157 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2022
    1. In 1964, after earning four O-levels, including one in art and maths, Eno had developed an interest in art and music and had no interest in a "conventional job".[12]

      When did the definition of a so-called "conventional job" emerge? Presumably after the start of the industrial revolution when people began moving from traditional crafts, home work, farm work, and other general subsistence work.

      What defines a non-conventional job? Does it subsume caring work? What does David Graeber have to say about this in Bullshit Jobs?

    1. And so I’m blogging this to reflect on and record this dynamic, so I never forget this idea of trying the snack break ahead of a “peer feedback” session.

      Providing a snack break before a peer feedback classroom session can dramatically improve the interactions during it.

      This is not dissimilar to conferences providing socializing and snacking time/spaces both at the start of the event and throughout the day.

  2. view.connect.americanpublicmedia.org view.connect.americanpublicmedia.org
    1. The word “kafala” in Arabic has traditionally been used to describe a social and moral “responsibility to another.”  Researchers Ray Jureidini and Said Fares Hassan write, “kafala contracts were used to protect the weak and vulnerable by instituting the patronage of a prominent local who provided whatever protection was required.” Think of raising an orphaned child, for example. In business, kafala originally referred to contracts where a guarantor assumes liability for another person (e.g. a cosigner for a loan).    Kafala nowadays is often used to describe the legal relationship between businesses and migrant workers. Employers, typically citizens, act as sponsors for workers and assume legal responsibility for their movement and actions in exchange for their right to work in a geographic area. 

      The use of kafala shows a shift from a meaning of social responsibility into a meaning co-opted by capitalism and social contract.

    1. Weare on record as holding that unlimited educational opportunity-or, speaking practically, educational opportunity thatis limited only by individual desire, ability, and need-is themost valuable service that society can provide for its members.

      This broadly applies to both oral and literate societies.

      Desire, ability, and need are all tough measures however... each one losing a portion of the population along the way.

      How can we maintain high proportions across all these variables?

  3. Oct 2022
    1. Because I am as interested in the attitudes and assumptions which are implicit in the evidence as in those which were explicitly articulated at the time, I have got into the habit of reading against the grain. Whether it is a play or a sermon or a legal treatise, I read it not so much for what the author meant to say as for what the text incidentally or unintentionally reveals.

      Historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and surely other researchers must often "read against the grain" which historian Keith Thomas defines as reading a text, not so much for what the author was explicitly trying to directly communicate to the reader, but for the small tidbits that the author through the text "incidentally or unintentionally reveals."

    1. 13 Blumenberg’s anthropological writings, mainly an attempt to reconcile phenomenologywith the tradition of philosophical anthropology, have been gathered in Blumenberg,Beschreibung des Menschen: Aus dem Nachlass, ed. Manfred Sommer (Frankfurt: Suhr-kamp, 2006). This publication has led to a surge of reinterpretations of his work throughthe lens of these anthropological writings; see Rebekka A. Klein, ed., Auf Distanz zurNatur: Philosophische und theologische Perspektiven in Hans Blumenbergs Anthropolo-gie (Wu ̈ rzburg: Ko ̈ nigshausen & Neumann, 2009).

      This reference contains the posthumous publication of Blumenberg’s anthropological writings

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  4. Sep 2022
    1. In the United States, we have col-lectively decided that we are not going to protect all families to the same degree,and this is reflected in our social policies and resulting poverty rates for thesefamilies.

      Presumably this is part of the reason for the problem mentioned above: https://hypothes.is/a/2uAmuEENEe2KentYKORSww

  5. Aug 2022
  6. Jul 2022
    1. Beatrice Webb, the famous sociologist and political activist, reported in 1926: "'Every one agrees nowadays', observe the most noted French writers on the study of history, 'that it is advisable to collect materials on separate cards or slips of paper. . . . The advantages of this artifice are obvious; the detachability of the slips enables us to group them at will in a host of different combinations; if necessary, to change their places; it is easy to bring texts of the same kind together, and to incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in the interior of the groups to which they belong.'" [6]

      footnote:

      Webb 1926, p. 363. The number of scholars who have used the index card method is legion, especially in sociology and anthropology, but also in many other subjects. Claude Lévy-Strauss learned their use from Marcel Mauss and others, Roland Barthes used them, Charles Sanders Peirce relied on them, and William Van Orman Quine wrote his lectures on them, etc.

  7. May 2022
    1. By exam-ining how movement toward equality has actually been produced, wecan learn precious lessons for our future and better understand thestruggles and mobilizations that have made this movement possible,as well as the institutional structures and legal, social, fiscal, educa-tional, and electoral systems that have allowed equality to become alasting reality.

      Understanding the history of inequality and how changes in institutional structures in legal, social, fiscal educational, and electoral systems have encouraged change toward equality, we might continue to change and modify these to ensure even greater equality.

    1. it is true that the systems theory does not emanate with given, natural or morally, absolutely predetermined external variables, instances or criteria, but assumes that all scales of the assessment of action are formulated in the society itself and at once written as an abstraction to its heaven, even although it is changing with the development of society.

      This sounds a lot like the formulation of anthropology that I've been contemplating.

  8. Apr 2022
    1. 关于 long covid。原本和其它病症勉强达成平衡的虚弱身体,在感染新冠后再度变的混乱无序;而另一方面主流医学权威不觉得「长期 covid」是一种被认可的病症……这种状况下的个人困境和感受。

    1. Humans’ tendency to“overimitate”—to reproduce even the gratuitous elements of another’s behavior—may operate on a copy now, understand later basis. After all, there might begood reasons for such steps that the novice does not yet grasp, especially sinceso many human tools and practices are “cognitively opaque”: not self-explanatory on their face. Even if there doesn’t turn out to be a functionalrationale for the actions taken, imitating the customs of one’s culture is a smartmove for a highly social species like our own.

      Is this responsible for some of the "group think" seen in the Republican party and the political right? Imitation of bad or counter-intuitive actions outweights scientifically proven better actions? Examples: anti-vaxxers and coronavirus no-masker behaviors? (Some of this may also be about or even entangled with George Lakoff's (?) tribal identity theories relating to "people like me".

      Explore this area more deeply.

      Another contributing factor for this effect may be the small-town effect as most Republican party members are in the countryside (as opposed to the larger cities which tend to be more Democratic). City dwellers are more likely to be more insular in their interpersonal relations whereas country dwellers may have more social ties to other people and groups and therefor make them more tribal in their social interrelationships. Can I find data to back up this claim?

      How does link to the thesis put forward by Joseph Henrich in The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous? Does Henrich have data about city dwellers to back up my claim above?

      What does this tension have to do with the increasing (and potentially evolutionary) propensity of humans to live in ever-increasingly larger and more dense cities versus maintaining their smaller historic numbers prior to the pre-agricultural timeperiod?

      What are the biological effects on human evolution as a result of these cultural pressures? Certainly our cultural evolution is effecting our biological evolution?

      What about the effects of communication media on our cultural and biological evolution? Memes, orality versus literacy, film, radio, television, etc.? Can we tease out these effects within the socio-politico-cultural sphere on the greater span of humanity? Can we find breaks, signs, or symptoms at the border of mass agriculture?


      total aside, though related to evolution: link hypercycles to evolution spirals?

  9. Mar 2022
    1. archaea what strata me which looked at how ancient civilizations understood

      archaeoastronomy : the study of ancient or traditional astronomies in their cultural context, utilizing archaeological and anthropological evidence.

      sometimes also spelled archeoastronomy

    1. Indigenous astronomy focuses on the empirical, scientificlayers of this knowledge, and Traditions refer to the social practices,cultural activities, and methods of transmitting and applying thisknowledge.
    2. UNESCO broadly defines Indigenous Knowledge as ‘theunderstandings, skills and philosophies developed by [Indigenous]cultures and societies with long histories of interaction with theirnatural surroundings’.
    3. Given the importance of star knowledge to the survivalof people and the thriving of culture, the role of an astronomer isgenerally considered one of the most prestigious and sacred roles inIndigenous societies.

      Star knowledge can be some of the most important social knowledge with respect to Indigenous peoples and as a result astronomers are some of the most prestigious and sacred roles in these societies.

    4. This hierarchical system ensures accuracy, rigour and competencyof information.

      Hierarchical systems of knowledge in Indigenous cultures helps to ensure rigor, competency, and most importantly accuracy of knowledge passed down from generation to generation.

    5. In Tonga, astronomers are called Tiaborau and are members ofnavigator families that hold chiefly ranks.
  10. Feb 2022
    1. Also, we shouldn’t underestimate the advantages of writing. In oralpresentations, we easily get away with unfounded claims. We candistract from argumentative gaps with confident gestures or drop acasual “you know what I mean” irrespective of whether we knowwhat we meant. In writing, these manoeuvres are a little too obvious.It is easy to check a statement like: “But that is what I said!” Themost important advantage of writing is that it helps us to confrontourselves when we do not understand something as well as wewould like to believe.

      In modern literate contexts, it is easier to establish doubletalk in oral contexts than it is in written contexts as the written is more easily reviewed for clarity and concreteness. Verbal ticks like "you know what I mean", "it's easy to see/show", and other versions of similar hand-waving arguments that indicate gaps in thinking and arguments are far easier to identify in writing than they are in speech where social pressure may cause the audience to agree without actually following the thread of the argument. Writing certainly allows for timeshiting, but it explicitly also expands time frames for grasping and understanding a full argument in a way not commonly seen in oral settings.

      Note that this may not be the case in primarily oral cultures which may take specific steps to mitigate these patterns.

      Link this to the anthropology example from Scott M. Lacy of the (Malian?) tribe that made group decisions by repeating a statement from the lowest to the highest and back again to ensure understanding and agreement.


      This difference in communication between oral and literate is one which leaders can take advantage of in leading their followers astray. An example is Donald Trump who actively eschewed written communication or even reading in general in favor of oral and highly emotional speech. This generally freed him from the need to make coherent and useful arguments.

  11. Jan 2022
    1. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/we-need-new-science-progress/594946/

      I can't help but think about comparative anthropology here. The definition of progress is an important one as what may be perceived as progress by one group of people may not be judged so by another.

    2. Graham Allison and Niall Ferguson have called for an “applied history” movement, to better draw lessons from history and apply them to real-world problems, including through the advising of political leaders.

      What about applied anthropology as well?

      Knowledge of progress doesn't mean that it will be applied properly (at all) as the result of politics. This is one of the areas where applied anthropology would be interesting. Its also where a larger group determination of progress is important.

    1. http://www.focaalblog.com/2021/12/22/chris-knight-wrong-about-almost-everything/

      Chris Knight is a senior research fellow in anthropology at University College London, where he forms part of a team researching the origins of our species in Africa. His books include Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture (1991) and Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics (2016).

      Another apparent refutation of Graeber and Wengrow.

    1. For that matter, he admits, “It’s struck me that, actually, polemic very rarely changes people’s minds about anything.” He says so as a former columnist? “A recovering former columnist, yes.” He laughs. “It’s not just that polemic doesn’t change people’s minds. It says nothing about the texture of lived experience. People are complex and nuanced, they don’t live polemically.”

      Something to keep in mind about everyday life.

    1. Nigg said it might help me grasp what’s happening if we compare our rising attention problems to our rising obesity rates. Fifty years ago there was very little obesity, but today it is endemic in the western world. This is not because we suddenly became greedy or self-indulgent. He said: “Obesity is not a medical epidemic – it’s a social epidemic. We have bad food, for example, and so people are getting fat.” The way we live changed dramatically – our food supply changed, and we built cities that are hard to walk or cycle around, and those changes in our environment led to changes in our bodies. We gained mass, en masse. Something similar, he said, might be happening with the changes in our attention.

      Obesity is a social epidemic and not a medical one. It's been caused by dramatic shifts in our surroundings in the past century. Food is cheaper and more abundant. It's also been heavily processed and designed to be fattier, saltier, and higher in carbohydrates. There is less encouragement to physically move our own bodies whether by walking, bicycling, running, etc. Our cities have become more driver focused. Our lives have become much more sedentary.

    2. I went to Portland, Oregon, to interview Prof Joel Nigg, who is one of the leading experts in the world on children’s attention problems, and he told me we need to ask if we are now developing “an attentional pathogenic culture” – an environment in which sustained and deep focus is harder for all of us.

      : attentional pathogenic culture ; an environment in which sustained and deep focus is harder for all of us

    1. Unfortunately, the ideas most economists use have been too influenced by “methodological individualism,” rather than the more scientifically supported view of us as a super-social, super-cooperative, intensely interdependent species. Often, this economics-style individualism is of the Thomas Hobbes variety, which paints humans in “a state of nature,” waging a “war of all against all.”

      This statement in the framing of biology is quite similar to the framing in anthropology and archaeology that David Graeber and David Wengrow provide in The Dawn of Everything.

      Perhaps we should be saying (especially from a political perspective): Cooperation is King!

    1. “It was kind of fun. Like even though I was green, that doesn’t mean my green tops your yellow right? Whatever I did, I just did it with a lot of energy.”

      There's been a normalization of providing exterior indicators of internal ideas and people's mental states. Examples include pins indicating pronouns, arm bracelets indicating social distancing or other social norms.

      But why aren't we taking these even farther on the anthropological spectrum? Is one society better or worse than another? One religion, one culture? Certainly not. Just like Leah McGowen-Hare's green band indicating that she's a hugger isn't any more valuable than someone else's yellow fist bump indicator. We need to do a better job of not putting people into linear relationships which only exist in our minds until we realize how horrific and dehumanizing they are.


      Cross reference:

  12. Dec 2021
    1. Historians are aware of all this. Yet the overwhelming majority stillconclude that even when European authors explicitly say they areborrowing ideas, concepts and arguments from indigenous thinkers,one should not take them seriously. It’s all just supposed to be somekind of misunderstanding, fabrication, or at best a naive projection ofpre-existing European ideas. American intellectuals, when theyappear in European accounts, are assumed to be mererepresentatives of some Western archetype of the ‘noble savage’ orsock-puppets, used as plausible alibis to an author who mightotherwise get into trouble for presenting subversive ideas (deism, forexample, or rational materialism, or unconventional views onmarriage).11

      Just as Western historians erase indigenous ideas as misunderstandings or fabrications or outright appropriation of those ideas as pre-existing ideas in European culture, is it possible that we do the same thing with orality and memory? Are medievalists seeing mnemotechniques of the time and not properly interpreting them by not seeing them in their original contexts and practices?

      The idea of talking rocks, as an example, is dismissed as lunacy, crazy, or some new-age hokum, but in reality it's at the far end of the spectrum. It's so unknowable for Western audiences that it's wholly dismissed rather than embraced, extended, and erased.

      What does the spectrum of potentially appropriated ideas look like? What causes their adoption or not, particularly in cases of otherwise cultural heterodoxy?

    2. When we simply guess as to whathumans in other times and places might be up to, we almostinvariably make guesses that are far less interesting, far less quirky– in a word, far less human than what was likely going on.

      Definitely worth keeping in mind, even for my own work. Providing an evidential structure for claims will be paramount.

      Is there a well-named cognitive bias for the human tendency to see everything as nails when one has a hammer in their hand?

    3. Women’s gambling: women in many indigenous NorthAmerican societies were inveterate gamblers; the women ofadjacent villages would often meet to play dice or a gameplayed with a bowl and plum stone, and would typically bet theirshell beads or other objects of personal adornment as thestakes. One archaeologist versed in the ethnographic literature,Warren DeBoer, estimates that many of the shells and otherexotica discovered in sites halfway across the continent had gotthere by being endlessly wagered, and lost, in inter-villagegames of this sort, over very long periods of time.36
      1. DeBoer 2001

      Warren R DeBoer. 2001. ‘Of dice and women: gambling and exchange in Native North America.’ Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 8 (3): 215–68.

      Might it be possible that these women were actually gambling information relating to their "gathering" or other cultural practices? By playing games with each other and with nearby groups of people, they would have been regularly practicing their knowledge through repetition.

      How might we provide evidence for this? Read the DeBoer reference for potential clues.

    4. The founding text of twentieth-century ethnography, BronisławMalinowski’s 1922 Argonauts of the Western Pacific, describes howin the ‘kula chain’ of the Massim Islands off Papua New Guinea, menwould undertake daring expeditions across dangerous seas inoutrigger canoes, just in order to exchange precious heirloom arm-shells and necklaces for each other (each of the most importantones has its own name, and history of former owners) – only to holdit briefly, then pass it on again to a different expedition from anotherisland. Heirloom treasures circle the island chain eternally, crossing

      hundreds of miles of ocean, arm-shells and necklaces in opposite directions. To an outsider, it seems senseless. To the men of the Massim it was the ultimate adventure, and nothing could be more important than to spread one’s name, in this fashion, to places one had never seen.

      Not to negate the underlying mechanism discussed here, but there's also a high likelihood that this "trade" was in information attached to these objects being used as mnemonic devices.

      Read further into the anthropology of these items, their names and histories.

    5. ‘Noble’ savages are, ultimately, just as boring as savageones; more to the point, neither actually exist. Helena Valero washerself adamant on this point. The Yanomami were not devils, sheinsisted, neither were they angels. They were human, like the rest ofus.

      This is an interesting starting point for discussing the ills of comparative anthropology which will tend to put one culture or society over another in some sort of linear way and an expectation of equivalence relations (in a mathematical sense).

      Humans and their societies and cultures aren't always reflexive, symmetric, or transitive. There may not be an order relation (aka simple order or linear order) on humanity. We may not have comparability, nonreflexivity, or transitivity.

      (See page 24 on Set Theory and Logic in Topology by James R. Munkres for definition of "order relation")

    6. Among the most eloquent commentaries on this wholephenomenon is to be found in a private letter written by BenjaminFranklin to a friend:When an Indian Child has been brought up among us,taught our language and habituated to our Customs, yet ifhe goes to see his relations and make one Indian Ramblewith them there is no persuading him ever to return, andthat this is not natural merely as Indians, but as men, isplain from this, that when white persons of either sexhave been taken prisoner young by the Indians, and livedawhile among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, andtreated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail withthem to stay among the English, yet in a Short time theybecome disgusted with our manner of life, and the careand pains that are necessary to support it, and take thefirst opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, fromwhence there is no reclaiming them. One instance Iremember to have heard, where the person was to bebrought home to possess a good Estate; but finding somecare necessary to keep it together, he relinquished it to ayounger brother, reserving to himself nothing but a gunand match-Coat, with which he took his way again to theWilderness.30

      Franklin, Benjamin. 1961 [1753]. Letter to Peter Collinson, 9 May 1753. In Leonard W. Labaree (ed.), The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, vol. 4, pp. 481–3.

      Is Stockholm syndrome a temporary or permanent condition? Likely that it's not permanent and that basic lifeways may win out in a switch of lifeways.

    7. When archaeologistsundertake balanced appraisals of hunter-gatherer burials from thePalaeolithic, they find high frequencies of health-related disabilities –but also surprisingly high levels of care until the time of death (andbeyond, since some of these funerals were remarkably lavish).16
      1. Formicola, Vincenzo. 2007. ‘From the Sungir children to the Romito dwarf: aspects of the Upper Palaeolithic funerary landscape.’ Current Anthropology 48: 446–53.

      It will require some investigation, but on it's face this reference to Formicola seems to be about a small number of cases and doesn't point to or back up their claim about high frequencies of societal care and support. Where is their evidence within the archaeological record.

    8. It’s almost asif we feel some need to come up with mathematical formulaejustifying the expression, already popular in the days of Rousseau,that in such societies ‘everyone was equal, because they were allequally poor.’

      Link this to

      A thousand years ago, the world was flat, economically speaking. —Chapter 1 of Economy, Society, and Public Policy https://hyp.is/-XJOwkOjEeqNeL-phEONOg/www.core-econ.org/espp/book/text/01.html

      I don't think we have to go back even this far. If I recall correctly, even 150 years ago the vast majority of the world's population were subsistence farmers. It's only been since the 20th century and the increasing spread of the industrial revolution that the situation has changed:

      Even England remained primarily an agrarian country like all tributary societies for the previous 4,000 years, with ca. 50 percent of its population employed in agriculture as late as 1759. —David Christian, Maps of Time (pp 401) quoting from Crafts, British Economic Growth, pp. 13–14. (See also Fig 13.1 Global Industrial Potential from the same, for a graphical indicator.

    9. people end up being told their needs are not important, and theirlives have no intrinsic worth. The last, we are supposed to believe, isjust the inevitable effect of inequality; and inequality, the inevitableresult of living in any large, complex, urban, technologicallysophisticated society. Presumably it will always be with us. It’s just amatter of degree.

      People being told they don't matter and don't have intrinsic worth is a hallmark of colonialism. It's also been an ethical issue in the study of anthropology for the past 150 years.

      Anthropologist Tim Ingold in Anthropology: Why It Matters touches on some of this issue of comparing one group of people with another rather than looking at and appreciating the value of each separately.

    10. Our aim in this book is to start puttingsome of the pieces of the puzzle together, in full awareness thatnobody yet has anything like a complete set.

      While this presentation will attempt to pull pieces of evidence together, the complete picture still isn't known or agreed upon. Keep this in mind while reading and treat it with at least some level of skepticism.

      What sorts of predictions would this theory make for related areas that could be used to test it? Does it make accurate new predictions of areas which can be researched and proven?

    11. Agriculture, in turn, did not mean the inception ofprivate property, nor did it mark an irreversible step towardsinequality. In fact, many of the first farming communities wererelatively free of ranks and hierarchies

      What impact might this have on Lynne Kelly's thesis about memory in early societies with an imbalance of power?

    12. ‘solitary, poor, nasty,brutish, and short’ – basically, a state of war, with everybody fightingagainst everybody else.

      While this is one of the most oft-quoted portions of Hobbes's Leviathan (1651), compare the idea to the decrease of violence in human history theorized by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.

      Was there always excessive violence that has been increasing? What happened for that first 150,000 years of human evolution before the modern era (or since the introduction of agriculture)? Was there an uptick in violence due to larger populations impinging on each other at this point and it's been decreasing since?

    1. Possibility of linking (Verweisungsmöglichkeiten). Since all papers have fixed numbers, you can add as many references to them as you may want. Central concepts can have many links which show on which other contexts we can find materials relevant for them.

      Continuing on the analogy between addresses for zettels/index cards and for people, the differing contexts for cards and ideas is similar to the multiple different publics in which people operate (home, work, school, church, etc.)

      Having these multiple publics creates a variety of cross links within various networks for people which makes their internal knowledge and relationships more valuable.

      As societies grow the number of potential interconnections grows as well. Compounding things the society doesn't grow as a homogeneous whole but smaller sub-groups appear creating new and different publics for each member of the society. This is sure to create a much larger and much more complex system. Perhaps it's part of the beneficial piece of the human limit of memory of inter-personal connections (the Dunbar number) means that instead of spending time linearly with those physically closest to us, we travel further out into other spheres and by doing so, we dramatically increase the complexity of our societies.

      Does this level of complexity change for oral societies in pre-agrarian contexts?


      What would this look like mathematically and combinatorially? How does this effect the size and complexity of the system?


      How can we connect this to Stuart Kauffman's ideas on complexity? (Picking up a single thread creates a network by itself...)

    1. Order RelationsA relation C on a set A is called an order relation (or a simple order, or a linear order)if it has the following properties:(1) (Comparability) For every x and y in A for which x = y, either xCy or yCx.(2) (Nonreflexivity) For no x in A does the relation xCx hold.(3) (Transitivity) If xCy and yCz, then xCz.Note that property (1) does not by itself exclude the possibility that for some pair ofelements x and y of A, both the relations xCy and yCx hold (since “or” means “oneor the other, or both”). But properties (2) and (3) combined do exclude this possibil-ity; for if both xCy and yCx held, transitivity would imply that xCx, contradictingnonreflexivity.EXAMPLE 7. Consider the relation on the real line consisting of all pairs (x, y) of real

      Link to idea from The Dawn of Everything about comparative anthropology.

    1. political self-consciousness sort of 00:55:29 receding as one goes further back in time there was a book published in 1946 by the Dutch archaeologist Henry Frank Ford's called befall philosophy which 00:55:42 was about the the ancient Middle East Mesopotamia and Egypt and all that sort of thing but he wasn't actually arguing that these people didn't have the capacity for philosophy he was simply 00:55:55 pointing out that they didn't have an explicit written tradition of speculative thought like that of the ancient Greeks so that when they did speculate they did it in other ways 00:56:07 through images through discourse on the nonhuman world etc etc to find the idea that there have actually ever been individuals who didn't possess any capacity for philosophical reflection

      Henri Frankfort in The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man (1946) (later retitled Before Philosophy) argued that non-literate people had philosophy and speculative thought, they just didn't have a written method of expressing it.

      Open questions: How might they have expressed it other than orally? How might one tease these ideas out of the archaeological record? Does Frankfort provide evidence?

    2. we found this extraordinary paper from 1951 I think by Goldschmidt Walter Goldschmidt which nobody's read it has 00:29:14 got a very strange title something like a contribution to ethical and philosophical sociology or something which tells you very little about its content but it's about these Californian foragers who live next door to the 00:29:27 highly aristocratic slave keeping fishermen of the northwest coast and what Goldschmidt who was a student of Alfred Kroeber I believe the great sort of Dayan of 00:29:40 California anthropology what he argues there point four point is that these Californian hunter-gatherers actually had a kind of work ethic which is remarkably similar to what Max Weber 00:29:54 classically described as the Protestant work ethic of central and northern Europe

      Walter Goldschmidt had a 1951 paper about coastal Californian foragers next to aristocratic slave keeping fishermen. These hunter-gatherers apparently had a work ethic similar to that of Max Weber's Protestant work ethic.

      Did these fishermen have totem poles (aka decorated wood


      Goldschmidt was a student of Alfred Kroeber. Would he have known or worked with Milman Parry?


      Kroeber received his PhD under Franz Boas at Columbia University in 1901, the first doctorate in anthropology awarded by Columbia.

    3. sort of classic banned tribe chief state hierarchy that 00:26:00 archeologists anthropologists still apply

      Traditional hierarchy used by many archaeologists and anthropologists:

      • band
      • tribe
      • chiefdom
      • state
    4. if they were princes there's 00:20:20 one famous example from Liguria which archeologists you know I feel just love to give names to things so they call this particular burial deeply G Bay and now if he really was prince in the 00:20:34 Machiavellian sense then presumably he would have got people to do more on his behalf than just make very elaborate headdresses out of small shells he would have had them you know for little armies

      Il Principe, a dwarf with elaborate headdress made out of small seashells.

      What if this were a mnemonic device used to encode cultural knowledge which only this person had possession of? Burying it with him would make sense as it wouldn't have the same sort of intrinsic value to his friends or relatives who would either have had their own or potentially passed them down.

      This would particularly have been the case if he was younger and hadn't had the time to have an apprentice or been able to pass the knowledge on otherwise.

      From a "royal burial" perspective, it would have been a highly valuable grave good because of the information attached to it and not because of the time and effort or beauty it possessed.

      Pursue this train of thought further...

    5. evolutionary theorists like Christopher berm whose book hierarchy in the forest he's a primatologist is quite explicit about 00:11:27 this and says well this is precisely what makes human politics different from the politics of say chimpanzees or bonobos or orangutangs is what he calls our actuarial intelligence which I 00:11:39 believe what he means by this is the fact that we can in fact imagine what another kind of society might be like

      Primatologist [[Christopher Boehm]] argues in his book Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior that humans are different from our primate ancestors because homo sapiens possess actuarial intelligence, or the ability to imagine what other kinds of society might look like.

    6. managed to get a hold of all the other essays that were submitted there's one book where you could find out and it was hotly tested hotly contested many of the arguments that you see nowadays were

      Rousseau's work on inequality was part of a contest circa 1753, which he didn't win.

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>David Wengrow</span> in Video: Graeber and Wengrow on the Myth of the Stupid Savage (<time class='dt-published'>12/19/2021 20:51:44</time>)</cite></small>

    1. They claim that recent evidence suggests how the people who built Stonehenge had abandoned the cultivation of many important crops, and reverted back to gathering for significant aspects of their diet (I think they put a lot of emphasis on hazelnuts if I remember correctly – so they were not 100% hunter-gatherers, no; but they had decided to revert back to more hunting and gathering and to scale down their commitment to agriculture. But they also claim that many scholars staunchly ignore this research/evidence. Why, are they wrong?

      Note to self: Watch out closely in this section. One of the other things happening at this time is the lifeway of moving from a mobile society to a sedentary one and this may have had dramatic influence on their orality and memory, particularly as they developed new technology for being sedentary: namely Stonehenge itself as a mnemonic library of sorts as argued by Lynne Kelly.

    2. OK, maybe the road was longer and more tortuous than the traditional narrative suggests, but didn’t all humans end up embracing agriculture, and a form of social life characterised by hierarchy and inequality with it, eventually?

      Another good question to look for clues in the text.

    3. This post is mainly about the book’s attempt to dismantle the myth of “agriculture as the source of social inequality.” The next post will be about Graeber’s and Wengrow’s startling claim that European Enlightenment can be seen, to a large extent, as the result of a conversation with Indigenous, non-western intellectuals and societies – indeed, as inspired by them.

      David Graeber and David Wengrow's book can be seen as having two broad arguments:

      1. Dismantling the myth of "agriculture as the source of social inequality"
      2. The Eurpoean Englightenment can be seen as being inspired by conversations with Indigenous, non-Western intellectuals and societies.

      Open question: Were we englightened only just a little bit, but not enough? How do we get the other part of the transmitted package?

    1. In oral societies, personal memories fade and even-tually disappear, and yet knowledge somehow remains, as does language. Con-sequently, social memory arises outside, but not independently of, individual psychic systems; it may be regarded as the recursive outcome of communica-tions that are operatively reproduced inside social systems.14

      This idea of transmission of knowledge within oral societies is worth exploring. What is the media of transmission? How does it work in comparison with literate societies? What is the overlap in the two Venn Diagrams?

  13. Nov 2021
    1. Our elders say that ceremonies are the way we “remember to remember,”

      The Western word "ceremony" is certainly not the best word for describing these traditions. It has too much baggage and hidden meaning with religious overtones. It's a close-enough word to convey some meaning to those who don't have the cultural background to understand the underlying orality and memory culture. It is one of those words that gets "lost in translation" because of the dramatic differences in culture and contextual collapse.

      Most Western-based anthropology presumes a Western idea of "religion" and impinges it upon oral cultures. I would maintain that what we would call their "religion" is really an oral-based mnemonic tradition that creates the power of their culture through knowledge. The West mistakes this for superstitious religious practices, but primarily because we can't see (or have never been shown) the larger structures behind what is going on. Our hubris and lack of respect (the evils of the scala naturae) has prevented us from listening and gaining entrance to this knowledge.

      I think that the archaeological ideas of cultish practices or ritual and religion are all more likely better viewed as oral practices of mnemonic tradition. To see this more easily compare the Western idea of the memory palace with the Australian indigenous idea of songline.

    1. https://diggingthedigital.com/abonneren-op-aantekeningen/

      I like the idea here of being able to watch over someone's shoulder quietly to see what they're working on and how they're doing it. There's some interesting anthropology hiding here.

      Have to say I'm a bit flattered that it's me that's being watched...

    1. from the river and lay down again in the rushes and kissed the grain-givingsoil.

      Odysseus staggered from the river and lay down again in the rushes and kissed the grain-giving soil.

      This reference to "grain-giving soil" reminds me of this quote:

      History celebrates the battlefields whereon we meet our death, but scorns to speak of the ploughed fields whereby we thrive; it knows the names of king's bastards, but cannot tell us the origin of wheat. That is the way of human folly.<br/>—Les Merveilles de l'Instinct Chez les Insectes: Morceaux Choisis (The Wonders of Instinct in Insects: Selected Pieces) by Jean-Henri FabreJean-Henri Fabre (Librairie Ch. Delagrave (1913), page 242)

      ref: quote

      Culturally we often see people kneeling down and kissing the ground after long travels, but we miss the prior references and images and the underlying gratitude for why these things have become commonplace.

      "Grain-giving" = "life giving" here specifically. Compare this to modern audiences see the kissing of the ground more as a psychological "homecoming" action and the link to the grain is missing.

      It's possible that the phrase grain-giving was included for orality's sake to make the meter, but I would suggest that given the value of grain within the culture the poet would have figured out how to include this in any case.

      By my count "grain-giving" as a modifier variously to farmland, soil, earth, land, ground, and corn land appears eight times in the text. All these final words have similar meanings. I wonder if Lattimore used poetic license to change the translation of these final words or if they were all slightly different in the Greek, but kept the meter?

      This is an example of a phrase which may have been given an underlying common phrasing in daily life to highlight gratitude for the life giving qualities, but also served the bard's needs for maintaining meter. Perhaps comparing with other contemporaneous texts for this will reveal an answer?

    1. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/help-me-find-world-history-textbooks

      Dan Allosso is curious to look at the history of how history is taught.

      The history of teaching history is a fascinating topic and is an interesting way for cultural anthropologists to look at how we look at ourselves as well as to reveal subtle ideas about who we want to become.

      This is particularly interesting with respect to teaching cultural identity and its relationship to nationalism.

      One could look at the history of Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War to see how the South continued its cultural split from the North (or in more subtle subsections from Colin Woodard's American Nations thesis) to see how this has played out. This could also be compared to the current culture wars taking place with the rise of nationalism within the American political right and the Southern evangelicals which has come to a fervor with the rise of Donald J. Trump.

      Other examples are the major shifts in nationalism after the "long 19th century" which resulted in World War I and World War II and Germany's national identity post WWII.

    1. Robert George has created the Academic Freedom Alliance, a group that intends to offer moral and legal support to professors who are under fire, and even to pay for their legal teams if necessary. George was inspired, he told me, by a nature program that showed how elephant packs will defend every member of the herd against a marauding lion, whereas zebras run away and let the weakest get killed off. “The trouble with us academics is we’re a bunch of zebras,” he said. “We need to become elephants.”

      There's something intriguing here with this cultural analogy of people to either elephants or zebras.

      The other side of this is also that of the accusers, who on the whole have not been believed or gaslit for centuries. How can we simultaneously be elephants for them as well?

    2. Once it was not just okay but admirable that Chua and Rubenfeld had law-school students over to their house for gatherings. That moment has passed. So, too, has the time when a student could discuss her personal problems with her professor, or when an employee could gossip with his employer. Conversations between people who have different statuses—employer-employee, professor-student—can now focus only on professional matters, or strictly neutral topics. Anything sexual, even in an academic context—for example, a conversation about the laws of rape—is now risky.

      Is it simply the stratification of power and roles that is causing these problems? Is it that some of this has changed and that communication between people of different power levels is the difficulty in these cases?

      I have noticed a movement in pedagogy spaces that puts the teacher as a participant rather than as a leader thus erasing the power structures that previously existed. This exists within Cathy Davidson's The New Education where teachers indicate that they're learning as much as their students.

    3. The censoriousness, the shunning, the ritualized apologies, the public sacrifices—these are rather typical behaviors in illiberal societies with rigid cultural codes, enforced by heavy peer pressure.

      I'd highlighted this from a pull quote earlier, but note that the full context also includes the phrase:

      enforced by heavy peer pressure.

    4. The censoriousness, the shunning, the ritualized apologies, the public sacrifices—these are typical behaviors in illiberal societies with rigid cultural codes.
    5. Nicholas Christakis, the Yale professor of medicine and sociology who was at the center of a campus and social-media storm in 2015, is also an expert on the functioning of human social groups. He reminded me that ostracism “was considered an enormous sanction in ancient times—to be cast out of your group was deadly.” It is unsurprising, he said, that people in these situations would consider suicide.
    6. Right here in America, right now, it is possible to meet people who have lost everything—jobs, money, friends, colleagues—after violating no laws, and sometimes no workplace rules either. Instead, they have broken (or are accused of having broken) social codes having to do with race, sex, personal behavior, or even acceptable humor, which may not have existed five years ago or maybe five months ago. Some have made egregious errors of judgment. Some have done nothing at all. It is not always easy to tell.
    1. Context: Sonia was watching Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: Season 3: "Episode 1" and had previously been watching a documentary One of Us about people who had left oppressive seeming Hassidic Jewish communities.

      I can't help but that that every culture could be considered a "cult" in which some percentage of people are trapped with comparison to all other cultures on Earth. Based on one's upbringing and personal compass, perhaps living and submitting to one's culture can become oppressive and may seem particularly unfair given power structures and the insidiousness of hypocrisy.

      Given this, could there logically be a utopian society in which everyone lives freely?

      Even within the United States there are smaller sub-cultures withiin which people feel trapped and which have the features of cults, but which are so large as to not be considered such. Even the space in which I freely live might be considered a cult by others who don't agree with it. It's only the vast size of the power of the group which prevents the majority who comfortably live within it from viewing it as a bad thing.

      A Democrat may view the Republican Party as a cult and vice versa, something which becomes more apparent when one polarizes these communities toward the edges rather than allowing them to drift into each other in a consensus.

      An African American may think they're stuck in a broader American cult which marginalizes them.

      A Hassidic Jew may feel they're stuck in a cult (of religious restrictions) with respect to the perceived freedoms of broader American Culture. Some may feel more comfortable within these strictures than others.


      A gender non-comforming person living in the deep South of the United States surrounded by the Southern Baptist Convention may feel they're stuck in a cult based on social norms of one culture versus what they experience personally.


      What are the roots of something being a cult? Could it be hypocrisy? A person or a broader group feeling as if they know "best" and creating a rule structure by which others are forced to follow, but from which they themselves are exempt? This also seems to be the way in which authoritarian rules arise when privileging one group above another based solely on (perceived) power.


      Another potential thing at play here may be the lack of diversity within a community. The level of cult within a society may be related to the shape of the bell curve of that society with respect to how large the center is with respect to the tails. Those who are most likely to feel they're within a "cult" (using the broader definition) are those three or more standard deviations from the center. In non-diverse communities only those within a standard deviation of the norm are likely to feel comfortable and accepted and those two deviations away will feel very uncomfortable while those who are farther away will be shunned and pushed beyond the pale.


      How can we help create more diverse and broadly accepting communities? We're all just people, aren't we? How can we design communities and governments to be accepting of even the most marginalized? In a heavily connected world, even the oddball teenager in a small community can now manage to find their own sub-community using the internet. (Even child pornographers manage to find their community online.)

      The opposite of this is at what point do we circumscribe the norms of the community? Take the idea of "Your freedom to strike me ends at my nose." Perhaps we only shun those extreme instances like murder and pornography, and other actions which take extreme advantage of others' freedoms? [This needs to be heavily expanded and contemplated...] What about the over-financialization of the economy which takes advantage of the unprivileged who don't know that system and are uncapable of the mathematics and computation to succeed. Similarly hucksters and snake oil salesmen who take advantage of their targets' weaknesses and lack of knowledge and sophistication. Or the unregulated vitamin industry taking rents from millions for their superstitions? How do we regulate these to allow "cultural freedom" or "religious freedom" without them taking mass-scale advantage of their targets? (Or are some of these acculturated examples simply inequalities institutionally built into societies and cultures as a means of extracting power and rents from the larger system by those in power?)


      Compare with Hester Prynne and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.


    1. Could the Blackfoot Wisdom that Inspired Maslow Guide Us Now? by Teju Ravilochan (contributing editors: Vidya Ravilochan and Colette Kessler) https://gatherfor.medium.com/maslow-got-it-wrong-ae45d6217a8c

      Apr 4, 2021

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>David Dylan Thomas</span> in Come and get yer social justice metaphors! (<time class='dt-published'>11/05/2021 11:26:10</time>)</cite></small>

    1. You can learn about it here, but fundamentally, there is an assumption on the part of the Siksika that rather than attaining what we would call "self-actualization" over time one is, in fact, born with it and this would seem to inform many other aspects of the culture. Childrearing, for example, is very hands-off, which would make sense if you believed your child arrived basically okay and kind of awesome so why would you fuck with that?  Furthermore, their views on wealth suggest that the whole point of attaining wealth is that so you can give it away. The one considered the wealthiest is the one who has given the most away. Which ties into why one has difficulty finding poverty in this environment because the second someone is poor, the rest of the community chips and makes them whole (instead of questioning "well do they really *deserve* to be made whole?" because, again, arrived self-actualized).

      I'll make further notes on the actual article, which I want to read.

  14. Oct 2021
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjZAdPX6ek0

      Osculatory targets or plaques were created on pages to give priests

      Most modern people don't touch or kiss their books this way and we're often taught not to touch or write in our texts. Digital screen culture is giving us a new tactile touching with our digital texts that we haven't had since the time of the manuscript.

  15. Sep 2021
    1. The state of slavery, among these wild barbarous people, as we esteem them, is much milder than in our colonies

      Given the word barbarous here, I wonder if, on the whole, cultures viewed from outside of one's own culture are more often seen for the worst of their traits rather than the best or even just the average traits?

      With limited experience and exposure, what qualifies one correspondent to stereotype an entire culture? Is the lack of alternate and likely better information reason enough for the viewing culture to completely condemn the external culture? (Assuredly not...)

    2. Africa had a kind of feudalism, like Europe based on agriculture, and withhierarchies of lords and vassals. But African feudalism did not come, as didEurope’s, out of the slave societies of Greece and Rome, which had destroyedancient tribal life. In Africa, tribal life was still powerful, and some of itsbetter features—a communal spirit, more kindness in law and punishment—still existed.

      Francis Fukuyama is still fermenting in my reading pile, but I wonder how he covers these political transitions?

      I'm curious about descriptions of the law and punishment practiced in these societies. Was there more sense of restorative justice?

    3. The Virginians needed labor, to grow corn for subsistence, to grow tobaccofor export. They had just figured out how to grow tobacco, and in 1617 theysent off the first cargo to England. Finding that, like all pleasurable drugstainted with moral disapproval, it brought a high price, the planters, despitetheir high religious talk, were not going to ask questions about something soprofitable.

      Told from this perspective and with the knowledge of the importance of the theory of First Effective Settlement, is it any wonder that America has grown up to be so heavily influenced by moral and mental depravity, over-influenced by capitalism and religion, ready to enslave others, and push vice and drugs? The founding Virginians are truly America in miniature.

      Cross reference: Theory of First Effective Settlement

      “Whenever an empty territory undergoes settlement, or an earlier population is dislodged by invaders, the specific characteristics of the first group able to effect a viable, self-perpetuating society are of crucial significance for the later social and cultural geography of the area, no matter how tiny the initial band of settlers may have been.” “Thus, in terms of lasting impact, the activities of a few hundred, or even a few score, initial colonizers can mean much more for the cultural geography of a place than the contributions of tens of thousands of new immigrants a few generations later.” — Wilbur Zelinsky, The Cultural Geography of the United States, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1973, pp. 13–14.

    1. Summary:

      "What has time done to us?"

    2. . . . the Nuer have no expression equivalent to "time" in our language, and they cannot, therefore, as we can, speak of time as though it were something actual, which passes, can be wasted, can be saved, and so forth. I do not think that they ever experience the same feeling of fighting against time or of having to co-ordinate activities with an abstract passage of time because their points of reference are mainly the activities themselves, which are generally of a leisurely character. Events follow a logical order, but they are not controlled by an abstract system, there being no autonomous points of reference to which activities have to conform with precision. Nuer are fortunate. 129 O

      129 E. Evans-Pritchard, op. cit., p. 103.

    3. ing world. What needs to be said is not that one way of life is better than the other, but that this is a place of the most far-reaching conflict; that the historical record is not a simple one of neutral and inevitable 124

      technological change, but is also one of exploitation and of resistance to exploitation; and that values stand to be lost as well as gained.

    4. ple". The Mexican mineworker had the custom of returning to his village for corn planting and harvest: His lack of initiative, inability to save, absences while celebrating too many holidays, willingness to work only three or four days a week if that paid for necessities, insatiable desire for alchohol - all were pointed out as proof of a natural inferiority. He

      In the next paragraphs, it turns out that there isn't laziness, but misaligned incentives. The lifeways of the people involved were not those of the writer who jumped to conclusions about the people who were different from him.

      In generalizations supported by another study of Mexican labour conditions, Wilbert Moore remarks: "Work is almost always task-orientated in non-industrial societies ... and ... it may be appropriate to tie wages to tasks and not directly to time in newly developing areas".

      When comparing and contrasting cultures, empathy for each and their particular incentives must be taken into account.

      This is particularly important as he's spent a dozen pages talking about how poorly the English dealt with industrialization over centuries themselves. How quickly we forget.

    5. ve. By the 1830s and 1840s it was commonly observed that the English industrial worker was marked off from his fellow Irish worker, not by a greater capacity for hard work, but by his regularity, his methodical paying-out of energy, and perhaps also by a repression, not of enjoyments, but of the capacity to relax in the old, uninhibited ways. There is no way in which we can quantify the

      This shows some nationalism and institutionalized classism. Note the general harms here of comparing cultures and societies, even in "modern" and Western culture.

    6. ties. So also is "that slothful spending the Morning in Bed": The necessity of early rising would reduce the poor to a necessity of going to Bed betime; and thereby prevent the Danger of Midnight revels. Early rising would also "introduce an exact Regularity into their Families, a wonderful Order into their Oeconomy". The catalogue is

      I wonder what effects this shift in time and industry had on causing the disappearance of the idea of first and second sleeps?

      Cross reference: https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-used-to-sleep-in-two-shifts-maybe-we-should-again

    7. ween societies at greatly differing economic levels). It is also that there has never been any single type of "the transition". The stress of the transition falls upon the whole culture: resistance to change and assent to change arise from the whole culture. And this culture includes the systems of power, property-relations, religious institu- tions, etc., inattention to which merely flattens phenomena and trivializes analysis. Above all, the transition is not to "industrialism" tout court but to industrial capitalism or (in the twentieth century) to alternative systems whose features are still indistinct. Wh

      Speaking about transitions within societies and cultures can be problematic as they are complex and intertwined between individuals, families, and larger structures and institutions. The transition to industrialization is often seen as a foregone conclusion when, in fact, it was a gradual struggle over time. Glossing over these types of transition can trivialize analysis of the complex effects at play.

    8. ect. It is not only that the highly- developed and technically-alert manufacturing industries (and the way-of-life supported by them) of France or England in the eighteenth century can only by semantic torture be described as "pre-industrial". (And such a description opens the door to endless false analogies between societies at greatly differing economic levels). It is also that

      One needs to be careful with their language in comparing different societies as it can make it easier for others to create false framing and analogies about one society being better or worse than another.

    9. . Three points may be proposed about task-orientation. First, there is a sense in which it is more humanly comprehensible than timed labour. The peasant or labourer appears to attend upon what is an observed necessity. Second, a community in which task-orientation is common appears to show least demarcation between "work" and "life". Social intercourse and labour are intermingled - the working-day lengthens or contracts according to the task - and there is no great sense of conflict between labour and "passing the time of day". Third, to men accustomed to labour timed by the clock, this attitude to labour appears to be wasteful and lacking in urgency.1
    10. als. In Madagascar time might be measured by "a rice-cooking" (about half an hour) or "the frying of a locust" (a moment).
  16. Aug 2021
    1. Some manicules terminated abruptly at the wrist, while others emerged from sleeves of varying sophistication to reveal, in turn, something of the fashions of their time. Petrarch’s flowing sleeves, for instance, gave way to delicate, lace-trimmed cuffs in later centuries, and continuing the trend, modern-day manicules often show the sober cuff of a suit-wearing businessman. Cuffs and sleeves also provided convenient containers for notes on the pointed-to material, binding a note to its target text.

      Another reference to the clothing of the time attached to manicules. What might these tell us about fashion over time? What other older fashions existed within these?

  17. Jul 2021
    1. I would rather see the scientists and the healers and the artists depicted in a heroic light.

      Why are so many villains in comic books depicted as scientists? Has this harmed the American psyche? Encouraged an anti-science temperament?

      Observation sparked, in part, to episode of Young Sheldon, Season 1 about Sheldon's eating issues.

    1. What professionals actually do to earn the large incomes that pay for their nice things is a mystery. All those hours spent sitting at a computer screen—do they contribute something to society, to the family of an electrician or a home health aide (whose contributions are obvious)?

      A solid question.

      Perhaps less mysterious when gauged against the extreme financialization of our economy since the 1970's.

      Are these people primarily propping up our classist structures to the lack of all else?

      What could be done to re-regulate things back into some semblance of balance?

      How much of the financialization is strip mining the lower classes or even middle classes of their earnings and retirements in progressively more vicious economic downturns that get bailed out by the populace?

      Would allowing companies that are "too large to fail" help right the system and push more wealth back down to the lower classes?

    1. Thus we can roughly define what we mean by the art of reading as follows: the process whereby a mind, with nothing to operate on but the symbols of the readable matter, and with no help from outside, 0 elevates itself by the power of its own operations. The mind passes from understanding less to under­standing more. The skilled operations that cause this to hap­pen are the various acts that constitute the art of reading.

      I'm not sure I agree with this perspective of not necessarily asking for outside help.

      What if the author is at fault for not communicating properly or leaving things too obscure? Is this the exception of which he speaks?

      What if the author isn't properly contextualizing all the necessary information to the reader? This can be a particular problem when writing history across large spans of both time and culture or even language.

    1. The contemporary email newsletter is not a novel form; often it amounts to a new delivery system for the same sorts of content — essays, explainers, Q&As, news roundups, advice, and lists — that have long been staples of online media. (Subscribe to enough newsletters and sort them the right way, and it’s possible to re-create something like an RSS-feed reader.)

      Email delivery apparently isn't much different than RSS. What sorts of functionality do RSS readers provide over email in terms of search, filtering, and presentation? Surely RSS is more powerful at slicing and dicing one's reader data.

      How do all these different forms of content fit into the greater set of genres in Western culture?

    1. When we devalue the full range of everyday cognition, we offer limited educational opportunities and fail to make fresh and meaningful instructional connections among disparate kinds of skill and knowledge. If we think that whole categories of people—identified by class or occupation—are not that bright, then we reinforce social separations and cripple our ability to talk across cultural divides.
  18. Jun 2021
    1. when i was in high school just a high school in chester pennsylvania there was like english class there was also like a card game that was happening in the back of the room

      when i was in high school just a high school in chester pennsylvania there was like english class there was also like a card game that was happening in the back of the room and no one like asked those students what they were teaching in that card game because we were like supposed to be doing worksheets in english class but that's also an intellectual practice so like ...—Christopher R. Rogers (autogenerated transcript)

      I love the idea of this parable of a card game in an English class.

      Moral: Don't marginalize the card game in preference for the supposed main topic as it has its own power and value, and may in fact be more valuable to the participants and their lives than the "main conversation". Value the thing for itself and not for some perceived other thing. View it in a positive framing rather than in a negative one. Simultaneously, don't attempt to subvert it either to reframe or re-capture the topic. Let it be what it is.

    2. liberatory struggle but also there are traditions that are um indigenous to like black um to the like to the black community to black explorer community

      yes marxism is a incredibly important tool um for thinking you know uh for you know liberatory struggle but also there are traditions that are um indigenous to like black um to the like to the black community to black diaspora community —Christopher R. Rogers (auto-generated transcript)

      Marxism can be a lens (tool) through which to look at the black community, but the black community has also changed Marxism.

      How can we connect this to the McLuhan-esque idea of us shaping out tools and then them reshaping us?

      cf. https://hypothes.is/a/6Znx6MiMEeu3ljcVBsKNOw

      "We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us." — John M. Culkin cf.

    3. i feel like if i if i use the word new somewhere i want to go through and like no no no no

      i feel like if i if i use the word new somewhere i want to go through and like no no no no new to who and put the question mark there just to remember that there are those um models that come before us right and there are those traditions that come before us that are even in some ways operating when we don't even you know notice or recognize them

      Asking the question "new to who?" can be important whenever using the word new can be very revealing. We need to recall and respect that everyone comes from a different context.

    1. “Anthropologists of our own culture.”

      Is it anthro's best-kept secret that we always work on our own cultural contexts?

    1. If so many people who say they have committed their life to Christ live a life that is in many areas so antithetical to the ways of Christ, what are we to make of that?

      Does Christianity still have a space in modern life if it can't be effective in the simplest ways?

      Is it christianity+capitalism and conspicuous consumption that doesn't work?

      What is causing this institutional failure?

    2. One of the more incisive comments about the gap we often see between faith and works sticks with me today: that for too many people of the Christian faith, Jesus is a “hood ornament.”

      Jesus is a "hood ornament."

      searing...

    3. I have heard from pastors in different parts of America who describe a “generational catastrophe” that is unfolding because of how disillusioned young people, including many young Christians, are by what they have seen.

      Is it possible that this religion has been forcing itself on it's youth and thus chasing them away, thereby eroding support?

      When will this "apocalypse" happen? What will it look like? What will be the cultural and political fall out look like?

  19. May 2021
    1. In all his writings Parry argued for a historical approach to literature, condemning the classi cists who re‐created the past in the image of the present. We must “re construct the community of thought through which the poet made him self understood to those who heard him sing.”

      This is reminiscent of an admonishment to recall that we shouldn't act as if (famous) writers never lived nor as writers never died.

    2. If this is so, we literati must surrender certain cherished assumptions: that litera ture is inextricably associated with reading and writing, that lack of literacy means lack of culture.

      Lack of literacy definitely does not mean lack of culture.

      Reminder to self: I've got a strong suspicion that the Hebrew bible was transmitted orally for generations prior to being written down in a similar manner. I need to collect some additional evidence to build this case. The arc of the covenant is a first potential piece of evidence.

  20. Apr 2021
    1. What we were doing, and what anthropology was doing, essentially, since the late 19th century, was sort of salvaging work, salvaging the cultures that were disappearing.
    1. Article synopsis of paper that looks at hypoxia with relation to artistic asphyxia in pre-historic cave art. The use of torches, lamps, or fire in small enclosed spaces may have influenced early cave art.

    2. He adds that the ethnographic record shows that with rare exceptions, rock art is indeed associated with ritual and beliefs. “The concept of ‘art for art’s sake’ is a relatively recent western attitude,” he says – and if anything, the propensity for drawing in the dark seems to support that assumption.

      Here again, the sentence reads well if we replace rituals and beliefs with mnemonic practice.

    3. Whitley says: “The conceptual and practical division between the supernatural/sacred/religious world  and the mundane realm is a largely modern and western conceit that has become especially prominent since the Protestant Reformation. Many traditional peoples saw/see no separation between daily versus religious life; many don’t even recognize that they have a ‘religion’ per se. I then concur with the notion that many prehistoric peoples felt a strong connection to the supernatural and the cosmos.”

      This fits into a mnemonic perspective of life as being something greater than religion or ancestor worship. The ancestor worship part comes in because they're a thing to attach our memories of needed culture and knowledge to. They're also important because they're the ones that discovered the knowledge and helped to hand it down.

    4. “In western North America alone, for example, rock art was exclusively made by shamans among some tribes. But in others it might also be made by puberty initiates – boys and/or girls – and in others include adults experiencing life crises too (e.g., the death of a spouse),” Whitley says. But throughout North America, it seems artistic creation was associated with visionary experiences and the perceived receipt of supernatural power.

      Shamanic instances could support knowledge preservation and communication to following generations.

    5. “We also commonly see repetitions of motifs – an iconographic system – in corpora of rock art, again indicative of communicative rather than purely decorative intent,” Whitley says. “By this I don’t imply that rock art has no aesthetic component. In many cases it clearly does. But that doesn’t seem to have been its goal or main justification.”

      The fact that it was just for "art's sake" is a motivating clue for supporting use of these as mnemonics.

    6. Arguing in favor of cosmic connectivity, à la Whitley: why would anybody create art in places that are very difficult to see and dangerous to enter, if the goal is purely aesthetic or decorative?

      If these were used for societal memory purposes, the privacy of the caves as well as the auditory and even halucinatory effects could have helped as well.

      What sorts of other things would we expect to see in such instances? Definitely worth looking at Lynne Kelly's ten criteria in these situations, though some of them are so old as to be unlikely to have as much supporting evidence.

    7. Figurative cave art is the fief of Homo sapiens, going by present evidence (there is no evidence of figurative Neanderthal art). The earliest-known painting is of a warty pig; it was found just this year in a very inaccessible cavesite in Indonesia and is about 45,500 years old.

      Dating of the oldest cave art to about 45,500 years ago.

    8. Whitley notes that cave sites were visited by people other than the artists, as attested by the occasional preservation of footprints, including of children. The implication is that they too would have experienced an altered state of consciousness, a kind of group trance. “This is a novel and important implication of this research,” Whitley says.

      If the groups were large enough and stayed for long enough, they could have induced hallucinations just based on many people depleting oxygen in small enclosed spaces.

    1. There are surprisingly few digital editions of commonplace books, especially given how the genre lends itself to digitization. What we've made isn't perfect but we hope it helps others think through/with these types of books. More about that here: digitalbookhistory.com/colletscommonp…

      I've seen some people building digital commonplace books in real time, but I'm also curious to see more academics doing it and seeing what tools and platforms they're using to do it.

      Given the prevalence for these in text, I'd be particularly curious to see them being done as .txt or .md files and then imported into platforms like Obsidian, Roam Research, Org Mode, TiddlyWiki, et al for cross linking and backlinking.

      I've seen some evidence of people doing some of this with copies of the bible, but yet to see anyone digitize and cross link old notebooks or commonplace books.

    1. We cannot transfer beliefs or customs from one culture to another, but we can transfer generalisations from multiple cultures about how humans maintain critical knowledge when they are dependent on memory.

      Almost every anthropology source I've read in the last six months has highlighted some version of this.

      If our short history of experience with archaeology is any indicator, it can be very dangerous (and painfully wrong) for us to transfer our customs and beliefs onto other cultures and civilizations which don't have our culture or knowledge base.

      However we can more easily transfer broad generalizations from and across various cultures when we discuss how humans used memory and orality (within their cultures) particularly when they would never have interacted with each other.

  21. Feb 2021
    1. Essentially, we study culture at an "on the ground" level – looking for the individual stories, rich details, particular nuances, and thick description you can only find by spending extended time with people in their daily lives.

      I'm reading this and can't help but think it's sort of what Jack Jamieson did in writing his recent thesis Independent Together: Building and Maintaining Values in a Distributed Web Infrastructure.

      It's definitely the sort of thing that Maggie Appleton may appreciate.

  22. Jan 2021
    1. Nabonidus, last native king of Babylon (reigned 555–539 bc), took a keen inter-est in antiquities. In one important temple he dug down and discovered the foundation stone which had been laid some 2200 years before. He housed many of his finds in a kind of museum at Babylon.

      example of an early anthropologist

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  23. Dec 2020
    1. I like the idea of a word for the year and have seen others like Mark Aaron Davis do this in the past.

      It's apparently a broader thing as I've seen many people posting about receiving their Theme System Journals from @cortexpodcast on Twitter over the past week. They've cleverly set aside the letters ME in some of their marketing like so: THEME System Journal

      I'm not sure if I'll choose a theme in this way specifically, but I think I'm going to choose a theme to help direct some of my reading though. I'm going to try to focus more on the idea of anthropology when I make reading choices.

    1. Anthropology is thus a broad discipline – so broad that it is generally broken down into three smaller disciplines: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology.

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  24. Oct 2020
    1. Perspectives:An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology2nd Edition The first peer-reviewed open access textbook for cultural anthropology courses. Produced by the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges and available free of charge for use in any setting.
    1. In 1965, he published the highly influential work Theories of Primitive Religion, arguing against the existing theories of what at the time were called "primitive" religious practices. Arguing along the lines of his theoretical work of the 1950s, he claimed that anthropologists rarely succeeded in entering the minds of the people they studied, and so ascribed to them motivations which more closely matched themselves and their own culture, not the one they were studying. He also argued that believers and non-believers approached the study of religion in vastly different ways, with non-believers being quicker to come up with biological, sociological, or psychological theories to explain religion as an illusion, and believers being more likely to come up with theories explaining religion as a method of conceptualizing and relating to reality.
    1. According to a recent Dutch study, that point of view still holds true today: Protestants and citizens of predominately Protestant countries tend to conflate labor with personal satisfaction more than those of other religious traditions.

      How does this juxtapose with the ideas of indigenous scocieties in James Suzman's article The 300,000-year case for the 15-hour week (Financial Times, 2020-08-27)