History

The First Monster

Humans love monsters, but when did we first dare to dream up bestial hybrids and chimerical horrors? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe consider the 35-40 thousand-year-old Löwenmensch statues. Who created these images of lion-headed men? What do they represent and what do they reveal about human cognition?

Optography: Image in a Dead Man's Eye

Pseudoscience often enters our world where magic fails us, seeming to make the impossible possible via the invocation of actual scientific and technological marvels. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the unmistakably necromantic world of optography, a 19th century notion that the last images seen by the dead might be retrieved from the flesh and fluid of the eye.

‘The Rage of Achilles’ and the Bicameral Mind

Robert Lamb discusses Terence Hawkins' 2009 novel 'The Rage of Achilles' and its use of Julian Jaynes’ theory of the bicameral mind.

Six Ghost Stories

Human superstition provides us with an overwhelming wealth of ghost stories, each an unreal creation that reveals something crucial about culture, history and psychology. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Christian explore six ghost stories from around the world and discuss what they reveal about the (living) human experience.

Bicameralism, Part 2: The Silent Pantheon

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 and Joe as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter.

Bicameralism, Part 1: The Voice of God

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 and Joe as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter.

Timothy Leary, Part 2: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

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...

Timothy Leary, Part 1: The Science of LSD

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...

Poison and the Rhino Horn

Can a chalice made of rhino horn detect poison? Can its ground powder serve as an aphrodisiac? The science is at best sketchy on both fronts, but such beliefs continue to endanger the world’s remaining rhinoceros species. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the magical beliefs surrounding rhino horn and exactly what science has to say about the matter.

Are we condemned to repeat history?

Philosopher George Santayana said that 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' If that’s true, then can an extensive understanding of past events help human civilization avoid future catastrophes? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian turn to the field of cliodynamics and its attempts to identify the cycles of social unrest and violence. Can we avoid the terror of history?