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govols
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Date Posted:11/07/2018 10:06 PMCopy HTML

Prior to writing, all human societies presumably had language. Hell, it might be rudimentary language that made us people instead of just another set of apes, at least to some extent. Every culture that I’m aware of has creation stories or something like them. In the beginning, or long ago, or in some vast before, our people came to our modern ways of being thusly…

Without writing, all traditions are oral. All of culture is handed down through example, imitation, and through tales given to children. At any given time there are three, maybe four generations of a given culture alive. Everything that makes them who they are, all of their skills, traditions, important history, everything is stored in a cloud of human minds connected only by language, example, and imitation. How we be is the stuff of example and imitation; how we came to be is very likely the stuff of stories.

I don’t have a clue, but I have an idea that hunter/gatherer clans had little in the way of creation stories. Tens, hundreds of thousands of years ago, all over the globe, we be this way because it works, and we always be this way. Example, imitation, repeat. The earliest examples of written language seem to be inventory. Hunter/gatherers don’t keep inventory. Staying in one place and doing agriculture seems to be the genesis of writing. The temporal distance between the development of agriculture, growing populations, and the need for inventory is impossible to nail down, but scratches in a grain bin doorway to keep track of bushels in and out is probably the beginning of writing. The history of “zero” begins thousands of years after the concept of maintaining inventory because all of the societies that discovered “zero” earlier fucking died.

So what in the fuck does all of this have to do with creation myths? Well, what if we had none at all prior to farming? I mean, really, we probably always fed the medicine man, even as hunter/gatherers. Successful clans probably had the ancient one that they fed because he knew the obscure uses of plants, how to bind broken bones, etc., and probably fed a generation or two of apprentices. But farming? My God, the lore to be remembered! Sometime between the earliest agriculture and the earliest writing, there would have come to esteem a certain class of cultural historians, keepers of the culture’s institutional knowledge. Without writing, all they had to work with was stories! It isn’t enough to know how; we had to have some generationally transferable whys.

Whether a given clan discovered, invented, or imitated agriculture, once they had it they set roots. They became tied to a place. Everywhere farms were carved into the environment, all over the globe, beginnings were established. By the time these beginnings amounted to cultures—by the time keeping inventory necessitated the development of writing—the hundreds and thousands of years of history that was finally written down had been reduced by similar necessity to soundbite-like myths by the keepers of oral traditions. Every civilization had a beginning, and each were different because of environment and any number of other variables, but all of the early ones shared a common distinction—they rose up without writing and whatever written record they left behind reduces the time before writing as merely the beginning. Long ago it was thus and we are who we are because these few examples of our former glories have guided us since.

alaskaone Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
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Re:In the Beginning...

Date Posted:11/09/2018 6:51 PMCopy HTML

Jordan Peterson suggests the best way to think about the Bible is that it is a compilation of our oldest stories, the collective musings of a species attaining consciousness and trying to figure out the best way to live and prosper.  Something like that.

Come to the Dark Side. We have cookies. The advantage of insinuations over hard arguments is that they bypass critical thought. No one can respond precisely to a charge that is utterly vague or to accusers who will envelope any reply in a poisonous fog of further insinuations. ~ David Warren, The Guardian There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time and that captures an important point. The more powerful the government becomes, the more people are willing to do in order to seize the prize, and the more afraid they become when someone else has control. ~ Glenn Harlan Reynolds “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.” ― H.L. Mencken
govols Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #2
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Re:In the Beginning...

Date Posted:11/09/2018 8:46 PMCopy HTML

JP has some interesting ideas on the bible. His focus on deferred gratification, sacrifice, seems spot on compared to the bible. I mean, over and over the various tales are about how we kept getting it wrong. Hell, the last book of the OT, Malachi, is like a dissertation on all of the ways the Jews were failing at faith, honor, and sacrifice. I chuckle because that's the last book of the OT, and like Then The Word Said...hold my beer. The next story is about someone who sets an example. You're doing it wrong; I've told you and told you and you keep doing it wrong; this time I will show you.

alaskaone Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #3
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Re:In the Beginning...

Date Posted:11/10/2018 11:41 PMCopy HTML


This is a very good lecture, I think.  I was heavily on the, 'religion is nonsense', side until I watched this.

Come to the Dark Side. We have cookies. The advantage of insinuations over hard arguments is that they bypass critical thought. No one can respond precisely to a charge that is utterly vague or to accusers who will envelope any reply in a poisonous fog of further insinuations. ~ David Warren, The Guardian There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time and that captures an important point. The more powerful the government becomes, the more people are willing to do in order to seize the prize, and the more afraid they become when someone else has control. ~ Glenn Harlan Reynolds “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.” ― H.L. Mencken
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