“Roderick Jaynes,” who was nominated for Best Editor Oscars for Fargo and No Country for Old Men, is the pseudonym under which the Coen Brothers jointly edit their movies.
I’ve never seen anybody suggest this, so let me toss out the idea that the name Roderick Jaynes is a tribute to Julian Jaynes, the author of the 1976 crank / genius classic The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.
Jaynes, who taught at Princeton while Ethan Coen majored in philosophy there, argued in his 1976 book (published to considerable acclaim while Ethan was a Princeton undergrad) that ancient people (up until about 1000 BC) did not possess consciousness. When Achilles hears a god telling him what to do, he’s hearing one half of his brain talking to the other half.
The characters of the Iliad do not sit down and think out what to do. They have no conscious minds such as we say we have, and certainly no introspections. It is impossible for us with our subjectivity to appreciate what it was like. When Agamemnon, king of men, robs Achilles of his mistress, it is a god that grasps Achilles by his yellow hair and warns him not to strike Agamem-non (I :197ff.). … It is the gods who start quarrels among men (4:437ff.) that really cause the war (3:164ff.), and then plan its strategy (2:56ff.). It is one god who makes Achilles promise not to go into battle, another who urges him to go, and another who then clothes him in a golden fire reaching up to heaven and screams through his throat across the bloodied trench at the Trojans, rousing in them ungovernable panic. In fact, the gods take the place of consciousness.
The beginnings of action are not in conscious plans, reasons, and motives; they are in the actions and speeches of gods. …
Even the poem itself is not wrought by men in our sense. Its first three words are Menin aedie Thea, Of wrath sing, O Goddess! And the entire epic which follows is the song of the goddess which the entranced bard ‘heard’ and chanted to his iron-age listeners among the ruins of Agamemnon’s world.
Note that the big budget 2004 movie Troy with Brad Pitt as Achilles just gave up on trying to portray the Olympian gods and left them out of the story. This was widely criticized as being untrue to Homer, but it’s not easy figuring out how to make a movie version of The Iliad make sense to modern audiences.
I haven’t read Jaynes’ book, just flipped through it in a book store. My impression is that most people who have read it have concluded (at least for public consumption): I don’t think this is true; just don’t ask me to prove it’s not true.
The Bronze age collapse of the 2nd millennium BCE led to mass migrations and created a rash of unexpected situations and stresses which required ancient minds to become more flexible and creative. Self-awareness, or consciousness, was the culturally evolved solution to this problem. This necessity of communicating commonly observed phenomena among individuals who shared no common language or cultural upbringing encouraged those communities to become self-aware to survive in a new environment. Thus consciousness, like bicamerality, emerged as a neurological adaptation to social complexity in a changing world
That seems strikingly relevant to the Late Obama Age Collapse and its accompanying psychological disorders.
Anyway, I would guess that the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes for the Coens’ collaboration is a joke about Julian Jaynes’ speculation about the two-sided brain.