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[Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history

I love that movie!

I don't know whether all writing systems began any particular way.  

Wow, does oral history count as history? 

Great questions and boy do I ever NOT have a simple answer. I would love to hear a bunch of folklorists or people who collect oral histories sit around and chew on this one.

Helena Worthen

On Jan 14, 2015, at 4:17 PM, HENRY SHONERD wrote:

> Yes, thank you, Helen
> I have a couple of questions:
> 1)The movie Cave of Forgotten Dreams focuses on cave drawings of Southern France that date back 32,000 years. Writing may date back only about 5 thousand years, but I understand that writing systems begin with pictographs, like in the caves of southern France. Is that relevant to this thread?
> 2) Does oral history count as history?
> Henry
> I have a question 
>> On Jan 14, 2015, at 2:30 PM, Peg Griffin <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:
>> Thanks, Helena!  It is lovely.  A while ago I had skimmed it but misplaced
>> ways to get to it for deep reading and use of it.
>> Besides just liking this sort of thing, I've had some luck getting teacher
>> ed students to see contemporary cultural and language diversity a little
>> differently when they get a chance to see history they might have missed out
>> on in their prior education.  
>> Peg
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
>> Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 2:06 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Cc: 'Mikhail Munipov'
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history
>> And there's this:
>> https://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/201102/roads.of.arabia.htm
>> This is a gorgeous exhibit, if it comes near you. For the text about writing
>> 2000-1500 BCE, scroll about half way down. The exhibit has stones, set side
>> by side, with different ancient scripts.
>> Helena Worthen
>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>> On Jan 13, 2015, at 7:16 PM, Peg Griffin wrote:
>>> Here's a little side track:  There's a web trace of a 2010 well-curated
>> museum exhibit on writing from the U of Chicago Oriental Institute.
>>> http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum/special/writing/
>>> And here are a few little outtakes:
>>> 		"four instances and places in human history when writing was
>> invented from scratch - in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and Mesoamerica -
>> without previous exposure to or knowledge of writing. It appears likely that
>> all other writing systems evolved from the four systems we have in our
>> exhibition."
>>> 		"the earliest cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia (today's
>> Iraq), dating to about 3200 BC,"
>>> 		" early Egyptian writing that includes tags and labels from
>> the tombs of the first kings (about 3320 BC) as well as hieroglyphic writing
>> and other scripts from the Nile Valley."
>>> 		" Chinese writing, which emerged about 1200 BC, will be
>> shown on oracle bones"
>>> 		" Mayan hieroglyphs from the 7th century AD will show how
>> early Mesoamericans wrote."
>>> 		" Long believed to have been invented in Phoenicia in about
>> 1000 BC, the earliest alphabetic texts are now those found in the Sinai.
>> This earliest alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs as early as
>> 1800 BC, well over five hundred years earlier than had been known."
>>> There are some lovely little animations about the development of cuneiform
>> and one animation about a hieroglyph changing and eventually appropriated
>> for a Greek letter.
>>> I love this little site and fear the day I try to open it and find U 
>>> of Chicago has abandoned it. Peg
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu 
>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf 
>>> Of Andy Blunden
>>> Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 9:24 PM
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>> Cc: Mikhail Munipov
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history
>>> Actually, I think that "the more that human beings become removed from
>> animals in the narrower sense of the word, the more they make their own
>> history consciously" is near as dammit what you are looking for.
>>> Engels of course lacked good information. Even in his day Vygotsky had
>> poor information. In "Ape, Primitive Man and Child", "primitive" is taken to
>> mean "non-literate", as it was for Luria in his Central Asian expedition,
>> and a great deal of emphasis is put on the origins and development of
>> *writing*. But writing only appears in Egypt c. 2,000 BCE I think, in any
>> case, in evolutionary time scales 5 minutes ago. The development of writing
>> is nothing to do with evolution of the species. 
>>> Vygotsky defines primitive man as follows:
>>>  "This term is commonly used, admittedly as a conventional label, to
>>>  designate certain peoples of the uncivilized world, situated at the
>>>  lower levels of cultural development. It is not entirely right to
>>>  call these peoples primitive, as a greater or lesser degree of
>>>  civilization can unquestionably be observed in all of them. All of
>>>  them have already emerged from the prehistoric phase of human
>>>  existence. Some of them have very ancient traditions. Some of them
>>>  have been influenced by remote and powerful cultures, while the
>>>  cultural development of others has become degraded.
>>>  "/Primitive man, in the true sense of the term, does not exist
>>>  anywhere at the present time, /and the human type, as represented
>>>  among these primeval peoples, can only be called "relatively
>>>  primitive." Primitiveness in this sense is a lower level, and the
>>>  starting point for the historical development of human behaviour.
>>>  Material for the psychology of primitive man is provided by data
>>>  concerning prehistoric man, the peoples situated at the lower levels
>>>  of cultural development and the comparative psychology of peoples of
>>>  different cultures."(Preface, 1930, Italics in the original)
>>> And from the start, this chapter is framed as "cultural development" as
>> distinct from "evolutionary development." Chapter 1 on primates focuses on
>> the limited use of tools possible for apes, with the implication that the
>> cultural development around the emergence of labour, i.e., the production of
>> tools, was part of evolutionary development, prior and leading up to the
>> formation of homo sapiens sapiens. There is no chapter covering the period
>> between 2 million years ago and say `00,000 years ago, where cultural and
>> biological formation are interacting.
>>> According to Engels and others including Dewey, speech emerges
>> simultaneously with tools. Dewey makes the point that a tool is not a tool
>> until its use is institutionalised, linking social, symbolic and tool-using
>> activity together.
>>> Andy
>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> --
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>> mike cole wrote:
>>>> So perhaps its just my bad memory, Andy. the issues remain central. 
>>>> THANKS for the appropriate links!
>>>> mike
>>>> On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 4:51 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net 
>>>> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>>  There can only be two sources of this idea: Engels' "Part Played
>>>>  by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man" (1876)
>> http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1876/part-played-labour/index.htm
>>>>  and the Introduction to "Dialectics of Nature" (1883)
>>>>  http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch01.htm
>>>>  In the latter work, after explaining how freeing the hands by
>>>>  adopting an erect gait, led to the use of tools, meaning labour,
>>>>  and this led to the expansion of the brain, language and sundry
>>>>  other changes, and thus eventualy the emergence of human beings as
>>>>  a species. Then he says:
>>>>     "With men we enter /history/."
>>>>  In the earlier document, he says: "Labour begins with the making
>>>>  of tools" which Engels claims happened before the formation of
>>>>  modern homo sapiens, contributing to that formation rather than
>>>>  being a product of the formation of modern humans, and he narrates
>>>>  a story which continues from this point up to socialist revolution
>>>>  as if it were one continuous story, blurring over the distinction
>>>>  between evolution of the species and historical development of
>>>>  culture.
>>>>  The nerest we come to your quote is: "the more that human beings
>>>>  become removed from animals in the narrower sense of the word, the
>>>>  more they make their own history consciously." The "narrower
>>>>  sense" I presume means biological differentiation. So this could
>>>>  count for what you are looking for, Mike.
>>>>  Andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>  *Andy Blunden*
>>>>  http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>  <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>  mike cole wrote:
>>>>      Dear Colleagues--
>>>>      I seem to recall reading an idea, that I recall being
>>>>      attributed to Engels,
>>>>      that (rooughly) "more and more the laws of evolution are being
>>>>      replaced by
>>>>      the laws of history."
>>>>      Can anyone enlighten me either as to the source of this
>>>>      "quotation" or as
>>>>      to the source of my own confusion in this regard?
>>>>      mike
>>>> --
>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an 
>>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.