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[[ EPUB ]] ⇹ Neanderthals in Plato’s Cave ↶ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

At first reading, the hypothesis seems to contradict the basic tenets of dual inheritance theory However, the book only refreshes, expands and makes DITrealistic if cultural evolution is modeled on biological rules, then any presentation of culture that does not acknowledge neoteny is incomplete and wanting Given the arguably central role of neoteny in our biological evolution, cultural neoteny must be seen as an important component of the cultural landscape Steiner s examples immediate return hunters and gatherers are not an exception to the rule as he puts it, but rather the hard anthropological evidence that was needed to refresh strengthen the postulates of dual inheritance theory Therefore, Joseph Henrich et al should integrate the conclusions of this monograph in their models and devise equations that would allow for the phenomenon of cultural neoteny. [[ EPUB ]] ⇺ Neanderthals in Plato’s Cave ⇮ Having Read George Steiner S Monograph I Can Confirm That I Find It A Most Impressive Achievement This Volume Is On The Very Cutting Edge Of Research In The Field It Addresses Its Author Is Certainly One Of The Most Innovative Writers On The Subject Of Cognitive Human Evolution Here He Proposes A Volume Dedicated To The Role Of Neoteny In Hominin Evolution, Particularly Its Cultural Dimensions What Is From My Perspective The Most Impressive Aspect Of The Work Is The Exploration Of The Role Exograms Played In This Exograms, Memory Traces Stored Outside The Brain, Are The Most Significant Factor In Cognitive Evolution, And Yet They Are Arguably The Most Neglected So Far, Only Two Authors Have Ever Considered Them In Any Detail Since The Late S, Despite Their Fundamental Importance In The Question Of What Makes Us Human, And How We Managed To Experience The World In A Conscious Format Steiner Corrects This Imbalance, And For That Reason Alone His Book Holds Great Promise His Encyclopedic Knowledge Of The Generic Subject And His Most Innovative Patterns Of Reasoning Have Produced A Truly Worthwhile Addition To The Rather Limited Literature On The Topic An Aspect I Find Particularly Important Is That Steiner Did Not Approach This Discipline From The Evolutionary Perspective Initially, But From The Direction Of A Desire To Understand The Products Of Human Cognition, Through His Work With Paleoart, Specifically Rock Art Therefore He Is Not Stuck In A Particular Epistemological Groove, But Has Cultivated The Ability To See The Issues In An Inter Disciplinary Perspective Prof Robert G BednarikConvener And Editor In Chief,International Federation Of Rock Art Organizations IFRAO Attempting to review a book as comprehensive, wide in scope and far reaching in implications as Neanderthals in Plato s Cave is an extremely challenging task which I decided to undertake.I will begin by trying to delineate the book s main thesis as I understood it Up to about 60,000 years ago, the humans which we call Homo Erectus was developing in a balanced biological cultural pattern Environmental conditions resulted in biological changes such as the enlargement of the brain , that made humansflexible and adaptive These biological changes were mainly following the principles of biological neoteny an important term look it up if you don t know it Biological changes resulted in cultural changes that were enabled by the biological developments such as the creation of new tools, proto language etc When environmental pressures causedrapid changes in culture in order to survive them these cultural changes were discarded after the pressures were over, as they upset the biological cultural balance.This began to change for many human groups around 60,000 years ago The prolonged nature of recurring ice ages over large part of the globe necessitated the construction of cultural niches which enabled human survival under the severe condition Rapid cultural development was necessary for survival, and humans began to adapt to the cultural niche of their own construction, instead of the previous adaptation to the natural environment They were no longer able to discard the cultural achievements and maintain the balance between their biology and their culture If before culture was a product of biology now people changed biologically in order to fit in their cultural niche From the biological perspective this mode of adaptation is considered negative, and is termed maladaptive gracilization The book addresses some of the social and psychological implication of this mode of development, which is labeled accumulative axis of development , due to its heavy emphasis on material and cultural accumulation as the standard for development.In contrast, the books describes five human groups who have not become stuck in the accumulative axis of development These five human groups there may have been , but only five are sufficiently documented have been able to avoid creating a cultural niche which would inhibit their natural development, and continued the process of neoteny About 10,000 years ago they reached a biological level which allowed them to discard delayed return economy and revert to immediate return economy This was accompanied by a development of an egalitarian cultural with elaborate social mechanisms, called leveling mechanisms , to prevent social hierarchy and cultural loss, and to enhance survival under environmental pressures The book elaborates on the social and psychological implication of this mode of development, which is labeled reductive axis of development due to its emphasis on cultural flexibility and reduction of cultural aspects which negate egalitarianism.The book mentions but does not elaborate on human groups that have not strictly followed either of these modes, but have taken a road that includes elements of both, such as the Aboriginals of Australia.This is how understood the main thesis of the book Needless to say it shook many of my previously held notions about the origins of human culture, and made me see the culture I am part of in a different light Some issues dealt with in the book such as the role of communal trance in culture, the role of language andhave especially drawn my curiosity As a musician I am interested in the non causal state of mind that music can induce and in non lingual modes of communication, and as someone who is familiar with non Western cultures, I could immediately connect the information in the book to my personal experience and better understand some of the differences.This book deserves many reviews by open minded psychologists, biologists, historians, anthropologists, sociologists and archeologists The book is certainly not easy reading , and requires both concentration and the willingness to deal with scientific terminology For me the effort was richly rewarded. Neanderthals in Plato s Cave considers the evolution of modern man from theoretical and cultural models Author George Steiner demonstrates great depth in his knowledge of the literature and provides multiple perspectives for the reader to form balanced decisions on the possibilities The concepts that Steiner synthesizes will be greatly discussed and drawn on as reference points in future research This work is a must for any paleontology, archaeological or anthropological collection Bernie Taylor author of Before Orion Finding the Face of the Hero. The general topic of the cultural origins of hominins is receiving ever increased attention, not only from specialists but also from the informed section of the public I think that the following review and synopsis written by a scientific authority and, respectively, by a popular author explain why the book is worth your consideration and in what it could contribute to its readers This volume is on the very cutting edge of research in the field it addresses Its author is certainly one of the most innovative writers on the subject of cognitive human evolution Here he proposes a volume dedicated to the role of neoteny in hominin evolution, particularly its cultural dimensions What is from my perspective the most impressive aspect of the work is the exploration of the role exograms played in this Exograms, memory traces stored outside the brain, are the most significant factor in cognitive evolution, and yet they are arguably the most neglected So far, only two authors have ever considered them in any detail since the late 1980s, despite their fundamental importance in the question of what makes us human, and how we managed to experience the world in a conscious format Steiner corrects this imbalance, and for that reason alone his book holds great promise His encyclopaedic knowledge of the generic subject and his most innovative patterns of reasoning have produced a truly worthwhile addition to the rather limited literature on the topic An aspect I find particularly important is that Steiner did not approach this discipline from the evolutionary perspective initially, but from the direction of a desire to understand the products of human cognition, through his work with paleoart, specifically rock art Therefore he is not stuck in a particular epistemological groove, but has cultivated the ability to see the issues in an inter disciplinary perspective Professor Robert G Bednarik,Convener and Editor in Chief, International Federation of Rock Art Organizations IFRAO President, Australian Rock Art Research Association AURA I will try to briefly summarize the core of Steiner s theory In biological evolution, there is a tension between specialization and autonomy that is, between becoming either very highly adapted to one particular biological niche or remaining less specifically adapted butflexible Species that take the specialization route tend to beaggressive and hierarchical they are alsosusceptible to extinction when sudden shifts in the environment occur In contrast, species that evolve towards autonomy tend to preserveof their childlike qualities into adulthood a phenomenon called neoteny An example can be seen in the contrast between theaggressive, hierarchical chimpanzees compared to the very closely related butsocial, playful, and egalitarian bonobos Humans are arguably the least specialized, most neotenous of all species and have evolved the furthest along the evolutionary line of autonomy What we gave up in specialized adaptation to a particular biological niche, we made up for with the invention of culture Culture allows us to survive in a huge variety of environments while still preserving our biological adaptability and autonomy But within the world of human culture, the same tension between specialization and autonomy exists Specialization in this case means becoming overly dependent on and subservient to specific cultural forms and technologies, as we see in the civilized world As in the biological realm, those who have avoided the pathway of over specialization in the cultural realm have done so through another kind of neoteny in this case, the intentional preservation ofprimitive technologies and subsistence strategies And again, the same highly social, egalitarian qualities are seen in theseneotenous cultures, which attain a very high perhaps even supreme level of autonomy The refusal of egalitarian immediate return hunters and gatherers to become tied to and therefore enslaved to highly complex social technological systems allows them to preserve and fully explore the flexibility given to our species through our biological evolution In other words, choosing to remainprimitive in certain areas as the said egalitarian hunters and gatherers do actually fosters a faradvanced stage of human cultural evolution, and any form of over specialization even if it involves a globalized economy and an ideology of liberty and democracy actually represents a lower stage of cultural evolution, because it decreases our actual evolutionary flexibility The over specialization that our species escaped in the biological realm has now been recreated by civilization in the cultural field John Zerzan, Author of Future Primitive Following Michael S Jones call for articles showing the contemporary value of the great 20th century Romanian philosopher Lucian Blaga in various spheres of expertise, I have immediately thought of George F Steiner s recently published book, Neanderthals in Plato s Cave The evolutionary model forwarded by Steiner draws heavily on philosophical insights provided by Blaga and, although the volume was written for a scientifically minded public, the author has adopted, updated and expanded some of Blaga s anthropological perspectives In our e mail correspondence, Steiner has acknowledged Blaga s influence and has enthusiastically endorsed my attempt to review the similarities between some of the postulates of contemporary research in the various disciplines that inform cognitive archaeology Steiner s field of expertise and the conceptual evolutionary cultural hypothesis outlined in Blaga s philosophical system My review article is available for download here