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

About writing origins, Henry: There's some accessible and reliable info
through that U of Chicago Oriental Institute museum web-site I mentioned.
You can download the catalog for free - over 200 pages of good essays and
The first chapter has a good discussion about writing and other early
graphic representations from art and administrative functions.  It has a
reasonable bibliography.  Subsequent specialized chapters also carry good
documentation.  It's certainly a good start if you want to follow this up.

Peg Griffin, Ph. D.
Washington, DC 20003

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of HENRY SHONERD
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:18 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history

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
2) Does oral history count as history?

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/ind
> ex.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.