Problem of discerning cultural and religious phenomena.
Material remains. Although religion is largely a mental phenomenon, it involves numerous material accessories: artefacts and places of cultic and ceremonial significance, pictures and symbols, sacrifices, and votive offerings. In many cases religion makes use of art and, to some degree, certain inferences about religious conceptions can be drawn from burial sites. The interpretation of such sources from analogies with present-day religious practices means, in effect, that a more or less complete congruence or similarity is being inferred from a partial congruence that is observed. Not infrequently, particular findings can be explained in various ways. It is often unclear, for example, to which religions category a find belongs, since a sacrifice and a burial, cannibalism and human sacrifice, or animal sacrifice an animal cult are frequently not distinguishable archaeologically. Thus, it is not enough to select some particular present day ‘primitive’ religious phenomenon and apply it automatically to archaeological material; rather, it is first necessary to carry out extensive comparative studies in order to ascertain connections of sufficient scope and to establish a basic congruence of meanings. Usually only general trends, rather than concrete particulars, can be comprehended in this fashion.
Question: Mummy, asks Daddy, “How did Primitive Man think”?
*If we know how he/she (PM) thought, we may be able to learn how to think about overcoming the self-evident appalling-ness of primitive barbarity, ignorance, and the inherent superstitions; existing within the modern social world of man. Western modern man, and modern woman; so sheltered by their social system, having a much more complicated input to their mind or mindsets. Mostly, this mindset belongs in a framework of an urban social network, with the mind indoctrinated and brainwashed in a closed system of thought or a stage set by the popular media. We have been so embroiled in it, with our senses dulled by the consumerist urbanisation, unable to fully understand the importance of our deep roots within the primitive mind. A study of prehistoric man and the primitive mind, gives us some answers, far beyond those of philosophy and religion. Everything we think and every thought we ever have had does stem from our relatively greater time existing, as we are now, within thousands of years of our prehistory.* Ref, Beyond the comfort zone and, no – Wiki or Google for 1st year Uni students. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j17xt/Analysis_Clever.com/ ‘Fairy Fancy’ Richard Dawkins. Chat rooms – networking, ‘change our brains’ – for the better? Something, may be, an awful lot better than nothing! http://luckyme0.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A18BF3FCC5E126A2!2959.entry
“T h e P r e h i s t o r i c M i n d” !
Primitive man probably thought very much as a young child thinks that is to say “in a series of imaginative pictures”. He conjured up images or images presented themselves to his mind, he acted in accordance with the emotions they aroused. So, a young child or an uneducated person does today. Systematic thinking, is apparently, a comparative late development in human experience. It has not played any great part in human life until within the last 3000 years, and even today, those who really control and order their thoughts are but a small minority of humankind. Most of the world still lives by imagination and passion. ‘A Short History of the World’ H.G.Wells. Ref, “pre-logical” or “bricoleurs” “Bricolage” (improvisation) ‘The Domestication Of The Human Species’ Peter Wilson.
The Taliban (tribal culture) :-
‘The Prehistory of the Mind’: An Exchange
By Merlin Donald, Steven Mithen, Reply by Howard Gardner
In response to Evolutionary Psychology: An Exchange (October 9, 1997)
To the Editors:
The exchange between Stephen Jay Gould and Steven Pinker [NYR, October 9, 1997]
regarding the nature of evolutionary psychology and more specifically the notion
of cognitive spandrels was entertaining and informative. Which aspects, if any,
of our mental functioning are spandrels, as opposed to adaptive mechanisms
“designed” by natural selection to solve the kinds of problems faced by our
ancestors in their struggle to survive and reproduce (quoting Pinker), is an
extremely important question that requires serious discussion and debate. But it
also involves a study of precisely what those “kinds of problems” may have been,
and quite how our ancestors solved them.
In this regard a serious weakness in the current literature of evolutionary
psychology is the almost blasé disregard for the archaeological, fossil, and
palaeoenvironmental records that provide evidence to address these questions.
Reading much of the evolutionary psychology literature as an archaeologist, I
find it astonishing that gross generalizations are made about our Pleistocene
hunter-gatherer past, with such little reference to the research of
archaeologists who endeavor to reconstruct past lifestyles. Pinker did at least
acknowledge the existence and value of the archaeological record, when
commenting about whether reading may be a spandrel. But whatever its theoretical
strengths or shortcomings as debated by Pinker and Gould, evolutionary
psychology will not prosper until it takes the hunter-gatherer past as seriously
as it claims to do so. The archaeological, fossil, and palaeoenvironmental
records provide evidence about past behavior and cognition.
Prehistoric teenage female and male. Immaturity of youth: see, Farb p30-31. Prehistoric man ‘was never a teenager’. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1694591.stm
Today’s high school and college students are sexually and socially mature, while technologically still juveniles. If denied the economic and social benefits to which maturity entitles them, simply because they have not yet acquired all of the technological skills needed in the modern world: young people may become restless and very antisocial in their behaviour. (menstruation females 1900-14 – 14-15 years – Now, 198O’s 12.6 years – what next! An evolutionary trend?)
Also: children, prehistoric boy or girl, were totally absorbed in the activities of their parents (hypnotically so? Ref, ease of human indoctrination and wishing to believe – almost anything, esp – when young) Therefore society could not advance – parent to child, child becomes parent, and in exactly the same exacting mould: seen in some tribal cultures today – the ‘closed system’ of no cultural, and no social advance or of little or any scientific advances! Dr J.Bronowski. ‘A broad menu’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7630042.stm Jacob Bronowski ‘The Ascent Of Man’ ‘The Long Childhood’ http://www.bbcshop.com/History/Ascent-Of-Man-DVD/invt/bbcdvd1608 Sexual segregation in some tribes (natural state of homosexuality of puberty recognised as normal, even encouraged – a practise for the adult role – ‘perverted’ by any adult involvement) Re-segregation after the ‘myriad of types of initiation rites’ – homosexuality after an initiation rite is given up, for the young male or female, to play the full part in the adults or tribal forms of the societies accepted forms and its structures of heterosexuality. “Even if homosexuality were, as a matter of fact, ‘unnatural’ (which it probably isn’t), that would not, by itself, justify us in morally condemning it.” ‘The War For Children’s Mind’s’ Stephen Law.
Child murder and/or murder of loved one’s and/or respected one’s – so that their; the murdered one’s: great strength could be gained from them after death! Ref, ‘Primitive Science’ and in the slaying of a ‘brave or courageous enemy’. Ref, ‘Savage Science’, “You give a child a certain berry and it dies. You eat the heart of a valiant enemy and you become strong”. Anthropological, the play – ‘The Killing of Sister George’ at its ending, and for its general concept as a film category http://www.reverseshot.com/article/killing_sister_george
Latest Discoveries. Iron Age Britain. Time Team Channel4 TV. Nomad (egalitarians – hunter-gatherers) vs Villager’s (vicious – sedentists) http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/T/timeteam/2008/swords/index.html
Big Brains – 1.4 million years ago http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7721999.stm 14/11/08
Murder http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7733372.stm 4,600 years ago! 18/11/2008
Gangs getting ‘more violent’ http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/article.aspx?cp-documentid=12077260
Footprints 1.5 million years – Homo Erectus http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7913375.stm
There are seven billion humans on earth, spread across the whole planet. Scientific evidence suggests that most of us can trace our origins to one tiny group of people who left Africa around 70,000 years ago. In this five-part series, Dr Alice Roberts follows the archaeological and genetic footprints of our ancient ancestors to find out how their journeys transformed our species into the humans we are today, and how Homo sapiens came to dominate the planet. In this programme, the journey continues into Asia, the world’s greatest land mass, in a quest to discover how early hunter-gatherers managed to survive in one of the most inhospitable places on earth – the Arctic region of Northern Siberia. Alice meets the nomadic Evenki people, whose lives are dictated by reindeer, both wild and domesticated, and discovers that the survival techniques of this very ancient people have been passed down through generations. Alice also explores what may have occurred during human migration to produce Chinese physical characteristics, and considers a controversial claim about Chinese evolution: that the Chinese do not share the same African ancestry as other peoples. (DNA evidence suggests (proves) it was sexual attraction (over a long period of time) for people to mate with the men or woman who had a distinctive physical characteristic i.e., those with slightly flatter faces and narrower eyes than their ancestors who came from Africa)
Author: PJ Wilson
Evolution of the Human Species. Peter J. Wilson, is also the author of Man, The Promising Primate: The Conditions of Human Evolution.
“The fossil, nicknamed Ida, is claimed to be a “missing link” between today’s higher primates – monkeys, apes and humans – and more distant relatives.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8057465.stm?lsm
Evolution, Fish to Man. Man’s Debt to the Past. http://luckyme0.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A18BF3FCC5E126A2!960.entry ‘The vast majority (>99%) of all species that have ever lived on the Earth have become extinct, with only a privileged minority leaving fossils to attest to their former existence.’ ‘The Tree of Life’ OU. Ref, ‘our or Man’s debt to the past’ and ‘attesting too’: consciousness and the reflection of/in a past history; only man happens, by pure chance, and capable of this extraordinary ability with the human brain having it’s quite amazing quantity of reflective – ‘Mirror Neurons’: from – ‘The Emerging Mind’ Vilayanur Ramachandran. (Neuron = Nerve cell. It is specialised for the transmission of information and characterised by long fibrous projections called axons, and shorter, branch-like projections called dendrites. Synesthesia = A condition in which a person quite literally tastes a shape or sees a colour in a sound or number. This is not just a way of describing experiences as a poet might use metaphors. Synesthetes actually experience the sensations. Ref, empathy, religiosity, tribal instinct, shamanism: the domination of Homo sapien over Neanderthal (isolated in pockets and numbers fall leading to extinction) so on… “We are all synesthetes – to some degree” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8070210.stm A binding to the ‘group mind’, or ‘sowing the seeds of our own extinction’, by conforming to the group mind, and “a lack of reason – brings forth monsters”?
BBC – BBC Two Programmes – The Incredible Human Journey, Asia http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00klf6j ‘Sun Quest and Sun Gods – Fertility’
Alice looks at our ancestors’ seemingly impossible journey to Australia. Miraculously preserved footprints and very old human fossils buried in the outback suggest a mystery: that humans reached Australia almost before anywhere else. How could they have travelled so far from Africa, crossing the open sea on the way, and do it thousands of years before they made it to Europe? (In search or want, maybe, of a ‘Holy Sun Grail’; the quest for ‘sun’ knowledge; like moths to a candle and so go east and find the rising sun – lush hunting grasslands, away from the dark forests, and dank waters and salty seas and the beaches of Indonesia? ‘The Secrets of Stonehenge’ revealed – rising Sun Soltices http://www.channel4.com/programmes/time-team-specials/episode-guide/series-1/episode-2 The results surpass their wildest dreams and this pivotal excavation finally enables the team to reveal not only when Stonehenge was built and how it was built but, perhaps most importantly, why it was built. Fun and Theories of Archaeology) http://luckyme0.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A18BF3FCC5E126A2!4175.entry
Author: Dr Nigel Spivey
LATEST Early modern humans in South Africa were using “heat treatment” to improve their stone tools about 72,000 years ago, according to new research. Pigments for body or cave decoration at 160,000 years ago! South African Caves.
Shells – 80,000 years ago! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/08/sci_nat_enl_1251307747/html/1.stm
ScienceDaily (1999-08-10) — Fire provided the spark for modern human evolution, but not because it allowed our ancestors to eat meat. Rather, it was the ability to cook tuberous roots akin to carrots, potatoes and beets that caused hominids to turn a major evolutionary corner about 1.9 million years ago, according to anthropologists Richard Wrangham of Harvard University, Gregory Laden of the University of Minnesota and Harvard colleagues David Pilbeam, Jamie Jones and NancyLou Conklin-Brittain.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8270000/8270396.stm ‘A Protection Racket’
And – Much Worse! What goes on in your ‘modern day’ culture!
The facts of evolution are getting more exciting, with the passing of every day! Ref, ‘Creationism is an impertinent insolence that flies in the face of the Divine (nature – naturism or naturalism – naturists) Becoming human is a process and not some event. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8285180.stm
War and ‘killing’, can be fun (at least, ‘the training’). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/8325588.stm
“What explains the extraordinarily fast rate of evolution in the human lineage over the past two million years? A leading human origins researcher has come up with an idea that involves aggression between groups and the boom-bust cycles that have punctuated our spread into new environments” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19598980 And, “Changes to their surroundings can trigger “rapid evolution” in species as they adopt traits to help them survive in the new conditions, a study shows. Studying soil mites in a laboratory, researchers found that the invertebrates’ age of maturity almost doubled in just 20-or-so generations. It had been assumed that evolutionary change only occurred over a much longer timescale. The findings have been published in the journal Ecology Letters” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22039872
“Abrupt climate change in Africa helped trigger technological and cultural advances in early modern humans, according to new research. Archaeologists had long noted that the complexity displayed by human groups moved in fits and starts. But there has been a debate about the causes of this stop-start pattern. Analysis of marine sediments suggest a close link between changes in human behaviour and changes in the southern African climate. The research by a British, Swiss and Spanish team is published in the journal Nature Communications” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22630912
“A mouse-sized fossil from China has provided remarkable new insights into the origin of primates. At 55 million years old, it represents the earliest known member of this broad group of animals that includes humans. Scientists have called the diminutive creature Archicebus, which roughly translates as “ancient monkey”. They tell Nature magazine that its skeleton helps explain the branching that occurred at the very base of the primate evolutionary tree. The team puts Archicebus on the line leading to tarsiers, a collection of small arboreal animals now found exclusively in south-east Asia” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22770646
“The idea that there were several different human species walking the Earth two million years ago has been dealt a blow. Instead, scientists say early human fossils found in Africa and Eurasia may have been part of the same species. Writing in the journal Science, the team says that Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus are all part of a single evolving lineage that led to modern humans” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24564375
“A new theory suggests that our male ancestors evolved beefy facial features as a defence against fist fights. The bones most commonly broken in human punch-ups also gained the most strength in early “hominin” evolution. They are also the bones that show most divergence between males and females. The paper, in the journal Biological Reviews, argues that the reinforcements evolved amid fighting over females and resources, suggesting that violence drove key evolutionary changes”
“Modern humans and Neanderthals co-existed in Europe 10 times longer than previously thought, a study suggests. The most comprehensive dating of Neanderthal bones and tools ever carried out suggests that the two species lived side-by-side for up to 5,000 years” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28693371
Back again, first human 400,000 years in the past, than we thought http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31718336 1) Episodic Stage – Primate cognition 2) Mimetic Stage – 4 million to 400,000 years (peaking with Homo erectus) 3) Mythic Stage – first use of complex language – 500,000 years to the present (peaking with Homo sapiens) 4) Material Symbolic Stage. Leslie White recognised this as defining the ‘importance in human culture’ (icons of religious faith, amongst the many other symbols) 5) Theoretic Stage. Donald calls this ‘institutionalised paradigmatic thought’ (writing – ‘massive external memory storage’). A better and more detailed explanation can be found in Colin Renfrew’s fascinating book ‘Prehistory’.
The Anthropocene – a new geological time period that marks the “Age of man” – began in 1610, a study suggests (Columbus). More interesting: “Humans are possibly the weirdest species to have ever lived. We have freakishly big brains that allow us to build complicated gadgets, understand abstract concepts and communicate using language. We are also almost hairless with weak jaws, and struggle to give birth. How did such a bizarre creature evolve?” http://www.bbc.com/earth/bespoke/story/20150311-the-15-tweaks-that-made-us-human/index.html
Superb TV – We go to the ‘Summer Solstice’ at ‘Stonehenge’ every year; we leave at 3.30 am. Looking forward to this year’s amazing sunrise!http://www.bbc.co.uk/…/a-history-of-ancient-britain-series-…
A History of Ancient Britain –
Series 1: 3. Age of Cosmology
Neil Oliver continues his journey through the world of Ancient Britain as he encounters an age of cosmological priests and some of the greatest monuments of the Stone Age, including Stonehenge itself. This is a time of elite travellers, who were inventing the very idea of Heaven itself.
“A man/woman should be aware of the minuteness of himself and his environment, in relation to the the world in time and space. He should see his own age in relation to the past and future. He should be conscious of the of the vastness of geological epochs and astronomical abysses, so on…” Russell.