In 2007, a psychiatrist, Martin Brüne, wrote an essay “On human self-domestication, psychiatry, and eugenics” published in the journal Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, in which he declared:"In the biological literature following Darwin, the term “domestication” became increasingly poorly defined. The criterion of intentional and goal-directed selection, which according to Darwin’s definition was critical … Continue reading Domestication and the new mythology of human “perfectibility”
Check out this painting. Kungkarrangkalpa Tjukurrpa, 2015 by Australian indigenous artists Exhibition opens at The Box, Plymouth (and thanks to cousin Clair Drever for drawing my attention to this) Look at the bottom right hand corner - there is a group of people there. You know what this painting looks like to me? It looks like a … Continue reading Ecological engineering illustrated in a painting
Culture as a collective cognitive niche.I suspect that one of the problems is the idea that "science" - the method of testing causal hypotheses to establish models of reality - is a recent invention. This creates the illusion that all cultures, prior to the European "Enlightenment", were based on superstitious beliefs. The data from anthropology … Continue reading The collective cognitive niche
We humans, the compassionate predator, entered into a contract with a large number of species in the course of the past twenty thousand years (some think longer), and species like the wolf (our domestic dogs), Bos Taurus (domestic cattle), Tarpans (domestic horses of all breeds today) and a legion of others entered the relatively new … Continue reading Manure and Animal rights
In short, he first erects the "mobile, egalitarian, band-society" as a STRAW MAN and then sets about demolishing it to make his point that anthropologists have been fools and romantics. This is, essentially, the very same imaginary "Noble Savage" that Thomas Hobbes repudiated; the same fiction repeatedly resurrected and then demolished, with boring regularity, in the writings of other authors, such as Lawrence Keeley, Richard Wrangham, and Steven Pinker. Worse, Singh is taking liberties with the truth.
In 1972, as I was just about to get married for the first time, I read the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth. I decided not to have children, given the long term prospects.In the meantime, while I went to study hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari, a man called Robert Paine, who died two years ago, … Continue reading Economies are Trophic Flows
THIS is what transformed humanity between 300,000 and 100,000 years ago - the development of a cultural system of environmental management that made the ecosystems of the world into gardens. And we of the "civilized" states, today, mistakenly call this all a "natural wilderness". This brings forcibly to mind what Ragai, a Kua hunter I … Continue reading The discovery that all human hunter-gatherers, throughout the at least the last 80,000 years, did ecological engineering, means that “wilderness” does not really exist.
After that, what does anything matter but that all through the Pleistocene we continued to evolve cognition/behaviour systems finely tuned to cooperative (shared and learned thus collective) cultural adaptations?
While I was in the Kalahari with a group of hunter-gatherers called the Kua, a woman died. I did not witness this, I arrived at the camp after she was buried under the sandy floor of her hut. The people (four families, plus the new widower and his two children) were in the process of … Continue reading ON SPIRITS AND GHOSTS:
I suppose "identity" is the original politics of mankind, but who said it was always weaponized?