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Stoneprint introduction

Popular anthropology plays ‘broken telephone’

Popular anthropology in general follows the conscious and material paradigm of culture, particularly diffusion. Authors and readers assume the transfer of culture from ‘developed’ peoples to ‘savages’, as concluded by early schools of anthropology.

De Santillana and Von Deschend (1969) were among many scientists who saw a problem in culture transfer: “Coincidence of details in cumulative thought, have led to the conclusion that it all had its origin in the Near East. It is evident that this indicates a diffusion of ideas to an extent hardly countenanced by current anthropology.”

However most popular authors see no problem with diffusion. Even the two professors who criticised correspondence theories, presented myth as degraded science, or ‘broken telephone’ diffusion. They imply that better terminology, records, and transmission, would have delivered ancient Icelandic astronomy intact to the rest of the world.

Of artefacts and buildings, De Santillana and Von Deschend wrote: “Original themes could flash out again, preserved almost intact, in the later thought of the Pythagoreans and of Plato… tantalising fragments of a lost whole.” Their premise is that a traumatic astronomical event or episode was recorded, mythologised, and gradually lost or scrambled. Thus culture is supposedly a sum of fragments. TS Eliot evokes the popular view of culture in his famous line: “These rags have I shored against my ruin.”

Archaeologists also find the illustrations of myth in art to be “apparently fragmentary”. Spiritual elements in art are understood as hallucinations that are “construed in trance”, recalled, and “no doubt formalised as they were painted.” (Lewis-Williams and Pearce 2012). These fragments are the playground of popular science. Examples of the supposedly ‘lost whole’ are rare.
The range of views in popular anthropology could be summarised as a list of hypotheses on where culture comes from. Some views gain dominance in turn, each imposing its paradigm on science or culture, or both. Nature, gods, heroes, ancestors, evolution, technology, Phoenicians, subconscious, secret societies, aliens, mutants, astronomy, drugs, trance, or a super race? Some of these could be combined, some not……. [order the book Stoneprint, at $30 plus postage, from Four Equators Media, via edmondfurter at gmail dot com using Paypal]……..

Categories
Stoneprint introduction

Chemistry layers reveal biology, as typology reveals culture

Bio-chemistry is a structural science, now becoming a technology, reaching into the machinery of nature to switch mutations on or off. Our customary husbandry only used to mimic environmental factors to prompt natural mutation.
Yet we have always been capable of divining the structure of invisible aspects of nature. Some prodigies have seen visions of a double helix (as in some Jiroft carvings) millennia before Francis Crick and James Watson deducted a ball-and-stick model of the double helix of DNA. However it requires a high population density, specialization, and specialized equipment to turn visions into theory, and tests, and results, applications, technology, production, sales, and profit. Without all these enablers, new knowledge would gain little currency, and remain ‘secret’. Most people, including scientists, see the maturity cycle of material culture as ‘evolution’ in cognitive ability or consciousness, which it is not. Building methods have changed since Gobekli Tepe, about BC 8000, but our bodies, minds, behaviour, and societies have not ‘evolved’ in the intervening 10 000 years. We intuitively use abstract concepts in many media, such as building, art, language, and ritual. Nature does the same, but her ‘abstractions’ are combinations of particles and forces……..

The mindprint and stoneprint model of archetypal characters as social functions, with their sequential, spatial and polar relationships (after Furter 2014, 2019). Nature and culture projects archetypal structure around an axial centre, with some features analogous to cosmology. However the universe, and thus cosmology, also expresses archetypal structure.

 

 

Periodic table of elements (after Peyroux, with type labels added by E Furter). Many chemists chart the elements as a spiral. Rigorous natural structure is now demonstrated in cultural media, implying that perception and expression is innate, allowing thin layers of optionality and styling.

[order the book Stoneprint at $30 plus postage from Four Equators Media, via edmondfurter at gmail dot com]