Re: Most 200{0,1} prescient SciFi author?

From: Gordon Mohr (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 23:40:36 PST

Matt Jensen writes:
> On Tue, Jan 02, 2001 at 07:18:49AM +0000, Tony Finch wrote:
> > Neal Stephenson wasn't the first author to use that idea -- I think it
> > dates back to an 80s short story who's name and author I can't
> > remember right now and my books are 6000 miles away.
> If the trigger pattern can be aural rather than visual, how about Arthur
> C. Clarke's 1956 short story, "The Ultimate Melody"[1]? That blew my mind
> when I was a kid. The connection to Snow Crash has been noted by
> others[2].

And wasn't there a Monty Python skit about a joke developed by the British
Army during WW2 that was so funny that it killed anyone who heard it in
its entirety, including some of the initial researchers and translators?

> But I also stumbled across this course description:
> The thesis of this course is that the history of cyberspace reaches back,
> not to 1984, when William Gibson coined the word, nor to when ARPANET
> first came online in 1968, nor even to 1945, when ENIAC's tubes first
> heated up, but rather to the 4th century B.C., when Socrates was
> discoursing on Ideal Forms. Indeed, it can go earlier than that: the
> tropes of bodilessness, abstraction, modeling, and immortality that so
> characterize cyberspace today can be found in the Gilgamesh legend of 3000
> B.C. " [3]

Hmm. I read 'Snow Crash' years ago. I just heard about the "Bicameral Mind"
theory of consciousness [1] in the last few months.

I hadn't connected the two until seeing your forwarded course description,
which reminded me that both 'Snow Crash' and 'Bicameral Mind' posit a
major change in language/consciousness about 4-5K years ago.

Turns out the connection is not a coincidence; a paper written in
1992 says "Stephenson wrote Snow Crash partly under the sway of Edward
Jayne's The Orgins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral
Mind." [2]

Don't anyone try to use my latent bicameral mind against me, with
metaviruses, hypnosis, or even an advertising jingle!

- Gordon


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