Thoughts on Ancient Males / Life in the flesh

In the ancient world a common greeting among travelers was, “Which gods do you worship?” Deities were compared, traded, and adopted in recognition that strangers had something of value to offer. Along with the accretion of ancestor gods into extensive pantheons, an exchange of earthly ideas and useful articles took place. Pantheons were insurance providers who covered women, children, tradesman, sailors and warriors – no matter how dangerous or risky their occupations; no matter how lowly. Multiple gods meant that everyone had a sympathetic listener, one that might increase a person’s chances for a favorable outcome to life’s ventures, large and small. 

404px-Athena_owl_Met_09_221_43 27784514 Brygos_Painter_lekythos_Athena_holding_spear_MET

A curious female type: The goddess Athena is incomprehensible to modern humans. Here she models the Trojan horse for the Greeks.

A curious female: The goddess Athena is incomprehensible to modern humans; and yet for the ancient Greeks, she was the cornerstone of civilization. Here she models the Trojan horse for the “clever” takedown of Troy.

 

 

 

 In The Iliad

…the gods are manifestations of physical states; the rush of adrenalin, sexual arousal, and rage. For the Homeric male, these are the gods that must be obeyed. There is no power by which a man can override the impulse-to-action of these god forces. The gifts of the notorious killer Achilles originate in the divine sphere, but he is human like his comrades; consumed by self pity and emotionally erratic.

In Ancient Greek culture, consequences accompanied individual gifts. Achilles must choose an average life (adulthood) and obscurity, or death at Troy and an immortal name. Achilles sulks like a boy, but we know that he will submit to his fate, because fate is the body, and no matter how extraordinary that body is, the body must die. Immortality for Homeric Greeks did not mean supernatural avoidance of death. To live forever meant that one’s name and deeds were preserved by the attention and skill of the poet. In Ancient Greek culture it was the artist who had the power to confer immortality.

There was no apology for violence in Homeric time. The work of men was grim adventure. Raids on neighbors and distant places for slave women, for horses and gold, for anything of value, was a man’s occupation. The Iliad is packed with unrelenting gore, and yet we continue to this day to be mesmerized by men who hack each other to death. Mundane questions arise: were these Bronze Age individuals afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder? How could women and children, as well as warriors not be traumatized by a life of episodic brutality? If they were severely damaged mentally and emotionally, how did they create a legacy of poetry, art, science and philosophy? Did these human beings inhabit a mind space that deflected trauma as if it were a rain shower? Was their literal perception of reality a type of protection?

imagesD8PA00S5riace bronze

Women will forever be drawn to the essential physicality of Homeric man. He is the original sexual male; the man whose qualities can be witnessed in the flesh. His body was a true product of nature and habit. Disfiguring scars proved his value in battle. Robust genes may have been his only participation in fatherhood.

Time and culture have produced another type of man, a supernatural creature with no marked talent, one who can offer general, but not specific, loyalty. Domestic man, propertied man, unbearably dull man, emotionally-retarded man. In his company a woman shrivels to her aptitude for patience and endurance, for heating dinner in the microwave and folding laundry. Her fate is a life of starvation.

tumblr_m5pxjtzoMB1r0ttw3o1_1280grey

Noble Penelope reduced to a neurotypical nag.

Advertisements

Sunday Culture / Art is Smart “The Smile” was forbidden

Social rules are so much fun: 

pdr-logo

The Serious and the Smirk: The Smile in Portraiture

Antonello da Messina Portrait of a Man Oil on panel, 12-14 x 9-5/8 in (31x 24.5 cm) Museo della Fondazione Culturale Mandralisca, Cefalu (Palermo)

Antonello da Messina’s Portrait of a Man (ca.1475)

Why do we so seldom see people smiling in painted portraits? Nicholas Jeeves explores the history of the smile through the ages of portraiture, from Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Alexander Gardner’s photographs of Abraham Lincoln.

Smiling also has a large number of discrete cultural and historical significances, few of them in line with our modern perceptions of it being a physical signal of warmth, enjoyment, or indeed of happiness. (So much for the contention in American psychology that “normality” is an absolutist cross-culture scientific “truth”.)  

By the 17th century in Europe it was a well-established fact that the only people who smiled broadly, in life and in art, were the poor, the lewd, the drunk, the innocent, and the entertainment – some of whom we’ll visit later. Showing the teeth was for the upper classes a more-or-less formal breach of etiquette. St. Jean-Baptiste De La Salle, in The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility of 1703, wrote:

There are some people who raise their upper lip so high… that their teeth are almost entirely visible. This is entirely contradictory to decorum, which forbids you to allow your teeth to be uncovered, since nature gave us lips to conceal them.

Thus the critical point: should a painter have persuaded his sitter to smile, and chosen to paint it, it would immediately radicalise the portrait, precisely because it was so unusual and so undesirable. Suddenly the picture would be ‘about’ the open smile, and this is almost never what an artist, or a paying subject, wanted.

Continued: http://publicdomainreview.org Wonderful Site!!

Speaking of teeth: The American “trend” is to display an impressively aggressive mouthful of fake teeth – a social “weapon” that one can purchase, just like a gun.

U.S. Culture: Idealized women are those with highly neotenic child faces, but with aggressive predatory chompers….What does this mean???? 

 

Saturday Quotes / Lewis Mumford

“Certainly it is not in extensive cosmonautic explorations of outer space, but by more intensive cultivation of the historic inner spaces of the human mind, that we shall recover the human heritage. In a sense, all my major books, starting with Technics and Civilization, the first volume in The Renewal of Life series, have been attempts to understand the repeated miscarriages of mind that have limited the highest achievements of every historic civilization. My maturest interpretation of the archaeological and historic evidence will be found in three successive books: The City in History, 1960, Technics and Human Development, 1967, and The Pentagon of Power, 1970.”

In Mumford, Lewis. 1972. “Two Views of Technology and Man. “ Technology, Power, and Social Change, Charles Thrall and Jerold Starr, eds. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

History as Literature / Lewis Mumford, The City…

THE CITY IN HISTORY

Lewis Mumford / Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1961

“Mid the wanderings of Paleolithic man, the dead were the first to have a permanent dwelling: a cavern, a mound marked by a cairn, a collective barrow.”

“The city of the dead antedates the city of the living. In one sense indeed, the city of the dead is the forerunner, almost the core, of every city. Urban life spans the historic space between the earliest burial ground for dawn man and the final cemetery, the necropolis, in which one civilization after another, has met its end.”

______________________________

I’ve been sorting piles of books to find those that I can dispense with, at the same time   reacquainting myself with those to which I return for inspiration and reference, and vitally, responsible for a handful of ideas that set me off on a journey many years ago toward understanding human behavior, which for this Asperger, is/was a critical topic. It is my hypothesis that Asperger types have a hyposocial, visually-based brain organization that “resembles” that of pre-agricultural Wild Homo sapiens.

The City in History, by Lewis Mumford, is one of those books. I have never read all 576 pages of its exhaustive details; the quote at top occurs near the beginning, and it struck me immediately with its importance to modern human destiny; not predestined destiny, but the path of human civilization as it has played out over the previous 10-15,000 years of humans becoming domesticated humans, a distinction that has become more obvious to me as I have explored this “thing” called Asperger’s.

Modern social destiny, and the “type” Homo sapiens sapiens who created it, continues to be further defined by adaptation to hypersocial modern environments.  This social destiny was not a collective direction decided upon by “mankind” but the result of individuals pursuing survival. Climatic change and other natural geologic processes forced the dependence on agriculture and a sedentary life; the “idea” of controlling nature must have seemed to be a great and victorious reality at the time, one which could only be “good”. This quest for dominance over nature and its contents, remains the central self-important and disastrous goal for modern techno-social humans, but from this one step into domestication 10-15,000 years ago, a global environmental tragedy has followed.

Mumford’s book is filled with the grandiose “narrative” that archaeologists and anthropologists envy – frustrated novelists that they are. Historians are free to do this;  history has always been a scheme of cultural focus, of mythology with few facts, or a deluge of facts, added to “support” the myth. Our mistake is in thinking that mythology is “false” and has no value, and that history must be “scientific” – which it is not. It is literature that serves to remind us of the hundreds of millions of lives that have been lived, and great writers like Mumford remind us of the delusional belief that we are a supreme and intelligent species that has fulfilled a supernatural evolutionary destiny, but instead, our behavior shows us to be one more repetition of the necropolis stage of civilization.

Cold Gray Day Music / American Roots – Mavis Staples

Unable to find full album on youtube; here is an unbelievable track by Mavis Staples

Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster, released by American Roots Publishing in 2004. The album features many artists performing imaginative renditions of Stephen Foster’s classics.

 

Upper Paleo “Cave Artists” more accurate than Da Vinci

Cavemen Were Better at Depicting Quadruped Walking than Modern Artists: Erroneous Walking Illustrations in the Fine Arts from Prehistory to Today

December 5, 2012 / https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0049786

Abstract

The experts of animal locomotion well know the characteristics of quadruped walking since the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge in the 1880s. Most of the quadrupeds advance their legs in the same lateral sequence when walking, and only the timing of their supporting feet differ more or less. How did this scientific knowledge influence the correctness of quadruped walking depictions in the fine arts? Did the proportion of erroneous quadruped walking illustrations relative to their total number (i.e. error rate) decrease after Muybridge? How correctly have cavemen (upper palaeolithic Homo sapiens) illustrated the walking of their quadruped prey in prehistoric times? The aim of this work is to answer these questions. We have analyzed 1000 prehistoric and modern artistic quadruped walking depictions and determined whether they are correct or not in respect of the limb attitudes presented, assuming that the other aspects of depictions used to determine the animals gait are illustrated correctly. The error rate of modern pre-Muybridgean quadruped walking illustrations was 83.5%, much more than the error rate of 73.3% of mere chance. It decreased to 57.9% after 1887, that is in the post-Muybridgean period. Most surprisingly, the prehistoric quadruped walking depictions had the lowest error rate of 46.2%. All these differences were statistically significant. Thus, cavemen were more keenly aware of the slower motion of their prey animals and illustrated quadruped walking more precisely than later artists.

Figure 4. An erroneous modern, pre-Muybridgean horse drawing of Leonardo da Vinci (http://www.davincisketches.com).
(A, B) The erroneous horse drawing fits into the cell Eh of the walking matrix. (A) Picture of the graphic art. (B) Schematic drawing of the horse. (C, D) Two possible corrections of the horse: C keeps the postures of the hind legs and corrects the attitudes of the fore legs, thus falls into the cell Gh of the walking matrix. D, keeping the postures of the fore legs and correcting the attitudes of the hind legs, belongs to the cell Ee of the walking matrix.
Full article:  

Favorite Photos of Favorite Places / Deadly Waters

Strange desert streams carry as much mud and sand as water; water that is tinted by  the many colors of alkali earth and brief blooms of algae and bacteria. Sand bars are re-cut, reshaped, eroded, with sand and mud laid down again, producing fantastic graphic patterns.

Overlap in Prey / Neanderthal, Hyena

_45464284_neander_sites466x268
Comparison of Neanderthal and Hyena as “top predators”.

Isotopic evidence for diet and subsistence pattern of the Saint-Césaire I Neanderthal: review and use of a multi-source mixing model.

Author information

  • 1Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR 5554, Université Montpellier 2, Place E. Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier cedex 05, France. bocheren@isem.univ-montp2.fr

Abstract

The carbon and nitrogen isotopic abundances of the collagen extracted from the Saint-Césaire I Neanderthal have been used to infer the dietary behaviour of this specimen. A review of previously published Neanderthal collagen isotopic signatures with the addition of 3 new collagen isotopic signatures from specimens from Les Pradelles allows us to compare the dietary habits of 5 Neanderthal specimens from OIS 3 and one specimen from OIS 5c.

This comparison points to a trophic position as top predator in an open environment, with little variation through time and space. In addition, a comparison of the Saint-Césaire I Neanderthal with contemporaneous hyaenas has been performed using a multi-source mixing model, modified from Phillips and Gregg (2003, Oecologia 127, 171). It appears that the isotopic differences between the Neanderthal specimen and hyaenas can be accounted for by much lower amounts of reindeer and much higher amounts of woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth in the dietary input of the Neanderthal specimen than in that of hyaenas, with relatively similar contributions of bovinae, large deer and horse for both predators, a conclusion consistent with the zooarchaeological data. The high proportion of very large herbivores, such as woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth, in Neanderthal’s diet compare to that of the scavenging hyaenas suggests that Neanderthals could not acquire these prey through scavenging. They probably had to hunt for proboscideans and rhinoceros. Such a prey selection could result from a long lasting dietary tradition in Europe.

PMID:
15869783

_________________________________________________________________________________________

(Below: Not the Saint-Cesaire 1 specimen) “Mystery” Neanderthal species allows artists to speculate on the “reality” of multiple human types. There is no satisfactory evidence of blue eyes in Neanderthal.

neanderthal female reconstruction, viktor deak

Neanderthal female reconstruction, Viktor Deak

reconstruction of the La Chapelle aux Saints Neanderthal, by Fabio Fogliazza

reconstruction of the La Chapelle aux Saints Neanderthal, by Fabio Fogliazza 2

reconstruction of the La Chapelle aux Saints Neanderthal, by Fabio Fogliazza 2

Infant Synesthesia / A Developmental Stage

No, synesthesia is not a symptom of disorder, but it is a developmental phenomenon. In fact, several researchers have shown that synesthetes can perform better on certain tests of memory and intelligence. Synesthetes as a group are not mentally ill. They test negative on scales that check for schizophrenia, psychosis, delusions, and other disorders.

Synesthesia Project | FAQ – Boston University

________________________________________________________________

What if some symptoms “assigned” by psychologists to Asperger’s Disorder and autism are merely manifestations of synesthesia?

“A friend of mine recently wrote, ‘My daughter just explained to me that she is a picky eater because foods (and other things) taste like colors and sometimes she doesn’t want to eat that color. Is this a form of synesthesia?’ Yes, it is.” – Karen Wang

We see in this graphic how synesthesia is labeled a “defect” that is “eradicated” by normal development (literally “pruned out”). People who retain types of integrated sensory experience are often artists, musicians, and other sensory innovators (like chefs, interior designers, architects, writers and other artists) So, those who characterize “synthesia” as a developmental defect are labeling those individuals who greatly enrich millions of human lives as “defectives”. – Psychology pathologizes the most admired and treasured creative human behavior.

No touching allowed! Once “sensory” categories have been labeled and isolated to locations in the brain, no “talking to” each other is allowed. The fact that this is a totally “unreal” scheme is ignored. Without smell, there IS NO taste…

________________________________________________________________

Infants Possess Intermingled Senses

Babies are born with their senses linked in synesthesia

originally published as “Infant Kandinskys”

What if every visit to the museum was the equivalent of spending time at the philharmonic? For painter Wassily Kandinsky, that was the experience of painting: colors triggered sounds. Now a study from the University of California, San Diego, suggests that we are all born synesthetes like Kandinsky, with senses so joined that stimulating one reliably stimulates another.

The work, published in the August issue of Psychological Science, has become the first experimental confir­mation of the infant-synesthesia hy­pothesis—which has existed, unproved, for almost 20 years.

Researchers presented infantsand adults with images of repeating shapes (either circles or triangles) on a split-color background: one side was red or blue, and the other side was yellow or green. If the infants had shape-color asso­ciations, the scientists hypoth­esized, the shapes would affect their color preferences. For in­stance, some infants might look significantly longer at a green back­ground with circles than at the same green background with triangles. Absent synesthesia, no such dif­ference would be visible.

The study confirmed this hunch. Infants who were two and three months old showed significant shape-color associations. By eight months the preference was no longer pronounced, and in adults it was gone altogether.

The more important implications of this work may lie beyond synesthesia, says lead author Katie Wagner, a psychologist at U.C.S.D. The finding provides insight into how babies learn about the world more generally. “In­fants may perceive the world in a way that’s fundamentally different from adults,” Wagner says. As we age, she adds, we narrow our focus, perhaps gaining an edge in cognitive speed as the sensory symphony quiets down. (Sensory “thinking” is replaced by social-verbal thinking)

(Note: The switch to word-concept language dominance means that modern social humans LOOSE the appreciation of “connectedness” in the environment – connectedness becomes limited to human-human social “reality” The practice of chopping up of reality into isolated categories (word concepts) diminishes detail and erases the connections that link detail into patterns. Hyper-social thinking is a “diminished” state of perception characteristic of neurotypicals)

This article was originally published with the title “Infant Kandinskys”
________________________________________________________

GREAT WEBSITE!!!

The Brain from Top to Bottom

thebrain.mcgill.ca/

McGill University
Explore topics such as emotion, language, and the senses at five levels of organization (from molecular to social) and three levels of explanation (from beginner … advanced)
%d bloggers like this: