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sounds like the piraha people have little need for recursion, they actually are more reality-based than the investigators!

is it possible our western rational-analytic approach is a blunt tool, created more to make denial easier, than to seek 'objective' answers?

maybe the hidden premise we operate from, is that to survive in the complex, cognitively incoherent reality we have supported, we need to create virtual constructs that purportedly help us to explain a fundamentally inexplicable universe?

iow, perhaps the piraha are creating and reflecting their reality more honestly than we do, and possibly they even wonder what we fear so much, that we feel the need for linguistic universals to be so vital, and so traumatic when revealed for what it is, another illusion we ascribe magical powers to, just another....myth?

i bet these piraha have a lot less mental problems than we do!  sounds like they have more time to 'waste' on idle pursuits like chatting and laughing till the wee hours also...

the students are studying the teachers, wouldn't it be fascinating to hear their own private opinions on the motivations of the researchers?

no software, no crash!

great stuff kc....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jul 8th, 2007 at 05:21:54 AM EST
I love it... thinking along the same lines
Yes I do nto see the piranahas needing or udnerstanding a pshychologists in aprticular.

And i would love to hear them talk about it... there is also a subhisotry int he article about how a lot of times they jsut invent new things to keep the researcher happy... !!!!!

I do think they seem to create a reality more honestly than we do.. that stroke me when I first learned the histories that everett explined... not the raw data of the language (interesting as it is).. but living with them seems to give this sensation.

But the msot interesting part for me is about the virtual reality. we create this reality with language too.. but language coudl be completely cultural.. it would be some kind of self-sustained universe... but ont he other hand.. they have developed a virtual world completelya ttached to the gorund.. while we did not...

And on the other hand brain plasticity being enormous still keeps some basic features that I like to see.. they still like movies.. presencial.. but movies :)

Love the comment melo.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jul 8th, 2007 at 07:43:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
not wanting to go all 'noble savage' on you, but there may have been an element of choice in this rendition of reality without projection or conditioning, without 'ifs' and 'maybes'.

certainly it would seem like a mental amputation of sorts, to give up our beautiful power to imagine vertical mental architecture, to conjure concepts, to stroke and stimulate our intellects into ever more interesting and acrobatic contortions, but at the end of the day, perhaps it distracts us from reality as much as enrich it.

certainly anthropological research has become less culturally insensitive and supremacist since mead's day, but i still feel compelled to point out indigenous peoples' lifeskills are usually much more ecologically appropriate than the first world's, and they usually respect the earth as a living organism, on whose mercy and grace they humbly depend.

movies are a good way to open their cultural windows, as they can grok without having to immediately react, which might be difficult with regard to pride and dignity, quite difficult to maintain in the face of a culture so obviously tech-superior.

i am very grateful for the insights i get from your sharing, kc, your comments often bring a fascinating (and funny) depth to some of the politico-sociological-economic discussions here at ET.

and your spelling is truly original!

i see a picture of you aflame with an idea and leaping across the room to batter your keyboard into instant communication compliance, damn the torpedoes...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jul 8th, 2007 at 04:01:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hwa tar you takl ing abuto? kcriet ype; jus t fien  -

A plusare

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jul 8th, 2007 at 04:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are youjkingem?

aplusure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 12:51:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doe snot.

Aspluree.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 01:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hey, lessons in language, FOR REAL!

language...a cunning use of sound vibrations to send lymph and cerebro-spinal fluid deeper into the irrigation of command-control centres...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 08:02:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say anthropologists is the less white supremacist  of the crowd.

Neuorbiologists and evolutionary pshychologists have a very narrow notion of culture..and certainly are generally clueless about these issues..

So I agree with you completely.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 12:52:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
certainly anthropological research has become less culturally insensitive and supremacist since mead's day, but i still feel compelled to point out indigenous peoples' lifeskills are usually much more ecologically appropriate than the first world's, and they usually respect the earth as a living organism, on whose mercy and grace they humbly depend.

I don't think anthropology is quite as bad as that, although I was an anthro grad student so I'm a tad biased.

A lot of work, including a lot of work from a long time ago, pointed out just what you said about ecological appropriateness and whatnot.  A lot of VERY early work was devoted to proving that people in other cultures are just as intelligent as Western people, that biological racism was full of bunk, and that culture rather dramatically shapes how people think about and relate to each other and to the world.

"Aren't these people and their culture just so great and amazing" has long been a more common sentiment, and nearly as problematic a sentiment, as "Look at what these bizarre savages are doing!"

But the fact is that it's really, really hard to really study and think about cultures different from one's own, no matter where they are.  There have been major arguments about this from the beginning of the discipline, and there still are today.  One of the founding principles of American Boasian Anthropology was Cultural Relativism, but even that is horribly problematic - but if even extreme cultural relativism is somehow inappropriate, then what the heck are we supposed to think?  Nobody knows.

by Zwackus on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 07:14:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 04:55:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a friend who was an anthropology undergraduate in the UK. He once told me a story about a classmate of his who had heard of the traditional method to slaughter pigs in the Spanish countryside, so off she went for some "fieldwork" to try and film it. Unfortunately, she didn't go at the right time of the year. So, when she found suitable villagers and asked them "can you slaughter a pig for me?" they said "no, but we can slaughter a goat". So she filmed that.

I was reminded of this anecdote earlier today, when Helen suggested replacing "running bulls" with running goats in the Salon.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 05:17:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminded of the Mid East investor trading EVERYTHING through Merrill Lynch in Lebanon ( a long time ago...).

He couldn't be seen to be trading "PorkBellies" futures so Merrill apparently had the contract notes print out "ChickenBellies" instead.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 06:43:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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