We see similar stress rattling Dolores's mind throughout the first three episodes. She is capable of true interaction and, enabled by reveries, accessing memories from her past. But violent episodes rattle her perception of the past and present. This is where Jaynes comes in. Dolores is the oldest robot in the park, built from the parts Ford and Arnold had at the very beginning of the process. As far as we know, Delos has never changed out her hardware, only fiddled with her brain. It's nature that forces a mental upgrade -- with a few jolting props placed around the park by an unseen instigator. The episode flirts with the bicameral blending effect in other real and robotic instances: Wyatt, Teddy's new adversary, supposedly heard the voice of God; later, Ford tells Bernard that only "lunatics" hear those kinds of voices in their heads. If Dolores is in bicameral mode, she's either going to go ballistic, merge the two sides of her mind in the immediate future, or both.
When professionals consider Jaynes's theory, the conversation often turns to artificial intelligence. As Tufts philosophy professor Daniel Dennett said in a recent lecture, "Logical spaces are created that didn’t exist before and you could never find them in the hardware. Such a logical space is not in the hardware, it is not in the 'organs'; it is purely at the software level... I think [Jaynes] is really talking about is a software characterization of the mind, at the level, as a computer scientist would say, of a virtual machine."
Forty years of science has complicated Jaynes's bicameral mind theory. Even when the book debuted, critics slammed The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind for extrapolating loose evidence. "Jaynes confuses the nature of people's thought processes with the nature of their theories of their thought processes," wrote MIT philosophy professor Ed Block in the New York Times. Research has remixed and debunked much of Jaynes's assumptions, with scholars like Noam Chomsky carving out his own theories on language and consciousness and Philip K. Dick embracing it for science fiction.
(Dick wrote a praising letter to Jaynes just after the publication of Bicameral Mind, admitting that he heard nothing before his book "could account for the exquisitely beautiful voice, the inner-voice, which I heard off and on for eleven months," and that the female voice "poetically disclosed to me an entire cosmology." He had his own theories, too.)
Still, the bicameral mind still lingers on the horizon, beyond scientific evidence, mesmerizing psychologists, philosophers, and TV creators alike. "The study of consciousness is on the rise in neuroscience labs around the world, but the science isn’t yet close to capturing subjective experience," Veronique Greenwood recently wrote in Nautilus magazine. "That’s something Jaynes did beautifully, opening a door on what it feels like to be alive, and be aware of it."
Could two halves of Dolores's artificial brain -- one designed to live an independent yet looped life, and one for Westworld employees to steer when necessary -- merge into a full-fledged "human"? Or, perhaps, something more? If Westworld takes anything from Jaynes's research, it may be the impulse to wonder in public. The final episode of Season 1 is titled "The Bicameral Mind." Dolores teases it best in "The Stray": "There aren't two versions of me, there's only one," she tells Bernard. "When I discover who I am, I'll be free."
For more on the bicameral mind, pick up a copy of The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and sift through the endless materials at the Julian Jaynes Society's website.