some other groups; Europeans, for example (most of the data come from the historically biracial America). Assuming one takes this at face value rather than attributing it to measurement error, and assuming that Jaynes's hypothesis is true, you would need some selective force to explain why the diminishment of schizophrenia relative to "normal" inner speech is more advanced in some populations than others. Schizophrenia diagnoses obviously tend to happen when the voices in your head are actually maladaptively interfering with your life, so it's not as though we can write this off as mistakenly treating benign hallucinations as pathologies. Also, if I remember correctly, schizophrenia has a paternal age effect, i.e. spermatic mutations make it significantly more likely, which seems suggestive of a simple mutational load hypothesis rather than being a consequence of any kind of strategy. So ... I dunno.
Really enjoying your blog.
My thoughts are adjacent to this so I think sharing them with you might be of value, maybe you can connect the dots:
1. Game theory tells us that given a series of many repeated interactions, the optimal strategy -- the highest overall "payout" (when assuming payout for both parties matters) -- is when two agents cooperate. It would make sense that a primary factor follows along the lines of enforcing cooperation because math tells us that it's optimal, and we've been around long enough as a large number to land somewhere that is optimal *for the human race to exist* (which means highest payout for all over time).
2. The thing that I don't think is stressed enough in this post, and maybe you will expand in future posts, is that expressive language is what allows us to compare our internal voices to each other. I believe that is very significant as to why humans are so much more superior than other non-verbal animals -- it's one thing to be able to teach knowledge through verbal expression, that definitely gives us an edge having not to wait generations to learn -- but it's entirely another to be able to express, compare, challenge, and change our inner voices directly without having to "apply and die" to realize the differences.
Edit: Noting how the individual recognizes the separation between the internal voice, the words others in the "real-world" express, and the personal minimum survival instincts (by this I mean things like "thirst" which is chemical) would better explain the purpose of what Freud called "ego."
Perhaps, as people begin to spend less time with others, more time on the internet, and the world increasingly becoming image-obsessed, we are dampening our traditional inner voices more than ever while at the same time taking on increased "real-world" external expression which neither aligns with our voices nor our most basic instincts.
Or maybe it's just that the distance between those traditional inner voices and the external expression now has reached a distance that makes people question themselves (up goes anxiety) as well as increasingly become less able to simulate the minds of others (down goes trust).
You have my e-mail (sidenote: substack analytics are crazy good actually) -- feel free to reach out if you want to bounce some ideas around ever.
Nice article. I'm not really sure how plausible the thesis is, but it sounds possible for sure. That was interesting. Thank you.
No mention of how people have been noticing Google ads are based on thoughts they had and without any chance of correlation to whatever Google's AI could infer? Same for Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, TikTok.
Silicon Valley's algorithms have long been tapping into illegal surveillance of an unprecedented kind - besides the cliques of insiders who misuse this for stalking and harassment of children, human rights defenders, activists, minorities and everyone else.