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Citations related to CULTURAL STUDIES (works cited listed at bottom):


“Our unquenchable thirst for answers has become one of the obvious characteristics of the West in the second half of the twentieth century. But what are answers when there is neither memory nor general understanding to give them meaning? This running together of the right answer with the search for truth is perhaps the most poignant sign of our confusion.

"It is a curious sort of confusion. Organized and calm on the surface, our lives are lived in an atmosphere of nervous, even frenetic agitation. Hordes of essential answers fly about us and disappear, abruptly meaningless. Successive absolute solutions are provided for major public problems and then slip away without our consciously registering their failure. Neither the public and corporate authorities nor the experts are held responsible for their own actions in any sensible manner because the fracturing of memory and understanding has created a profound chaos in the individual's sense of what responsibility is.

"This is part of the deadening of language which the reign of structure and abstract power has wrought. The central concepts upon which we operate were long ago severed from their roots and changed into formal rhetoric. They have no meaning. They are used wildly or administratively as masks. And the more our language becomes a tool for limiting general discourse, the more our desire for answers becomes frenzied.

"Yet there is no great need for answers. Solutions are the cheapest commodity of our day. They are the medicine show tonic of the rational elites. And the structures which produce them are largely responsible for the inner panic which seems endemic to modern man. Saul, John Ralston, Voltaire's Bastards, Vintage Books, 1992, pp. 16-7.


"Though forming part of a single logical space, all facts are independent of each other: any one of them may hold or fail to hold, without any other being affected. They are not allowed to present themselves to us as parts of indivisible package deals. This was the old practice, but is so no longer. The republic of facts is Jacobin and centralist and tolerates no permanent or institutionalized factions within itself. This atomizaton in principle is not merely so to speak lateral - disconnecting each fact from its spatial neighbours - but also, and to an equal degree, qualitative: each trait conjoined in a fact can in thought be disconnected from its fellows, and their conjunction depends on factual confirmation alone. Nothing is necessarily connected with anything else. We must separate all separables in thought, and then consult the fact to see whether the separated elements are, contingently, joined together. That is one of the fundamental principles of the rational investigation of nature.

"This picture has been challenged of late, and indeed the Jacobin proscription of factions, of clustering for mutual protection, may not be fully implemented even in science. A certain amount of package dealing, of clannish cohesion amongst ideas and facts, does perhaps survive. But this is a furtive, surreptitious practice surviving only in a shamefaced and camouflaged form. When contrasting the rules and realities of our current intellectual world with that of pre-scientific humanity, what is striking is the degree to which the atomistic ideal of individual responsibility is implemented. If a factual claim is false and persists in being falsified, its favoured place in a kinship network of ideas will not in the end save it, even if it does secure for it a reprieve and stay of execution. It is not true that ideas face the bar of reality as corporate bodies: rather, in the past, they evaded reality as corporate bodies. They are no longer allowed to do so, or at any rate not for very long. Occasionally, they succeed in doing so for a while. In the traditional world, the factional gregariousness of ideas was allowed to become a stable structure, sacralized, and to inhibit cognitive growth. Even if a bit of informal temporary corporatism is still tolerated, it is no longer allowed to become overt, sacred, rigid, meshed in with the social role structure, and to thwart expansion.

"This is a single world, and the language which describes it also serves but a single purpose - accurate description, explanation and prediction. It is also notoriously a cold, morally indifferent world. Its icy indifference to values, its failure to console and reassure, its total inability either to validate norms and values or to offer any guarantee of their eventual success, is in no way a consequence of any specific findings within. It isn't that facts just happen to have turned out to be so deplorably unsupportive socially. It is a consequence of the overall basic and entrenched constitution of our thought, not of our accidental findings within it." Gellner, Ernest, Plough, Sword and Book; The Structure of Human History, University of Chicago, 1988, pp. 63-5.


"In the Gestalt theory of perception this is known as the figure/ground relationship. This theory asserts, in brief, that no figure is ever perceived except in relation to a background....

"Man aspires to govern nature, but the more one studies ecology, the more absurd it seems to speak of any one feature of an organism, or of an organism/environment field, as governing or ruling others. Once upon a time the mouth, the hands, and the feet said to each other, 'We do all this work gathering food and chewing it up, but that lazy fellow, the stomach, does nothing. It's high time he did some work too, so let's go on strike!' Whereupon they went many days without working, but soon found themselves feeling weaker and weaker until at last each of them realized that the stomach was their stomach, and that they would have to go back to work to remain alive. But even in physiological textbooks, we speak of the brain, or the nervous system, as 'governing' the heart or the digestive tract, smuggling bad politics into science, as if the heart belonged to the brain rather than the brain to the heart or the stomach. Yet it is as true, or false, to say that the brain 'feeds itself' through the stomach as that the stomach 'evolves' a brain at its upper entrance to get more food.

"As soon as one sees that separate things are fictions, it becomes obvious that nonexistent things cannot 'perform' actions....

"Our whole knowledge of the world is, in one sense, self-knowledge. For knowing is a translation of external events into bodily processes, and especially into states of the nervous system and the brain: we know the world in terms of the body, and in accordance with its structure." Watts, Alan, The Book, Collier, 1966, pp. 82, 86-7, 92.


"If democracy is a continuing discourse, as Dewey said, then one problem of modernity is to thwart attempts to bring the process to a halt. In that spirit, even the reader who is ill-disposed to rhetorics of science can entertain a rhetoric for modern democracy. And those who want to maintain some version of realism against the various rhetorics of science can nonetheless entertain the claim that the rhetoric-versus-reality trope nourishes despotic discourses. Surely Mr. Goebbels has proved that rhetoric is as real as anything else. Despotism and fanaticism always come wrapped as Truth, and they are most insidious when they ignore, conceal, or deny their own rhetorical character." Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 10.


"The modern technocrat attempts at all costs to initiate any dialogue. Thus he is able to set, in the first sentences of any exchange, the context of the theoretical discussion about to take place. In written arguments briefing books play the same role. The intended audience unthinkingly accepts the parameters laid out. It is then caught up in the coil of the resulting logic and kept busy rushing back and forth between the questions and answers which the predefined structure imposes. In the process it feels the satisfaction produced by simply keeping up or the despair of inferiority if it does not. There is no time for reflection or consideration of the basic parameters.

"We have difficulty linking the Jesuits' intellectual approach with that of the technocrats because we believe that formal eloquence was central to rhetoric. Modern argument doesn't rely upon the modulated qualities of the voice. Nor does it attempt to seduce by pleasing. There is no artifice. We are not enhanced by its appearance. In fact, modern argument is usually ugly and boring. The awkward bones of facts and figures are there as signs of honesty and freedom. The charts and graphs lay out lines of inevitability, which always begin in the past and advance as a simple matter of historical fact calmly into the future. There is no appearance of guile.

"But this awkward, boring surface is the new form of elegant phrasing. The facts, the figures, the historic events used to set the direction of lines on graphs are all arbitrarily chosen in order to produce a given solution. To this is added an insistence that the constant questioning involved in modern argument is proof of its Socratic origins. Again and again the schools which form the twentieth century's elites throughout the West refer to their Socratic heritage. The implication is that doubt is constantly raised in their search for truth. In reality the way they teach is the opposite of a Socratic dialogue. In the Athenian's case every answer raised a question. With the contemporary elites every question produces an answer. Socrates would have thrown the modern elites out of his academy." Voltaire's Bastards, John Ralston Saul, Vintage Books, 1992, p. 116.


“Thus, in the Platonic vision, rhetoric is either terrible or trifling–truth’s enemy or its simpleton servant.” Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 9.


“General knowledge, I argue, is a dubious ideal even for specialists inside their own fields. As subject matters grow in complexity, their literatures grow unmanageable; too big and too interdependent with further literatures. Organizational complexity precludes breadth of vision. Complex fields aren’t single conversations to which one can rationally acquiesce; their innards aren’t fully transparent. Competence comes with focus. It waxes in microcosm and wanes in macrocosm. It multiplies specialties and narrows their focus. And general knowledge is doubly dubious seen as a field-spanning wisdom. It ignores the division of labor needed for decision-making in a complex society. There are too many knowledge claims in the world. No rational person would try to evaluate each one comprehensively. Public problems cross many field boundaries, but individual expertise can cross only a few, and so complex decision-making is surrounded by a penumbra of unintelligible communication.” Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 19.


“I’m right; my opponent is wrong. This closure thwarts discourse with outsiders. It precludes agreement (that isn’t surprising) but its worst political effect is that it obstructs disagreement: It makes argument untenable by undercutting its necessary conditions. People don’t need to hold the same beliefs to argue, or to achieve decisions and execute policies. They need only reach agreement on a viable measure of their differences that permits working agreements, compromise, and consensus.” Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 129.


“Now the dilemma: On one hand, arguing from and accepting claims on authority are the twentieth Century’s definitive epistemic methods. On the other hand, the medieval logicians’ chief reason for seeing the argument from authority as a fallacy still holds: To invoke authority is to abort debate.” Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 140.


"A century ago, many people lived their entire lives in small communities of familiar and like-minded people. Long distances were a real barrier between people, and one's cast of 'significant others' stayed relatively stable throughout a lifespan. In the late 20th century, however, we are the beneficiaries (and sometimes the victims) of a confluence of technologies that has dramatically altered the cultural landscape. The new technologies of the early 20th century--telephone, automobiles, radios, electric lights--that began the transformation of modern life now seem like unremarkable necessities. But with each of these advances, the physical world in effect shrank while the individual's experience of the cultural and social world expanded and grew more complex.

"In the past three or four decades, television has provided a source of enormous social stimulation at very low cost, air transportation can now bring together two people from opposite points on the globe in little more than 24 hours; personal computers, microchips, satellite transmitters, copy machines and faxes have set a vast, humming grid of connections upon the entire world. Through these technologies, we are now, whether directly or indirectly, significantly connected to vastly more people, of more varied ways of life, spread over broader geographical domains than could scarcely be imagined in any other historical time. At a social level, we have become embedded in a multiplicity of relationships. We are aware of the needs of more people, empathize with a greater number of tribulations, join more causes, confront more potential threats and enemies, sustain more social obligations, experience more longings and disappointments, and are tempted by more varied and tantalizing possibilities than ever before.

"At another level, we ingest myriad bits of others' being--values, attitudes, opinions, life-styles, personalities--synthesizing and incorporating them into our own definition of self. As we blend the qualities we find in others with our own potentialities, we find it increasingly difficult to look inward to discover what we desire and believe. We have gathered so many bits (or bytes) of being to create ourselves that the pieces no longer mix well together, perhaps even contradict each other. To look inward, then, is to risk seeing a maelstrom of partial beings in conflict. It is, for example, to locate a realist coexisting with a romanticist, a lover of tradition mixing with a revolutionary, an advocate of commitment at odds with a free adventurer. This is the experience of the world and the self that I call 'social saturation.'

"For each new investment in a cause, an ideal or a person, a host of inner voices stands ready to belittle our latest interest, laugh derisively at the newest waste of time, prick our vanity for previous failed investments, undermine our confidence. As every new choice invites a sea of mixed opinions and speculations, both from outside ourselves and from the multiple voices we have already collected within ourselves, the possibility of rational choice fades away. When one can see the situation in multiple ways, how is one to discern the 'best' or the 'right' way?

"At the most subtle level, these changes in social patterns bring about a profound shift in our conception of ourselves and others. Our traditional belief in ourselves as singular, autonomous individuals gives way. Where in the interior lies the bedrock self? Are not all the fragments of identity the residues of relationships, and aren't we undergoing continuous transformation as we move from one relationship to another? Indeed, in postmodern times, the reality of the single individual, possessing his/her own values, emotions, reasoning capacities, intentions and the like, becomes implausible. The individual as the center of cultural concern is slowly being replaced by a consciousness of connection. We find our existence not separately from our relationships, but within them." Gergen, Kenneth J., "The Saturated Family," Networker, Sept/Oct 1991, p. 28.


"The dogmatist, the 'true believer in science' as we might possibly prefer to call him today, destroys the bridges and fortifies the walls. The skeptic, the consistent relativist, does exactly the same thing. Or at least, he does not contest the dominance and the rights of dogmatists within the walls. He only points out to them that they have lost their understanding for the forest outside the walls, and that events might occur there never dreamt of in their book learning.

"The dilemma of the relativist lies in the fact that he is not allowed to say these things within the walls which do not offer him the hoped-for protection, or that he always needs to speak with a forked tongue. The relativist can only hope to seduce the dogmatist, which is what Feyerabend is trying to do. But where is the dogmatist who would go with him into the forest? What scientist would even venture to trip with him?

"It is possible to point out, of course, that the relativist at least recognizes what the dogmatist must surely know, but does not want to admit. For after all, who is going to put on his armour if there is no danger?

"In some way, the dogmatist is like the man who declares with a quivering voice that he never gets excited. The relativist, however, does not only put his finger on the anxieties of the dogmatist, he also tickles his little desires, the fulfillment of which the dogmatist denies himself.

"But neither does the relativist fulfill these longings. He stands on the walls of the city and as he looks out into the wilderness, his eyes reflect the sadness that he does not know how to fly." Duerr, Hans Peter, Dreamtime; Concerning the Boundary between Wilderness and Civilization, Basil Blackwell, 1985, p. 103.


"From the viewpoint of the users of the language, each such sub-system [of types of truth] constitutes a unitary, seamless sensitivity. It is we [outsiders to a culture] who have in retrospect sorted it out into two strands, and, above all, into two strands of radically different kinds. One of them is referential: its claims stand or fall in accordance with objective states of affairs. It is properly 'operationalized', and linked to its own bit of 'nature', which decides its 'truth' or 'falsehood'. The other, despite the great variety of functions it can perform, serves above all the affirmation of commitment to shared concepts by the users of the language. They are, at the same time, members of the same community. Loyalty to concepts makes possible loyalty to the community.

"A concept is, of course, far more than a 'mere' concept: it encapsulates and communicates and authorizes a shared way of classifying, valuing, a shared range of social and natural expectations and obligations. It makes cooperation and communication possible. It limits behaviour and sensibility, otherwise endowed with a potentially infinite diversity, into circumscribed bounds, and thereby establishes a 'culture', and makes communication possible." Plough, Sword and Book; The Structure of Human History, Ernest Gellner, University of Chicago, 1988, p. 55.


"The possession, use and control of knowledge have become their [societal elites] central theme--the theme song of their expertise. However, their power depends not on the effect with which they use that knowledge but on the effectiveness with which they control its use. Thus, among the illusions which have invested our civilization is an absolute belief that the solution to our problems must be a more determined application of rationally organized expertise. The reality is that our problems are largely the product of that application. The illusion is that we have created the most sophisticated society in the history of man. The reality is that the division of knowledge into feudal fiefdoms of expertise has made general understanding and coordinated action not simply impossible but despised and distrusted." Voltaire's Bastards, John Ralston Saul, Vintage Books, 1992, p. 8.


"This is a very simple conundrum. Societies grow into systems. The systems require management and are therefore increasingly wielded, like a tool or a weapon, by those who have power. The rest of the population is still needed to do specific things. But the citizens are not needed to contribute to the form or direction of the society. The more 'advanced' the civilization, the more irrelevant the citizen becomes.

"We are not quite so advanced as that, but neither are we so far off. Our professional elites have spent the last half century arguing over management methods, as if these were the only proper areas of political interest. If we could bring ourselves to think of reason as merely one of several management techniques and as something separate from the democratic process, our understanding of the situation would be quite different. In truth, if there are solutions to our confusion over government, they lie in the democratic, not the management, process. And essential to this is the reactivation or destreamlining of the assemblies. The reestablishment of true popular gatherings is one of the few easy actions available to the citizen. All it would require is a realization in the public mind that the decision-making process--that is, the process of creating national policy--is profoundly different from the administrative process. The two have no characteristics in common. One is organic and reflective. The other is linear and structured. One attempts to waste time usefully in order to understand and to build consensus. The other aims at speed and delivery." Voltaire's Bastards, John Ralston Saul, Vintage Books, 1992, pp. 261-2.


"When we turn to the famous, now classic critiques of epistemology, we find that they have, in fact, mostly been attuned to this interpenetration of the scientific and the moral. Hegel, in his celebrated attack on this tradition in the introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit, speaks of a 'fear of error' that 'reveals itself rather as fear of the truth,' and he goes on to show how this stance is bound up with a certain aspiration to individuality and separateness, refusing what he sees as the 'truth' of subject-object identity. Heidegger notoriously treats the rise of the modern epistemological standpoint as a stage in the development of a stance of domination to the world, which culminates in contemporary technological society. Merleau-Ponty draws more explicitly political connections and clarifies the alternative notion of freedom that arises from the critique of empiricism and intellectualism. The moral consequences of the devastating critique of epistemology in the later Wittgenstein are, naturally, less evident. Wittgenstein was strongly averse to making this kind of thing explicit. But those who have followed him have shown a certain affinity for the critique of disengagement, instrumental reason, and atomism.

"It is safe to say that all these critics were largely motivated by a dislike of the moral and spiritual consequences of epistemology and by a strong affinity for some alternative." Taylor, Charles, "Overcoming Epistemology," After Philosophy: End or Transformation?, K. Baynes, J. Bohman, & T. McCarthy, MIT Press, 1987, pp. 472-3.


"Computers are no good, they only give us answers." Picasso, Pablo, quoted in the software CrossTalk upon booting.


"Enlightenment killed God; but like Macbeth, the men of the Enlightenment did not know that the cosmos would rebel at the deed, and the world become 'a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.' Nietzsche replaces easygoing or self-satisfied atheism with agonized atheism, suffering its human consequences. Longing to believe, along with intransigent refusal to satisfy that longing, is, according to him, the profound response to our entire spiritual condition. Marx denied the existence of God but turned over all His functions to History, which is inevitably directed to a goal fulfilling of man and which takes the place of Providence. One might as well be a Christian if one is so naive. Prior to Nietzsche, all those who taught that man is a historical being presented his history as in one way or another progressive. After Nietzsche, a characteristic formula for describing our history is the decline of the West.'

"Nietzsche surveyed and summed up the contradictory strands of modern thought and concluded that victorious rationalism is unable to rule in culture or soul, that it cannot defend itself theoretically and that its human consequences are intolerable. This constitutes a crisis of the West, for everywhere in the West, for the first time ever, all regimes are founded on reason. Human founders, looking only to universal principles of natural justice recognizable by all men through their unaided reason, established governments on the basis of the consent of the governed, without appeal to revelation or tradition. But reason has also discerned that all previous cultures were founded by and on gods or belief in gods. Only if the new regimes are enormous successes, able to rival the creative genius and splendor of other cultures, could reason's rational foundings be equal or superior to the kinds of foundings that reason knows were made elsewhere. But such equality or superiority is highly questionable; therefore reason recognizes its own inadequacy. There must be religion, and reason cannot found religions." Bloom, Allan, The Closing of the American Mind, Simon & Schuster, 1987, p. 196.


"Americans are Lockeans: recognizing that work is necessary (no longing for a nonexistent Eden), and will produce well-being; following their natural inclinations moderately, not because they possess the virtue of moderation but because their passions are balanced and they recognize the reasonableness of that; respecting the rights of others so that theirs will be respected; obeying the law because they made it in their own interest. From the point of view of God or heroes, all this is not very inspiring. But for the poor, the weak, the oppressed--the overwhelming majority of mankind--it is the promise of salvation. As Leo Strauss put it, the moderns 'built on low but solid ground.'

"Rousseau believed that Hobbes and Locke did not go far enough, that they had not reached the Indies of the spirit, although they thought they had. They found exactly what they set out to look for: a natural man whose naturalness consisted in having just those qualities necessary to constitute society. It was too simple to be true.

"'Natural man is entirely for himself. He is numerical unity, the absolute whole which is relative only to itself or its kind. Civil man is only a fractional unity dependent on the denominator, his value is determined by his relation to the whole, which is the social body....

"'He who in the civil order wants to preserve the primacy of the sentiments of nature does not know what he wants. Always in contradiction with himself, always floating between his inclinations and his duties, he will never be either man or citizen. He will be good neither for himself nor for others. He will be one of these men of our days: a Frenchman, an Englishman, a bourgeois. He will be nothing.'

"It was Locke who wanted to preserve the primacy of the sentiments of nature in the civil order, and the result of his mistake is the bourgeois. Rousseau invented the term in its modern sense, and with it we find ourselves at the great source of modern intellectual life. The comprehensiveness and subtlety of his analysis of the phenomenon left nothing new to be said about it, and the Right and the Left forever after accepted his description of modern man as simply true, while the Center was impressed, intimidated, and put on the defensive by it. So persuasive was Rousseau that he destroyed the self-confidence of the Enlightenment at the moment of its triumph.

"It must not be forgotten that Rousseau begins his critique from fundamental agreements with Locke, whom he greatly admired, about the animal man. Man is by nature a solitary being, concerned only with his preservation and his comfort. Rousseau, moreover, agrees that man makes civil society by contract, for the sake of his preservation. He disagrees with Locke that self-interest, however understood, is in any automatic harmony with what civil society needs and demands. If Rousseau is right, man's reason, calculating his best interest, will not lead him to wish to be a good citizen, a law-abiding citizen. He will either be himself, or he will be a citizen, or he will try to be both and be neither. In other words, enlightenment is not enough to establish society, and even tends to dissolve it.

"The road from the state of nature was very long, and nature is distant from us now. A self-sufficient, solitary being must have undergone many changes to become a needy, social one. On the way, the goal of happiness was exchanged for the pursuit of safety and comfort, the means of achieving happiness. Civil society is surely superior to a condition of scarcity and universal war. All this artifice, however, preserves a being who no longer knows what he is, who is so absorbed with existing that he has forgotten his reason for existing, who in the event of actually attaining full security and perfect comfort has no notion of what to do. Progress culminates in the recognition that life is meaningfulness. Hobbes was surely right to look for the most powerful sentiments in man, those that exist independently of opinion and are always a part of man. But fear of death, however powerful it may be and however useful it may be as a motive for seeking peace and, hence, law with teeth in it, cannot be the fundamental experience. It presupposes an even more fundamental one: that life is good. The deepest experience is the pleasant sentiment of existence. The idle, savage man can enjoy that sentiment. The busy bourgeois cannot, with his hard work and his concern with dealing with others rather than being himself.

"Nature still has something of the greatest importance to tell us. We may be laboring to master it, but the reason for mastering nature comes from nature. The fear of death on which Hobbes relied, and which is also decisive for Locke, insists on the negative experience of nature and obliterates the positive experience presupposed by it. This positive experience is somehow still active in us; we are full of vague dissatisfactions in our forgetfulness, but our minds must make an enormous effort to find the natural sweetness of life in its fullness. The way back is at least as long as the one that brought us here. For Hobbes and Locke nature is near and unattractive, and man's movement into society was easy and unambiguously good. For Rousseau nature is distant and attractive, and the movement was hard and divided man. Just when nature seemed to have been finally cast out or overcome in us, Rousseau gave birth to an overwhelming longing for it in us. Our lost wholeness is there. One is reminded of Plato's Symposium, but there the longing for wholeness was directed toward knowledge of the ideas, of the ends. In Rousseau longing is, in its initial expression, for the enjoyment of the primitive feelings, found at the origins in the state of nature. Plato would have united with Rousseau against the bourgeois in his insistence on the essential humanness of longing for the good, as opposed to careful avoidance of the bad. Neither longing nor enthusiasm belongs to the bourgeois. The story of philosophy and the arts under Rousseau's influence has been the search for, or fabrication of, plausible objects of longing to counter bourgeois well-being and self-satisfaction. Part of that story has been the bourgeois' effort to acquire the culture of longing as part of its self-satisfaction.

"The opposition between nature and society is Rousseau's interpretation of the cause of the dividedness of man. He finds that the bourgeois experiences this dividedness in conflict between self-love and love-of-others, inclination and duty, sincerity and hypocrisy, being oneself and being alienated. This opposition between nature and society pervades all modern discussion of the human problem. Hobbes and Locke made the distinction in order to overcome all the tensions caused in man by the demands of virtue, and then to make wholeness easy for him. They thought that they had reduced the distance between inclination and duty by deriving all duty from inclination; Rousseau argued that, if anything, they had increased that distance. He thus restored the older, pre-modern sense of the dividedness of man and hence of the complexity of his attainment of happiness, the pursuit of which liberal society guarantees him while making its attainment impossible. But the restoration takes place on very different grounds, as can be seen in the fact that in the past men traced the tension to the irreconcilable demands of body and soul, not of nature and society. This too opens up a rich field for reflection on Rousseau's originality. The blame shifts, and the focus of the perennial quest for unity is altered. Man was born whole, and it is at least conceivable that he become whole once again. Hope and despair of a kind not permitted by the body-soul distinction arise. What one is to think of oneself and one's desires changes. The correctives range from revolution to therapy, but there is little place for the confessional or for mortification of the flesh. Rousseau's Confessions were, in opposition to those of Augustine, intended to show that he was born good, that the body's desires are good, that there is no original sin. Man's nature has been maimed by a long history; and now he must live in society, for which he is not suited and which makes impossible demands on him. There is either an uneasy acquiescence to the present or the attempt in one way or another to return to the past, or the search for a creative synthesis of the two poles, nature and society." The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom, Simon & Schuster, 1987, pp. 167-170 (and from Emile, Rousseau, pp. 39-40, ed. Bloom, Basic Books, 1979).


"Lockean natural man, who is really identical to his civil man, whose concern with comfortable self-preservation makes him law-abiding and productive, is not all that natural. Rousseau quickly pointed out that Locke, in his eagerness to find a simple or automatic solution to the political problem, made nature do much more than he had a right to expect a mechanical, nonteleological nature to do. Natural man would be brutish, hardly distinguishable from any of the other animals, unsociable and neither industrious nor rational, but, instead, idle and nonrational, motivated exclusively by feelings or sentiments. Having cut off the higher aspirations of man, those connected with the soul, Hobbes and Locke hoped to find a floor beneath him, which Rousseau removed. Man tumbled down into what I have called the basement, which now appears bottomless. And there, down below, Rousseau discovered all the complexity in man that, in the days before Machiaveli, was up on high. Locke had illegitimately selected those parts of man he needed for his social contract and suppressed all the rest, a theoretically unsatisfactory procedure and practically costly one. The bourgeois is the measure of the price paid, he who most of all cannot afford to look to his real self, who denies the existence of the thinly boarded-over basement in him, who is most made over for the purposes of a society that does not even promise him perfection or salvation but merely buys him off. Rousseau explodes the simplistic harmoniousness between nature and society that seems to be the American premise.

"Rousseau still hoped for a soft landing on nature's true grounds, but one not easily achieved, requiring both study and effort. The existence of such a natural ground has become doubtful, and it is here that the abyss opened up. But it was Rousseau who founded the modern psychology of the self in its fullness, with its unending search for what is really underneath the surface of rationality and civility, its new ways of reaching the unconscious, and its unending task of constituting some kind of healthy harmony between above and below.

"Rousseau's intransigence set the stage for a separation of man from nature. He was perfectly willing to go along with the modern scientific understanding that a brutish being is true man. But nature cannot satisfactorily account for his difference from the other brutes, for his movement from nature to society, for his history. Descartes, playing his part in the dismantling of the soul, had reduced nature to extension, leaving out of it only the ego that observes extension. Man is, in everything but his consciousness, part of extension. Yet how he is a man, a unity, what came to be called a self, is utterly mysterious. This experienced whole, a combination of extension and ego, seems inexplicable or groundless. Body, or atoms in motion, passions, and reason are some kind of unity, but one that stands outside of the grasp of natural science. Locke appears to have invented the self to provide unity in continuity for the ceaseless temporal succession of sense impressions that would disappear into nothingness if there were no place to hold them. We can know everything in nature except that which knows nature. To the extent that man is a piece of nature, he disappears. The self gradually separates itself from nature, and its phenomena must be treated separately. Descartes' ego, in appearance invulnerable and godlike in its calm and isolation, turns out to be the tip of an iceberg floating in a fathomless and turbulent sea called the id, consciousness an epiphenomenon of the unconscious. Man is self, that now seems clear. But what is self?" The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom, Simon & Schuster, 1987, pp. 176-8.


“Solidly grounded in the transcendental certainty of nature’s laws, the modern man or woman can criticize and unveil, denounce and express indignation at irrational beliefs and unjustified dominations. Solidly grounded in the certainty that humans make their own destiny, the modern man or woman can criticize and unveil, express indignation at and denounce irrational beliefs, the biases of ideologies, and the unjustified domination of the exprets who claim to have staked out the limits of action and freedom. The exclusive transcendence of a Nature that is not our doing, and the exclusive immanence of a Society that we create through and through, would nevertheless paralyze the moderns, who would appear too impotent in the face of things and too powerful within society. What an enormous advantage to be able to reverse the principles without even the appearance of contradiction! In spite of its transcendence, Nature remains mobilizable, humanizable, socializable. Every day, laboratories, collections, centres of calculation and of profit, research bureaus and scientific institutions blend it with the multiple destinies of social groups. Conversely, even though we construct Society through and through, it lasts, it surpasses us, it dominates us, it has its own laws, it is as transcendent as Nature. For every day, laboratories, collections, centres of calculation and of profit, research bureaus and scientific institutions stake out the limits to the freedom of social groups, and transform human relations into durable objects that no one has made. The critical power of the moderns lies in this double language: they can mobilize Nature at the heart of social relationships, even as they leave Nature infinitely remote from human beings; they are free to make and unmake their society, even as they render its laws ineluctable, necessary and absolute.” Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Translation by Catherine Porter. Harvard University Press. 1993. Pps. 36-7.


“The trouble comes when so many of our received developmental models, as we have seen, seem to one degree or another to neglect that crucial first point–contextualism–or all the ways in which we are dynamically embedded in and arise out of a relational field from our earliest beginnings of or as self–while most of the perspectives that do address relationship, social context, culture and so forth are not developmental.” Wheeler, Gordon. “The Developing Field: Toward a Gestalt Developmental Model.” From The Heart of Development; Gestalt Approaches to Working with Children, Adolescents and Their Worlds. Edited by Gordon Wheeler & Mark McConville, Gestalt Press, 2002. Pps. 37-82. P. 42.


“... when it becomes understood that information without subjects is a fiction, this thesis will change the whole of science. Would this be the reason why cognitive science sticks to this fiction in spite of its proven absurdity?” Hoffmeyer, Jesper. “The Changing Concept of Information in the Study of Life.” Paper prepared for the Symposium “Nature and Culture in the Development of Knowledge: A Quest for Missing Links.” Uppsala, 8-11 September 1993. P. 13. [Quote acknowledges Searle, Rediscovery of the Mind, 1992 and Nagel, The Mind Wins, The New York Review of Books XL, (5), pp 37-41., 1993.]


“It’s no accident that therapeutic techniques in general are so akin to the Method developed at the Actors Studio. Getting in touch with your feelings is the aim in both settings. And getting in touch with your feelings is a reflexive process that transforms the immediate into the mediated. you learn, through that process, how to have your feelings, how to express your feelings–which means: how to perform them.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 10.


“So that’s a baseline for comparison. What it teaches us is this: in a mediated world, the opposite of real isn’t phony or illusional or fictional–it’s optional. Idiomatically, we recognize this when we say, ‘The reality is ...,’ meaning something that has to be dealt with, something that isn’t an option. We are most free of mediation, we are most real, when we are at the disposal of accident and necessity. That’s when we are not being addressed. That’s when we go without the flattery intrinsic to representation.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 14.


“Awareness of ‘culture’ was once the prerogative of a very few reflective individuals. In the postmodern world it is common sense. In that awareness, the ethos of mediation is established. Academics express all this in a jargon about the social construction of race and gender–and of truth and value in general. But mediated people everywhere know that identity and lifestyle are constructs, something to have. The objects and places and mannerisms that constitute our life-world are intentionally representational. What cultures traditionally provided was taken-for-granted custom, a form of necessity–hence of reality. Options are profoundly, if subtly, different, and so are the people who live among and through them.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 14-5.


“Because the fact of the matter is that Disneyfication and diversity, say, are indissoluble aspects of the same gigantic phenomenon. It makes no sense, in the end, to be ‘for’ one and ‘against’ the other in any sort of an ideological way. You can’t have those inspiring CD-ROMs on the civil rights movement without Jerry Bruckheimer war movies. You can’t expect to accommodate Latino culture without a talking Chihuahua in a Che beret. Kermit the Frog gives college commencement addresses because no dominant discourse now determines value–and vice versa.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 31.


“Having access to psychotalk doesn’t guarantee mental health. But it does reflect an inner distance, a mediational relationship within the self, an ironic self-awareness in the broad sense, which often translates into ironic self-description in the narrow sense as well.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 40.


“But, though children have always offered such moments to their elders, entrenched in routines, it is unclear to me whether adults in traditional societies would want to grasp the opportunities. Wouldn’t ‘that’s just what people do’ seem like an entirely adequate reply? Wouldn’t a myth about the origin of the handshake be ready to hand? In any case, the gift of such a moment could not have been as precious in a traditional society as it is to us now, when everything is presented and re-presented, when the routines we follow are less entrenched than at anytime in human history (think of all the ways there are to shake hands–or bump fists). Because we are so deeply and constantly, if half-consciously, aware of the arbitrariness of the ways of our lives, because we are haunted by the knowledge that everything could be otherwise, because this is our framing state of mind–that’s why we have become the child’s ideal audience. The ‘out-of-the-mouths-of-babes’ effect has its revelatory character for us because we are perpetually on the brink of realizations they accomplish and complete.

“But why is this revelation–coming from a child, as opposed to a lecture in cultural anthropology, say–so very poignant? Another ironic doubling is at work; get used to it. This is the way of the Blob. The child’s-eye view of this mediated world is the view of one who has no choice but to live in it. That is, for the child, there is no difference in kind between our world, saturated with representations and options, and an African savannah in the Paleolithic. To a child, thrown into an individual existence, they are equally given.

“Through the eyes of a child, the world we know as a construct becomes a mysterious necessity once again.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 42-3.


“I once had a senior in a philosophy class who declared that he was, at that very moment, conceiving of a square circle. After some questioning, and good-natured teasing, he finally admitted his concept was ‘a little vague.’ Other students were skeptical, but they would not categorically deny that he was thinking of what he said he was thinking of. They weren’t entitled to tell him what was in his own mind. They wouldn’t want anyone telling them what they were thinking.

“Which leads to how ready most kids are to assent to solipsism, the ultimate form of relativism, in philosophical discussion. The idea that everyone has their own reality, constituted by their own experiences and perceptions, comes almost automatically. It feels like common sense. And for good reason. The everyday MeWorld they are constructing out of all the representational options that surround them reflects their own tastes and judgments back at them constantly–think of a teenager’s bedroom–that MeWorld they have been taught they are entitled to, morphs quite naturally into solipsism when they come to talk philosophy; they don’t miss a beat. I can’t count the times I’ve been struck by how spontaneously students come to agreement on the essential idea that we create our own realities–how the discussion becomes general when the topic arises, how they look at each other and nod and smile together, how they complete each other’s sentences, how their eyes and tones of voice express reciprocal affirmation of their separate sovereignties.

“They are acknowledging a tacit social contract.

“Niceness, then, becomes a central value for well-adjusted mediated people. It animates a certain kind of very flexible self-awareness that depends on habitual reflexivity about emotions and relationships. It enables a mediated self to negotiate a social topography of unprecedented complexity and fluidity. In order to be the author of your being and becoming in a virtualized environment, you need to know yourself within the context of your possibilities, your optional selves–some of which are open to you, like career, procreation, sexual habits, hobbies, friends, etc., and some of which are not, like being gay or being Asian.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 77-8.


“Take the most striking example since the rise of rock and roll: hip-hop. Hip-hop nation, they called it, and with good reason, for this has been what a ‘nation’ looks like in a world of post-territorial communal entities. Hip-hop’s stars have been heroes to millions all over the world. Their influence reaches to Serbia and Indonesia, Zimbabwe and Korea, everywhere you see those shoulders rolling to propel arcane finger signs on high, proclaiming–well, the content varies, of course; if you think this is just about bling and gangstas, then you’re like people who thought the Beatles were just about long hair. Iraqi insurgents in Sadr City, for example, make hip-hop CDs to recruit for the cause of militant Islam. Yes, the content varies greatly, clothes, tags, techniques–the messages, above all, are varied, but the overall form is uniform, and identifiable style, and it says me, me, me, in your face, me.

“That’s the essential attitude. That’s what those heroes model, that’s what they teach, because attitude is what the fans crave, it’s what gets them through the day, through the barrage of fragmented stimuli in this ocean of representation we all have to navigate, in something like one piece. Attitude comes as close to authenticity as the ethos of reflexivity allows. Attitude is all surface. It hides nothing. It governs a perpetually improvised unfolding. It leaves no room for perspective to take up a position within it. It eludes the internal contradictions of depth. It is self-reference without division. It is preadapted to inhabit a virtualized world, to move on always, to glide over moments, to sustain itself across engagements, to be just what it is and nothing else.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 98-9.


“Attitude is the ethic of a society of surfaces. Like Dubya’s simplicity. Like Blair’s sincerity. Like Cheney’s in-chargeness and Rumsfeld’s directness. Like Bill Clinton’s empathy. Like Hillary Clinton’s pluck, Kerry’s gravity, Edwards’s optimism. Attitude is real–as in keepin’ it real–because it cannot be false. There is nothing else to it.

“That is what accounts for the absence of shame that everyone has been remarking on lately, especially since Clinton, but elsewhere too–Rush Limbaugh and Dick Morris and Governor John G. Rowland, the corporate bandits, and the whole reality-TV, Jerry Springer world for that matter. You wouldn’t expect actors to feel shame on behalf of their characters, would you? Mediated people who identify themselves with attitude are similarly immune. They have transcended the old-fashioned keeping-up-appearances thing, which, when it crumbles, crumbles into shame. People who identify with attitude have nothing to hide that could be exposed in any crumbling. They may lie, but they can’t get caught. Even when they’re caught, they aren’t caught.

“They just move on. Sustained by attitude.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 100.


“But the explanation that comes closest to the one I’m proposing is the most favored of all, and it says that real heroes have been replaced by sports and entertainment stars. And that’s exactly right, as far as it goes. But the tone that goes with this most favored explanation shows how short it falls from understanding the phenomenon it only identifies. The tone is typically critical–as in scolding. It laments the loss and calls for reform. It implies that we can fix the situation. It suggests that if we somehow got our act together and did a better job of presenting, we would have real heroes again.

“But the situation is better understood if we rephrase the favored explanation. Put it this way instead: real heroes must become stars if they are to exist in public culture at all.

“That is, they must perform. But as soon as they do that, they can’t compete with the real stars–who are performers.

“How neat is that?

“True enough, then, each favored explanation to its own worldview sufficient–but the threshold effect that frames the whole cultural shift goes unremarked. Once again, a Blobby law of paradox determines a whole panoply of specific transitions, camouflaging the workings of reflexivity. The conventional wisdom comes in pieces. How to fit them together?

“The key to synthesis lies in this fact: the essence of real heroes in the good old days–Newton and Napoleon and Goethe, say–was that they were, as heroes, essentially unreal. They were not known as people at all. They were their works and deeds, they were their myths. Nelson and Byron and Lincoln were basically fictional constructs, even in their own lifetimes. They were the inventions of the people who idolized them, on the basis of a few stories and images–so very few, and so infrequent. That is what must be understood: the whole dynamic is a function of representational quantity and quality.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 106-7.


“In effect, they kept saying, ‘Yeah, okay, Jordan looks like a digitized special effect in all the slow-mo replays and commercials, but, during the game itself, he has to make the shot. He really did make that buzzer-beating shot to win against the Jazz in the NBA finals of 1997. That was an incredible performance, a historic moment in the history of the game, and was real.’

“One day, the word ‘game’ jumped out at me. Suddenly I understood why, in spite of unprecedented excesses of commodification and representation, sports could retain their peculiar authenticity.

“They were already games.

“Sports were thus inoculated against the virtualizing effects of mediation.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 112.


“Today’s issues are iconic. That means, above all, that they have no comprehensive basis, no foundation in principles rooted in serious thought about the human condition as opposed to blind dogma and one’s sense of self. Take a position on an iconic issue–immigration, abortion, gay marriage, minimum wage, whatever-and what are you doing? Expressing your identity and promoting the interests of the group you identify with–and so on, down the list of issues, the items bundled in accordance with the needs and tastes of whoever does the choosing.

“But why did grounded issues evaporate into self-expressive or self-interested options?

“Because, in an age of relentless and ubiquitous representation, the scarcest resource is attention.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 142-3.


“That accounts for the spoiled-bully quality in Bush. He is driven to assert himself constantly, looking for the resistance that would test his mettle if it were ever there. The compulsive teasing, admonishing, nicknaming–the symbolic subordination of people around him, people with no choice but to collaborate with his humor at their own expense–these forms of dominance can never be entirely convincing. Hence the aura of puppetry around him, arising from the repeated deployment of mannerisms that have never quite settled in.

“All of this means that Bush habitually breaks the cardinal rule of Method acting. He commits the sin of ‘indicating.’

“As opposed to just reacting and being in the moment. ‘Indicating’ means that instead of letting your face and voice and body do whatever they do when you react to whatever is going on around you or try to fulfill whatever intention you have within you–instead of that ‘letting,’ you impose some expression on yourself that signals what you want to get across. Think silent movie actors striking poses, for an extreme example.

“But they can’t be accused of indicating because they weren’t Method actors to begin with. For them, acting was posing. But Bush is trying to be himself, to act himself. He is indicating because all the little ways he has that don’t quite ring true are attempts to perform who he is, or thinks he is. But this awkwardness helps him with his followers because, like him, they think of it as an emblem of authenticity. They never did like Slick Willie.

“In any case, Bush took up the tropes of world-historical leadership after 9/11 in the same way he assumed his Texas-style manhood. He practiced them as diligently as he followed his workout schedule, one day at a time, never deviating, with Laura presiding, you may be sure–for it was she who first set him on the straight and narrow. And he was sustained in this discipline by his cast of courtiers, all of whom understood their fundamental role. After all, if you were in the Bush White House during the months leading up to the Fall of Saddam, you were, above all, thrilled with your proximity to power in a truly historic moment. Everyone in your life knew you were there, and when you went home for the holiday, the hush around the table when you told your stories was almost reverent. So you had a big investment in the credibility of it all. You understood that in order to make the whole show convincing, even to yourself, you had to believe in the boss’s act. You had, for example, to be inspired by his bizarre serenity in the run-up to the war, even though, on some level, you knew that he was congenitally hyper, the very opposite of serene. He may have been indifferent to the consequences for foreigners of his decisions, but that wasn’t serenity, and you knew that, but you stuck to the script because your own particular luster derived from it.

“The investment of the courtiers in the script only deepens as a function of media coverage, of course. Watching it, for them, gets to be like watching the dailies with the director in his trailer after a shoot. They watch, and they compare what they see to coverage of comparable moments–the Cuban missile crisis, say–and, inevitably, they find themselves playing to the coverage they hope to get when history tells the tale. This may be the most self-conscious crew of historical actors that ever lived, but, unlike Clintonian hipsters, many of whom would have enjoyed speculating about their own reflexivity, the Bushites have been willfully clueless. No irony allowed.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 165-6.


“... middle-class people used to dress up for social encounters of all kinds. They dressed up to go out–to a restaurant, to a play, to a museum, to travel by train or plane–a certain formality was expected of private people when they appeared in public places. The rise of the casual was an aspect of the rise of naturalism in our social performances generally, a development that echoed the shift to Method acting in specifically theatrical contexts, as we have noted. And, of course, all of this was ultimately an expression of the flattered self’s new claims upon the world. I mean, if Mr. Rogers loves me just the way I am, why shouldn’t you?

“Virtually extended, such claims become authorial. Not only are you free to be just the way you are, and free to change as well, but everything around you also reflects that. Interacting with digital entities contributes to the construction of that portable bubble so many of us are getting accustomed to living in. Remote control sovereignty over every gizmo in your environment, your living space, your online nooks and parlors, of course, but even when you are physically on the move. The iPod. Chatting on your hands-free, caller ID-equipped cell phone as you walk across the park, everything that isn’t summoned by you, for you, flows by like streaming video on some random screen in a foyer–that’s what the external world gets reduced to when we are snuggled down in MeWorld.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 176.


“Summing up: Performative habitualities in a mediated adulthood that dims down the horizon of options through immersion in a numbing routine allow many of us to feel relatively real.

“Especially if we have a lot on our plate. And that is the ultimate reason we make sure that we do. That’s why we take on more–more appointments, more projects, more health and grooming aids, more acquaintances, more appliances, more pastimes. Besides, it’s all good, or might turn out to be good, so why shouldn’t I have it? Why shouldn’t I have it all?

Overscheduled busyness might seem, at first glance, to be the opposite of numbness. But it is the active aspect of living in a flood of surfaces, keeping pace with everything that’s coming at you. Consider the guiding metaphor again. The (absence of) sensation that is physical numbness is constituted by a multitude of thrills and tingles reaching a level of frequency and multiplicity beyond which you feel nothing. The numbness of busyness works on the same principle, but it is less obvious because it relies upon its agents to abide by an agreement they must keep hidden, even from themselves.

“The agreement is this: we will so conduct ourselves that everything becomes an emergency.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 189.


“Actually, though, stress dramas are about the working lives of the media people who make them. This is a fundamental insight, another example of the unnoticed ways that media saturates experience. Stress dramas purport to be about the White House or hospitals or law firms, but what they are really about is what it is like to make shows for a living, about high-stakes teamwork in the land of celebrity where, by definition, everything matters more than it does anywhere else, a land that welcomes diversity and foibles as long as the job gets done, a land where everything personal, unconditional, intimate–everything unbounded by the task–takes place on the side. That’s why, in these shows through which the celebrated teach the rest of us how to be like them, moments of heartfelt encounter that make it all worthwhile are stolen in the corridors of power, while the verdict is awaited. Now and then, we get that real-folks-rushing-to-get-out-of-the-house-in-the-morning scene, but that just underscores the priority of the flow of events that protects the busy from the danger of being left alone in the stillness with what supposedly makes it all worthwhile. Lest direction be lost, motion must be maintained.

“So life in a flood of surfaces that demand attention means a life of perpetual motion, and TV provides the model in other modes as well. Take the transitions from story to story in newscasts, that finishing-with-a-topic moment. ‘Whether these supplies, still piling up on the docks after three weeks of intense effort by these frustrated humanitarian workers, will actually reach the victims [pause] remains to be seen.’ A hint of a sigh, a slight shake of the head, eyes down-turning; the note of seasoned resignation. Profound respect is thus conveyed for the abandoned topic even as a note of anticipation rises to welcome the (also interesting but less burdensome) next topic–and a cut to a new camera angle back at the anchor desk makes clear that a stern and external necessity, rather than any human agency, governs the shift from two minutes on mass starvation to three minutes on Janet Jackson’s tit.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 192-3.


“Yet another revelation in a slang expression that bubbled up and caught on. ‘Real time’ as opposed to what exactly? Well, as opposed to representations that aren’t simultaneous with whatever they represent. Instantaneous stock market info–but not just snapshots, the flow across the mediational screen as events occur. Hence, ‘real time.’ That’s the paradigm case.

“Anything less than that must count, by implication, as ‘unreal time.’ Any representation that lags behind or previews and/or otherwise selects from the actual stream of events is in unreal time.

“It follows that we live in unreal time a lot of the time. Of course, we are always in real time at one level. While you are absorbed in a movie, you are also ticking along biologically, moment by moment, in the same way that you would be if you were peeling potatoes or walking the dog. So unreal time should be understood as an add-on, a dimension attached to real time that takes us out of it and inserts us into alternative flows.

“Of which there are so many. You could be absorbed in a book instead of a movie–Abigail Adam’s biography, say. Or listening to messages on your answering machine or reading your e-mail or watching TV, of course, especially that–though, come to think of it, TV is often live, which has to be reckoned as real time I suppose? That means that, with TV, you are sort of flickering in and out of real time depending on what’s on, in addition to always being in your own real time, in the sense that you are lying on your couch. But that formulation leads to the realization that, when you are absorbed in any representation, you are nevertheless aware, at least peripherally, of the medium–of the book or the remote in your hand, the keyboard under your fingers, the screen as a screen. So we are living a fusion of real and unreal time, an ongoing undulation of overlays and intersections.

“You know what it’s most like? It’s most like the way good old-fashioned thinking and imagining work in relation to sensing and perceiving! How obvious that is. But what it says is pretty consequential. It says that back before representational technologies developed, before literacy itself, people were also living in a fusion of real and unreal time because they were often daydreaming while they were doing this or that. Just having a mind is to be in unreal time as well as in real time.

“But what that says is that representational technologies have colonized our minds.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 195-6.


“When the term first arose, ‘real time’ implied speed, intensified velocity. The medium doing the representing was transforming reality into representation immediately. The expression was first used in connection with digital processing of information. It was a term of praise that focused on how fast a computer could record and file transactions as compared with paper-shuffling clerks. It wasn’t until the fact that computers could keep up with events was taken for granted that we noticed that security cameras in public places were real-time media too. And nothing seems slower than those! How strange. Why is that?

“No editing.

“No manipulation of what is presented.

“In the same way, an innovation like video conferencing could surprise us with a real-time capacity that the telephone had all along. But we only noticed that a lot of analog media were in real time after computers achieved sufficient processing speed to do it too. It was the malleability of digital transformations that made the difference. The fact that we could now manipulate what had once just been conveyed on a screen or over a wire, that’s what got the juices going. That’s why ‘interactive’ became the mother of all buzz words. The idea of real time emerged when we became players on screens we had once viewed passively. The fusional loop of subject-object that is a video game expresses most cogently the thrill of real-time existence in unreal realms. You tweak the joystick and press the buttons and virtual swords flash and machine guns blaze in some tunnel on an asteroid in a distant galaxy–not as a result of, but as a function of, at the same time as, your fingers on the console. You exist as agent and instrument simultaneously in two places, in the meat world of fingers and consoles and the virtual world of cyborg warriors. Representational being incarnate. The primordial aim of the human imagination realized–literally ‘made real.’” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 197-8.


“Anyway, it was when real time emerged as a category that we began explicitly to cope with unreal time. We had to, because that’s where time pressure comes from. Just do the math. Your real time is now clogged with how many representational devices? And they are all chiming and beeping and blinking and popping up at you constantly, all of them demanding that you respond, that you push this button or that button, that you listen to this or scan that, that you point and click this way or that, copy and paste, CC and forward, delete and download and print out and xerox–on and on. So you equip yourself with speed dial and Tivo, call-waiting and chain mail, split screen, spam filter, buddy list, and avatars–on and on. Which equipment proceeds to feed back positively into the representational existence of others, similarly equipped–and on and on again.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 198-9.


“So there’s an unreachable bottleneck right there at the tail end of the funnel, where the representational flood comes up against the human sensory system and the screen of human consciousness. And that’s where all the interesting psychological effects related to speed and volume occur. If you don’t want to sink, you learn to surf; you have to. You learn how to go fast, but smooth, through a huge amount of stuff–at work, at home, in the store, in the street. Multitasking means learning how to double back and reshuffle at the least hint of resistance, it means missing most of what goes on around you but learning not to regret it because nothing is that much more valuable than anything else, it means learning how to coast through meetings on zero information, it means learning how to ripple through your face-to-face dealings in the meat world as adeptly as a star techie navigates a new piece of software.

“For the ‘lightness’–let’s try that expression–of digital transactions sets a standard, stylistically speaking, attitudinally speaking. You are compensated for the loss of buffers and boundaries built into the old real world of separated times and places, by an overall muffling of experience in general. The muted, gliding, plasmic poofs and puffs and pings of desktop alias and window behavior, the rippling minimalism of point-and-click transactions, the murmur of shuffling e-mails–it’s all so easy, so you do more, more checking to see, more forwarding, more CCing, more browsing; it’s all so easy, so insulated, compared with actual human encounters and the clumsy stubbornness of implements and furnishings in the physical realm, things you have to handle, things with weight, things that have other sides, things that insist on being what they are.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 202-3.


“But I suspect it is the cumulative influence of all the devices in my life–from dishwashers to microwaves to computer programs–that do so many things people like my grandfather used to do for themselves, when there was no other way.

“It’s also mass-produced disposability, as a feature of so many of the physical things we are still obliged to handle. Razors, lighters, cups, cameras, pens, plastic utensils, the list goes on and on.

“You can’t respect such things. They aren’t even things, really; they have no singularity. I want to say that such objects come as close to being desktop icons as physical utility allows. After all, when you throw them away there’s nothing to miss.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 206.


“But people who know better, people dedicated to protecting and conserving, people who ‘love nature’–they are the ones who experience it as limited, contingent, fragile, and, above all, contained. Contained by ecological understanding, by maps, by laws. And ‘contained’ implies packaged–which always means optional. Optional, both in the sense that it is threatened and in the sense that one chooses to save it, to be in it, to appreciate it. The core experience of such a person, hiking the back country of Alaska, say, is best rendered in this way: the wilderness around her represents itself.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 212.


“Accident–and necessity. Back to that again. Together, they constitute the real, and nature once reigned supreme as the source of both. Where they hold sway, we do not. They are what comes from beyond. Preserved, contained, domesticated–nature can’t deliver like she used to but some folks go to great lengths trying to recover her original power and meaning.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 213.


“It turns Mt. Everest into ‘Mt. Everest.’

“This is not curmudgeonly nostalgia. The point is not ‘so many people have climbed Mt. Everest that it isn’t a big deal anymore.’ It is a big deal. Climbers die. Frequently. No, the point is that Mt. Everest isn’t Mt. Everest anymore because it has become its own icon. Materially it is the same, of course (though apparently there is a litter problem now)–but that’s exactly why mediational reflexivity can’t be confronted or opposed in these paradigm cases. Mediation crosses an ontological threshold when a thing can become its own simulation. At that point, mediation transcends physical platforms of representation. It’s everywhere and nowhere. It’s like a shadow–we’ve made that comparison before–or like a ghost, a haunting.

“It’s a way things are.

“A man with no legs, with very special equipment, got to the top of Mt. Everest recently. Anyone with a disabled friend, or with sufficient moral imagination, will celebrate his achievement, of course. The Justin’s Helmet Principle applies. Only a mean-spirited reactionary would begrudge that brave fellow his moment of glory.

“Still. Something has been lost. If we are tempted to deny it, it’s only because there’s nothing we can do about it.

“Here’s the overall situation. When people reach for the real through such strenuous encounters, natural settings get transformed into performance sites.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 215-6.


“It helps if the only people talking about this development–modernity in general, cloning in particular–in terms of displacing or replacing God are those fundamentalists. That could be why you might not want to think about things in these terms. Nietzsche did, though, and that’s good enough for me. He understood that you don’t have to believe in God in order to recognize Him as a major historical player. Unmasking power, exposing its various guises, especially the humble ones–that was Nietzsche’s mission. And the power of the flattered self at the center of the field of representations in this mediated age has been very effectively disguised. Look, we could always say, I don’t have power, it’s the, the rich and famous ones, those corporations, those prime ministers and presidents, look over there, don’t look at me.

“If you’re wondering why no one has exposed you before, its’ because everybody who addresses you wants to please you. They want you reclining there, on the anonymous side of the screen, while they parade before you, purveyors of every conceivable blandishment, every form of pleasure, every kind of comfort and consolation, every kind of thrill, every kind of provocation–anything you want. You’re the customer, after all, you’re the voter, you’re the reader, you’re the viewer–you’re the boss.

“So, naturally, everyone who addresses you is kissing your ass.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 267-8.


“‘Proprietorial humanism’–to contrast with Renaissance humanism, the kind they introduce in high school history, Erasmus and da Vinci and so on. Renaissance humanism took classical antiquity as a model in order to leverage itself out of the Middle Ages. That’s the basic story line there. What I’m calling proprietorial humanism emerged later, in the seventeenth century, as moderns decided they had surpassed the ancients by dint of achievements in what they called the ‘useful arts’–that is, technology and all its systematic applications.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 270.


“People began to make themselves as they remade the world. And these self-made people and their projects flourished, succeeded–they just took over.

“That is the essence of proprietorial humanism.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 271.


“Like surreality, virtuality is a hue that’s visible only to the eye of the mind, but in another mood. And these two hues are like Platonic opposites, like heat and cold. Where the one enters, the other recedes. To the extent that Rockefeller Center is haunted by the surrealizing possibility of terror, it won’t feel like a theme park mock-up of Rockefeller Center, a simulation of itself, which was the way it had come to feel in recent decades.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. P. 288.


“Almost anything you can think of makes sense these days. That’s part of the unrepresentable mood that eludes mediation at the dawn of the age of terror.

“But they can try anyway, and they will, and, for as long as nothing else happens, they will come close enough to satisfy most of us–accustomed as we are to semblances. A New America is on the drawing boards for the twenty-first century. Various versions are being designed and promoted, and the great assembly of flattered selves is shopping again, shopping for a representation of the world that will distract us most convincingly from the reality of unrepresentable possibility. As the chosen versions, whatever they turn out to be, take hold of the way everything gets represented, and therefore, eventually, of the way everything gets constituted, the surreal atmosphere will dissipate and virtuality will fuse with reality again, to create a good-enough semblance of normality. Masses of people who found themselves and their world projected into the existential nothing after 9/11, will find relief from that state of suspense, and great industries will be devoted to providing it, and profiting from that provision.” De Zengotita, Thomas. 2005. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Bloomsbury. Pp. 290-1.


“Almost invariably, they [missionaries] end up trying to convince people to be more selfish and more altruistic at the same time. On the one hand, they set out to teach the ‘natives’ proper work discipline, and try to get them involved with buying and selling products on the market, so as to better their material lot. At the same time, they explain to them that ultimately, material things are unimportant, and lecture on the value of the higher things, such as selfless devotion to others.

“Might this not help to explain why the United States, the most market-driven, industrialized society on earth, is also among the most religious? Or, even more strikingly, why the country that produced Tolstoy and Dostoevsky spent much of the twentieth century trying to eradicate both the market and religion entirely?” Graeber, David. 2007. “Army of Altruists: On the Alienated Right to Do Good.” Harper’s Magazine. January P. 34.


“Consider, for a moment, the word ‘value.’ When economists talk about value they are really talking about money–or, more precisely, about whatever it is that money is measuring; also, whatever it is that economic actors are assumed to be pursuing. When we are working for a living, or buying and selling things, we are rewarded with money. But whenever we are not working or buying or selling, when we are motivated by pretty much anything other than the desire to get money, we suddenly find ourselves in the domain of ‘values.’ The most commonly invoked of these are, of course, ‘family values,’ but we also talk about religious values, political values, the values that attach themselves to art or patriotism–one could even, perhaps, count loyalty to one’s favorite basketball team. All are seen as commitments that are, or ought to be, uncorrupted by the market. At the same time, they are also seen as utterly unique; whereas money makes all things comparable, ‘values’ such as beauty, devotion, or integrity cannot, by definition, be compared. Graeber, David. 2007. “Army of Altruists: On the Alienated Right to Do Good.” Harper’s Magazine. January P. 36.
 

“Another snapshot: People around the world are affixing stickers showing Yellow Arrows (http://global.yellowarrow.net) alongside public monuments and factories, beneath highway overpasses, onto lamp posts. The arrows provide numbers others can call to access recorded voice messages–personal annotations on our shared urban landscape. They use it to share a beautiful vista or criticize an irresponsible company. And increasingly, companies are co-opting the system to leave their own advertising pitches.”

“Convergence, as we can see, is both a top-down corporate-driven process and a bottom-up consumer-driven process. Corporate convergence coexists with grassroots convergence. Media companies are learning how to accelerate the flow of media content across delivery channels to expand revenue opportunities, broaden markets, and reinforce viewer commitments. Consumers are learning how to use these different media technologies to bring the flow of media more fully under their control and to interact with other consumers. The promises of this new media environment raise expectations of a freer flow of ideas and content. Inspired by those ideals, consumers are fighting for the right to participate more fully in their culture. Sometimes, corporate and grassroots convergence reinforce each other, creating closer, more rewarding relations between media producers and consumers. Sometimes, these two forces are at war and those struggles will redefine the face of American popular culture.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 18.


“This resemblance to life is not mere coincidence; the thin planetary patina of humanity and its creations is truly a living entity. It is a ‘superorganism’–a community of organisms so fully tied together that it is a single living being. Rather than refer to this entity with a term filled with prior associations, let’s start fresh and simply call it ‘Metaman,’ meaning ‘beyond, and transcending, humans.’ This name both acknowledges humanity’s key role in the entity’s formation and stresses that, though human centered, it is more than just humanity. Metaman is also the crops, livestock, machines, buildings, communications transmissions, and other nonhuman elements and structures that are part of the human enterprise.” Stock, Gregory. Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism. 1993. Simon & Schuster. P. 20.


"Industry insiders use the term 'extension' to refer to their efforts to expand the potential markets by moving content across different delivery systems, 'synergy' to refer to the economic opportunities represented by their ability to own and control all of those manifestations, and 'franchise' to refer to their coordinated effort to brand and market fictional content under these new conditions. Extension, synergy, and franchising are pushing media industries to embrace convergence." Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 19.


“Far from marginal, fans are the central players in a courtship dance between consumers and marketers. As one noted industry guide explains, ‘Marketing in an interactive world is a collaborative process with the marketer helping the consumer to buy and the consumer helping the marketer to sell.’” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 73-4.


“‘What we learned from Blair Witch is that if you give people enough stuff to explore, they will explore. Not everyone but some of them will. The people who do explore and take advantage of the whole world will forever be your fans, will give you an energy you can’t buy through advertising .... It’s this web of information that is laid out in a way that keeps people interested and keeps people working for it. If people have to work for something they devote more time to it. And they give it more emotional value.’” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 103. Quote is from Ed Sanchez, a member of the Blair Witch Project team.


“The old Hollywood system depended on redundancy to ensure that viewers could follow the plot at all times, even if they were distracted or went out to the lobby for a popcorn refill during a crucial scene. The new Hollywood demands that we keep our eyes on the road at all times, and that we do research before we arrive at the theater.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 103-4.


“As an experienced screenwriter told me, ‘When I first started, you would pitch a story because without a good story, you didn’t really have a film. Later, once sequels started to take off, you pitched a character because a good character could support multiple stories. And now, you pitch a world because a world can support multiple characters and multiple stories across multiple media.’” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 114.


“Jane McGonigal, who worked with some of the Puppetmasters to develop the follow-up game Ilovebees, calls the genre alternate reality gaming (ARG). She defines ARGs as ‘an interactive drama played out online and real world spaces, taking place over several weeks or months, in which dozens, hundreds, thousands of players come together online, form collaborative social networks, and work together to solve a mystery or problem that would be absolutely impossible to solve alone.’” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 125-6.


“McGonigal is more skeptical that the groups are ready to tackle such large-scale problems [speaking of online game communities who try to bring their collective intelligence skills to tackling complex social and political issues], suggesting that their game-play experience has given them a ‘subjective’ sense of empowerment that may exceed their actual resources and abilities. Yet, what interests me here is the connection the group is drawing between game play and civic engagement and also the ways this group, composed of people who share common cultural interests but not necessarily ideological perspectives, might work together to arrive at ‘rational’ solutions to complex policy issues.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 233.


“Against the pessimism many found at the heart of the story, ‘the image of humans living in fear of technology’s ubiquitous eye,’ they had their own experience of ‘cooperative behavior that takes advantage of the powers of a group mind.’ The game’s content taught them to fear the future; the game’s play experience to embrace it.’” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 127-8. [Reference is to an online game, the ‘Beast,’ created to help promote the film Artificial Intelligence: A.I.]


“So far, our schools are still focused on generating autonomous learners; to seek information from others is still classified as cheating. Yet, in our adult lives, we are depending more and more on others to provide information we cannot process ourselves. Our workplaces have become more collaborative; our political process has become more decentered; we are living more and more within knowledge cultures based on collective intelligence. Our schools are not teaching what it means to live and work in such knowledge communities, but popular culture may be doing so.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P129.


“The story of American arts in the twenty-first century might be told in terms of the public reemergence of grassroots creativity as everyday people take advantage of new technologies that enable them to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content. It probably started with the photocopier and desktop publishing; perhaps it started with the videocassette revolution, which gave the public access to movie-making tools and enabled every home to have its own film library. But this creative revolution has so far culminated with the Web.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P136.


“The older American folk culture was built on borrowings from various mother countries; the modern mass media builds upon borrowings from folk culture; the new convergence culture will be built on borrowings from various media conglomerates.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 137.


“Marketers have turned our children into walking, marketing billboards who wear logos on their T-shirts, sew patches on their backpacks, plaster stickers on their lockers, hang posters on their walls, but they must not, under penalty of law, post them on their home pages.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 138.


“In some senses, this whole book has been about ‘serious fun.’ The U.S. military develops a massively multiplayer game to facilitate better communications between service people and civilians. Companies such as Coca-Cola and BMW enter the entertainment industry to create a stronger emotional engagement with their brands. Educators embrace the informal pedagogy within fan communities as a model for developing literacy skills. First Amendment groups tap young people’s interest in the Harry Potter books. ‘Fan-friendly’ churches use discussions of movies and television shows to help their congregations develop discernment skills. In each case, entrenched institutions are taking their models from grassroots fan communities, reinventing themselves for an era of media convergence and collective intelligence. So why not apply those same lessons to presidential politics? We may not overturn entrenched power overnight: nobody involved in these popular culture-inflected campaigns is talking about a revolution, digital, or otherwise. What they are talking about is a shift in the public’s role in the political process, bringing the realm of political discourse closer to the everyday life experiences of citizens; what they are talking about is changing the ways people think about community and power so that they are able to mobilize collective intelligence to transform governance; and what they are talking about is a shift from the individualized conception of the informed citizen toward that collaborative concept of a monitorial citizen.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 207-8.


“The new media operate with different principles than the broadcast media that dominated American politics for so long; access, participation, reciprocity, and peer-to-peer rather than one-to-many communication. Given such principles, we should anticipate that digital democracy will be decentralized, unevenly dispersed, profoundly contradictory, and slow to emerge. These forces are apt to emerge first in cultural forms–a changed sense of community, a greater sense of participation, less dependence on official expertise and a greater trust in collaborative problem solving ...” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 208-9.


“As we have suggested throughout this book, contemporary media is being shaped by several contradictory and concurrent trends: at the same moment that cyberspace displaces some traditional information and cultural gatekeepers, there is also an unprecedented concentration of power within old media. A widening of the discursive environment coexists with a narrowing of the range of information being transmitted by the most readily available media channels.

“The new political culture – just like the new popular culture – reflects the pull and tug of these two media systems: one broadcast and commercial, the other narrowcast and grassroots. New ideas and alternative perspectives are more likely to emerge in the digital environment, but the mainstream media will be monitoring those channels, looking for content to co-opt and circulate. Grassroots media channels depend on the shared frame of reference created by the traditional intermediaries; much of the most successful ‘viral’ content of the Web (for example, the ‘Trump Fires Bush’ video) critiques or spoofs mainstream media. Broadcasting provides the common culture, and the Web offers more localized channels for responding to that culture.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 211.


“The Daily Show, a nightly parody of news, quickly emerged as the focal point for this debate. Comedy Central offered more hours of coverage of the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Conventions than ABC, CBS, and NBC combined: the news media was walking away from historical responsibilities, and popular culture was taking its pedagogical potential more seriously. According to a study conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania,

“‘People who watch The Daily Show are more interested in the presidential campaign, more educated, younger, and more liberal than the average American .... However, those factors do not explain the difference in levels of campaign knowledge between people who watch The Daily Show and people who do not. In fact, Daily Show viewers have higher campaign knowledge than national news viewers and newspaper readers – even when education, party identification, following politics, watching cable news, receiving campaign information online, age, and gender are taken into consideration.’

“The controversy came to a head when Daily Show host Jon Stewart was invited onto CNN’s news-discussion program, Crossfire, and got into a heated argument with commentator and co-host Tucker Carlson. Carlson apparently wanted Stewart to tell jokes and promote his book, but Stewart refused to play that role: ‘I’m not going to be your monkey.’ Instead, Stewart charged the news program with corrupting the political process through partisan bickering: ‘You have a responsibility to the public discourse and you fail miserably ... You’re helping the politicians and the corporations ... You’re part of their strategies.’ The circulation of this segment, legally and illegally, brought it to the attention of many more citizens than watched the actual newscast, representing perhaps the most visible illustration of a mounting public concern over the ways media concentration was distorting public access to important information.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 224-5.


“One might imagine that a broken election within a game [an election held among members of an online game, Sims Online] might destroy any sense of empowerment in real-world politics, yet Ashley and her supporters consistently described the events as motivating them to go out and make a difference in their own communities, to become more engaged in local and national elections, and to think of a future when they might become candidates and play the political game on different terms. When something breaks in a knowledge culture, the impulse is to figure out how to fix it, because a knowledge culture empowers its members to identify problems and pose solutions. If we learn to do this through our play, perhaps we can learn to extend those experiences into actual political culture.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 232.


“Convergence does not depend on any specific delivery mechanism. Rather, convergence represents a paradigm shift – a move from medium-specific content toward content that flows across multiple media channels, toward the increased interdependence of communications systems, toward multiple ways of accessing media content, and toward ever more complex relations between top-down corporate media and bottom-up participatory culture.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P243.


“The biggest change may be the shift from individualized and personalized media consumption toward consumption as a networked practice.

“Personalized media was one of the ideals of the digital revolution in the early 1990s: digital media was going to ‘liberate’ us from the ‘tyranny’ of mass media, allowing us to consume only content we found personally meaningful. Conservative ideologue turned digital theorist George Gilder argued that the intrinsic properties of the computer pushed toward ever more decentralization and personalization. Compared to the one-size-fits-all diet of the broadcast networks, the coming media age would be a ‘feast of niches and specialties.’ An era of customized and interactive content, he argues, would appeal to our highest ambitions and not our lowest, as we enter ‘a new age of individualism.’ Consider Gilder’s ideal of ‘first choice media’ was yet another model for how we might democratize television.

“By contrast, this book has argued that convergence encourages participation and collective intelligence, a view nicely summed up by the New York Times’s Marshall Sella: ‘With the aid of the Internet, the loftiest dream for television is being realized : an odd brand of interactivity. Television began as a one-way street winding from producers to consumers, but that street is now becoming two-way. A man with one machine (a TV) is doomed to isolation, but a man with two machines (TV and a computer) can belong to a community.’ Each of the case studies shows what happens when people who have access to multiple machines consume – and produce – media together, when they pool their insights and information, mobilize to promote common interests, and function as grassroots intermediaries ensuring that important messages and interesting content circulate more broadly. Rather than talking about personal media, perhaps we should be talking about communal media – media that become part of our lives as members of communities, whether experienced face-to-face at the most local level or over the Net.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 244-5.


“Fans also reject the studio’s assumption that intellectual property is a ‘limited good,’ to be tightly controlled lest it dilute its value. Instead, they embrace an understanding of intellectual property as ‘shareware,’ something that accrues value as it moves across different contexts, gets retold in various ways, attracts multiple audiences, and opens itself up to a proliferation of alternative meanings.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. P. 256.


“Historically, public education in the United Sates was a product of the need to distribute the skills and knowledge necessary to train informed citizens. The participation gap becomes much more important as we think about what it would mean to foster the skills and knowledge needed by monitorial citizens: here, the challenge is not simply being able to read and write, but being able to participate in the deliberations over what issues matter, what knowledge counts, and what ways of knowing command authority and respect. The ideal of the informed citizen is breaking down because there is simply too much for any individual to know. The ideal of monitorial citizenship depends on developing new skills in collaboration and a new ethic of knowledge sharing that will allow us to deliberate together.

“Right now, people are learning how to participate in such knowledge cultures outside of any formal educational setting. Much of this learning takes place in the affinity spaces that are emerging around popular culture. The emergence of these knowledge cultures partially reflects the demands these texts place on consumers (the complexity of transmedia entertainment, for example), but they also reflect the demands consumers place on media (the hunger for complexity, the need for community, the desire to rewrite core stories). Many schools remain openly hostile to these kinds of experiences, continuing to promote autonomous problem solvers and self-contained learners. Here, un-authorized collaboration is cheating.” Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide. 2006. New York University Press. Pp. 258-9.


“The problem, however, is to develop more sophisticated theoretical ways of thinking about how culture shapes or constrains action, and more generally, how culture interacts with social structure. This paper has argued that these relationships vary across time and historical situation. Within established modes of life, culture provides a repertoire of capacities from which varying strategies of action may be constructed. Thus culture appears to shape action only in that the cultural repertoire limits the available range of strategies of action. Such ‘settled cultures’ are nonetheless constraining. Although internally diverse and often contradictory, they provide the ritual traditions that regulate ordinary patterns of authority and cooperation, and they so define common sense that alternative ways of organizing action seem unimaginable, or at least implausible. Settled cultures constrain action over time because of the high costs of cultural retooling to adopt new patterns of action.

“In unsettled periods, in contrast, cultural meanings are more highly articulated and explicit, because they model patterns of action that do not ‘come naturally.’ Belief and ritual practice directly shape action for the community that adheres to a given ideology.” Swidler, Ann. “Cultlure in Action: Symbols and Strategies.” American Sociological Review. 1986. Vol. 51. April: 273-286. P. 284.


“Looking to give fruition to a Durkheimian theory of punishment, the resources for which remain latent in Durkheim’s work, Smith shows that there were divergent cultural discourses surrounding the guillotine. He does not reject Foucault’s emphasis on the guillotine as representing a rational instrument of science, but argues that such a thesis has displaced, even obliterated, a more culturally sensitive account of punishment. Smith argues his historical material shows that this object was an attractor for a range of cultural discourses, some rational and functional, some irrational and emotion-laden:...” Woodward, Ian. Understanding Material Culture. 2007. Sage Publications. Pp. 94-5.
 

“Anthropologists have a habit of insisting that there is something essentially linear about the way people in modern Western societies comprehend the passage of history, generations and time. So convinced are they of this, that any attempt to find linearity in the lives of non-Western people is liable to be dismissed as mildly ethnocentric at best, and at worst as amounting to collusion in the project of colonial occupation whereby the West has ruled its lines over the rest of the world. Alterity, we are told, is non-linear. The other side of this coin, however, is to assume that life is lived authentically on the spot, in places rather than along paths. Yet how could there be places, I wondered, if people did not come and go? Life on the spot surely cannot yield an experience of place, of being somewhere. To be a place, every somewhere must lie on one or several paths of movement to and from places elsewhere. Life is lived, I reasoned, along paths, not just in places, and paths are lines of a sort. It is along paths, too, that people grow into a knowledge of the world around them, and describe this world in the stories they tell. Colonialism, then, is not the imposition of linearity upon a non-linear world, but the imposition of one kind of line on another. It proceeds first by converting the paths along which life is lived into boundaries in which it is contained, and then by joining up these now enclosed communities, each confined to one spot, into vertically integrated assemblies. Living along is one thing; joining up is quite another.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. Pp. 2-3.


“For people inhabit a world that consists, in the first place, not of things but of lines. After all, what is a thing, or indeed a person, if not a tying together of the lines – the paths of growth and movement – of all the many constituents gathered there? Originally, ‘thing’ meant a gathering of people, and a place where they would meet to resolve their affairs. As the derivation of the word suggests, every thing is a parliament of lines.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 5.


“This distinction between the walk and the assembly is the key to my argument in this chapter. I aim to show how the line, in the course of its history, has been gradually shorn of the movement that gave rise to it. Once the trace of a continuous gesture, the line has been fragmented – under the sway of modernity – into a succession of points of dots. This fragmentation, as I shall explain, has taken place in the related fields of travel, where wayfaring is replaced by destination-oriented transport, mapping, where the drawn sketch is replaced by the route-plan, and textuality, where storytelling is replaced by the pre-composed plot. It has also transformed our understanding of place: once a knot tied from multiple and interlaced strands of movement and growth, it now figures as a node in a static network of connectors. To an ever-increasing extend, people in modern metropolitan societies find themselves in environments built as assemblies of connected elements. Yet in practice they continue to thread their own ways through these environments, tracing paths as they go. I suggest that to understand how people do not just occupy but inhabit the environments in which they dwell, we might do better to revert from the paradigm of the assembly to that of the walk.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 75.


“In brief, whereas the Inuit moved through the world along paths of travel, the British sailed across what they saw as the surface of the globe. Both kinds of movement, along and across, may be described by lines, but they are lines of fundamentally different kinds. The line that goes along has, in Klee’s terms, gone out for a walk. The line that goes across, by contrast, is a connector, linking a series of points arrayed in two-dimensional space. In what follows I shall link this difference to one between two modalities of travel that I shall call, respectively, wayfaring and transport. Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 75.


“As with the line that goes out for a walk, in the story as in life there is always somewhere further one can go. And in storytelling as in wayfaring, it is in the movement from place to place – or from topic to topic – that knowledge is integrated.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 91.


“Once a moment of rest along a path of movement, place has been reconfigured in modernity as a nexus within which all life, growth and activity are contained.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 96.


“The experience of habitation cannot be comprehended within the terms of the conventional opposition between the settler and the nomad, since this opposition is itself founded on the contrary principle of occupation. Settlers occupy places; nomads fail to do so. Wayfarers, however, are not failed or reluctant occupants but successful inhabitants. They may indeed be widely travelled, moving from place to place – often over considerable distances – and contributing through these movements to the ongoing formation of each of the places through which they pass. Wayfaring, in short, is neither placeless nor place-bound by place-making.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 101.


“For the wayfarer whose line goes out for a walk, speed is not an issue. It makes no more sense to ask about the speed of wayfaring than it does to ask about the speed of life. What matters is not how fast one moves, in terms of the ratio of distance to elapsed time, but that this movement should be in phase with, or attuned to, the movements of other phenomena of the inhabited world. The question ‘How long does it take?’ only becomes relevant when the duration of a journey is measured out towards a pre-determined destination. Once however the dynamics of movement have been reduced, as in destination-oriented transport, to the mechanics of locomotion, the speed of travel arises as a key concern. The traveller whose business of life is conducted at successive stopping-off points wants to spend his time in places, not between them.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 101.


“The architecture and public spaces of the built environment enclose and contain; its roads and highways connect. Transport systems nowadays span the globe in a vast network of destination-to-destination links. For passengers, strapped to their seats, travel is no longer an experience of movement in which action and perception are intimately coupled, but has become one of enforced immobility and sensory deprivation. On arrival, the traveller is released from his bonds only to find that his freedom of movement is circumscribed within the limits of the site.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 102.


“Indeed nothing can escape the tentacles of the meshwork of habitation as its ever-extending lines probe every crack or crevice that might potentially afford growth and movement. Life will not be contained, but rather threads its way through the world along the myriad lines of its relations. But if life is not enclosed with a boundary, neither can it be surrounded. What then becomes of our concept of environment? Literally an environment is that which surrounds. For inhabitants, however, the environment does not consist of the surroundings of a bounded place but of a zone in which their several pathways are thoroughly entangled. In this zone of entanglement – this meshwork of interwoven lines – there are no insides or outsides, only openings and ways through. An ecology of life, in short, must be one of threads and traces, not of nodes and connectors. And its subject of inquiry must consist not of the relations between organisms and their external environments but of the relations along their severally enmeshed ways of life. Ecology, in short, is the study of the life of lines.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 103.


“There is the twisted mind of the pervert, the crooked mind of the criminal, the devious mind of the swindler and the wandering mind of the idiot.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 153.


“... the modern maker or author envisions himself as though he were confronting a blank surface, like an empty page or a wasteland, upon which he intends to impose an assembly of his own design. The straight line is implicated in this vision in two quite distinct ways: first, in the constitution of the surface itself; secondly, in the construction of the assembly to be laid upon it. For the first, imagine a rigid line that is progressively displaced along its entire length, in a direction orthogonal to it. As it moves, it sweeps or rolls out the surface of a plane. For the second, imagine that the plane is marked with points, and that these points are joined up to form a diagram. This, in a nutshell, is the relation between our two manifestations of the straight line. One is intrinsic to the plane, as its constitutive element, the other is extrinsic, in that its erasure would still leave the plane intact. In what follows, and for reasons that will become evident as we proceed, I shall call lines of the fist kind guidelines, and those of the second plotlines.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. Pp. 155-6.


“If the straight line was an icon of modernity, then the fragmented line seems to be emerging as an equally powerful icon of postmodernity. This is anything but a reversion to the meandering line of wayfaring. Where the latter goes along, from place to place, the fragmented, postmodern line goes across: not however stage by stage, from one destination to the next, but from one point of rupture to another. These points are not locations but dislocations, segments out of joint. To put it in terms suggested by Kenneth Olwig, the line of wayfaring, accomplished through the practices of dwelling and the circuitous movements they entail, is topian; the staight line of modernity, driven by a grand narrative of progressive advance, is utopian; the fragmented line of postmodernity is dystopian. ‘Perhaps it is time’, Olwig writes, ‘we moved beyond modernism’s utopianism and postmodernism’s dystopianism to a topianism that recognizes that human beings as creatures of history, consciously and unconsciously create places’.” Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. 2007. Routledge. P. 167. [Reference is Olwig, K. “Landscape, place, and the state of progress.’ From Stack, R.D., Editor. Progress: Geographical Essays. John Hopkins University Press. Pp. 52-3.]


“The archaeologist Paul Mellars in 1991 listed some of the behavioral changes that characterize the transition from Middle to Upper Paleolithic, which in France took place around forty thousand years ago. Of course many human cultural developments, such as the production of stone tools and indeed the use of fire, developed very much earlier. The new features associated with the appearance in France of our own species, may be summarized as follows:

1. “a shift in the production of stone tools, from a ‘flake’ technology to one that gives more regular and standardized forms of ‘blade’ manufacture;
2. “an increase in the variety and complexity of the stone tools produced, with more obvious standardization of production;
3. “the appearance for the first time of artifacts made out of bone, antler, and ivory that have been extensively shaped;
4. “an increased tempo of technological change, with an increased degree of regional diversification;
5. “the appearance for the first time of a wide range of beads, pendants, and personal adornments;
6. “the appearance for the first time of representational or ‘naturalistic’ art, seen both in small carvings, mainly on bone, antler, or ivory, and in the remarkable painted animals seen in the painted caves such as Lascaux or Altamira, or earlier at the Grotte Chauvet;
7. “significant changes in both the economic and social organization of human groups.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 68.


“What accounts for the huge gap from the first appearance of Homo sapiens in Europe forty thousand years ago (and earlier in Western Asia) to the earliest agricultural revolution in Western Asia and Europe of ten thousand years ago? This is a time lag of thirty thousand years! If the genetic basis of the new species is different from that of earlier hominids, and of decisive significance, why is that new inherent genetic capacity not more rapidly visible in its effects, in what is seen in the archaeological record? That rather puzzling question may be termed the sapient paradox.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 72.


“We may refer to this phase of development, where change in the genome was no longer significant, as the tectonic phase, laying emphasis upon the notion of the construction of human culture, recalling also the title of Gordon Childe’s book Man Makes Himself. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘tectonics’ as ‘the constructive arts in general’. This phase is characterized by new forms of human engagement with the material world, and the name refers to the human construction of the cultural world in which we live. It if of course the case that the first, speciation phase of human development was already marked by such revolutionary new forms of human engagement with the world as the first use of tools, and later by the systematic production and use of fire. The perception of the significance of these innovations gave rise to one early and very appropriate appellation of our species as Homo faber (’man the maker’). The distinction now, however, is that in the tectonic phase the genotype is broadly fixed. Within the tectonic phase, the evolution that is taking place is essentially cultural evolution.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. Pp. 82-3.


“In confronting the sapient paradox, we have had to recognize that genetic change–change in the human genome–cannot account for the changes in human behavior that have occurred over the past 60,000 years, since the out-of-Africa dispersal, in what we have termed the tectonic phase of prehistory.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 86.


“... the most decisive turn in prehistory–and a key ingredient in the solution to the sapient paradox–came with the order-of-magnitude increase in the variety of engagement between humans and the material world, mediated by the use of symbols, that began with the development of sedentism–living the year round in a permanent dwelling with a well-established residential community. Quite rapidly material things then achieved new importance.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 114.


“But in any case there was a complex sequence of events [in control and starting of fire], and a skill in maintaining various factors under control that had to be understood by several people, which implies cognition and intentionality. These people knew what they were doing: fire had become an intentional product as well as a hard fact, a fact of nature.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 117.


“Culture need not be seen as something that merely reflects the social reality: it is rather part of the process by which that reality is constituted. The development of social institutions can be seen as part of the process of the increasing engagement of humans with the material world, in this case [construction of ceremonial centers such as the great henges of Britain] in architectural terms.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 131.


“This line of reasoning helps us to see how a particular form of engagement with the material world–the construction and varied use of a communal burial cairn–could help promote the emergence of a coherent new social unit. The same point applies with even greater weight, on a larger scale, where the henge monuments are concerned. Their construction certainly implies some pooling together of labor from a number of the smaller, earlier territories. But once the henge was built, it could have served as a focal point for those territories. This too is an example of the active role of material culture. It reflects a new kind of engagement, where a larger group of people would have used this constructed monument for ritual, social, and perhaps religious purposes. The product was the emergence of a coherent larger community where none had been before.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. Pp. 131-2.


“Nothing in the development of human society appears more significant than this ascription of meaning and value to material goods and to commodities. This value was associated with things, but came also to be associated with people, so that a relationship developed between high value among goods and high rank among people.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 135.


“The strange thing is that this propensity to assign value to goods seems, at any rate in Western Asia and in Europe, to have developed at about the same time as the emergence of sedentism, described in the last chapter. With that development, as we have seen, came a range of new forms of material engagement.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 136.


“We have seen that one resolution of the sapient paradox relates to the way material things can take on meaning in human societies, can produce new institutional facts, can bring into being the material symbols by which perceived reality is shaped.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 153.


“Stonehenge undoubtedly ranks as a great monument. There can be little doubt that the process of its construction, in the manner indicated in the last chapter, helped to bring into being a new and grander social reality in the region, of a higher social order than had existed before. That is one of the social consequences of shared work, as discussed earlier. But now [with its alignment with the rising of the midsummer sun] there was something additional and new–the deliberate attempt to align the human society in question with the cosmos. Or, one may even claim, there was an attempt to harness the very workings of the cosmos to serve within the ritual practices of the society. The wise observers who designed Stonehenge were able to create the stage set, as it were, for one of the earth’s greatest shows, and in doing so they were able to place themselves in the role of director and master of ceremonies.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. Pp. 154-5.


“Significantly, the occurrence of more complex burial rituals is attested in Western Asia at just the time when the first settled villages were coming into being–in the Natufian culture of the Levant, and then in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Jordan and Palestine. Skulls, decorated with plaster to reconstruct the face, and with cowrie shell eyes, were found at Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Jericho.” Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind. 2008. Modern Library. P. 156.


“Christine Hastorf, an archaeologist from Berkeley, California, stresses the significance of ‘plant nurturing’ in understanding the earliest stages of plant domestication. She reminds us that with very few exceptions plants have been gathered and cultivated by women who have often applied the same attitudes and care for the plants in their gardens as they do to the children within their houses. The Natufian women may have been like those of the Barasana people of northwest Colombia who maintain ‘kitchen gardens’ close the their dwellings. Most of their garden plants are wild species but are nevertheless nurtured for use as food, medicines, contraceptives and drugs.” Mithen, Steven. 2006. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC. 2003. Harvard University Press. Pp. 35-6.


“Mauss recognised that periodic gatherings were characterised by intense communal life, by feasts and religious ceremonies, by intellectual discussion, and by lots of sex.” Mithen, Steven. 2006. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC. 2003. Harvard University Press. P. 43. [In speaking of Mauss’ time with hunter-gatherers in the Arctic at the turn of the century]


“When the Kebaran people had used Hayonim Cave, five thousand years before the Natufian became established, they killed male and female gazelles in equal proportion. By preferentially selecting the males, the Natufians were probably attempting to conserve the gazelle populations. Although both sexes were born in equal proportions, only a few male animals were actually needed to maintain the herds. Carol Cope thinks that the Natufian people decided that the males were expendable while recognising the need to ensure that as many females as possible gave birth to young.

“If this was their aim, it went horribly wrong. The Natufians made the mistake of not just hunting the males, but selecting the biggest that they could find to kill. So the female gazelles were left to breed with the smaller males – unlikely to have been their natural choice. As small fathers give rise to small offspring, as the Natufians killed the largest offspring, the gazelles reduced in size with each generation. Hence the gazelle bones found in the rubbish dumps of Hayonim Cave were from animals much larger than those from the rubbish dumps on the terrace – the two being five hundred years apart.” Mithen, Steven. 2006. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC. 2003. Harvard University Press. Pp. 47-8.


“Such villages with rectangular two-storey house made their appearance throughout the Fertile Crescent soon after 9000 BC. They most likely originated at Jerf el Ahmar and Mureybet where structures that are transitional from round to rectangular have been found. The new architecture spread rapidly: a sign of the social and economic transformations that occurred now farming with domesticated crops had truly begun, and population numbers had soared. These new buildings typify the phase of the Neolithic that Kathleen Kenyon designated as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B.” Mithen, Steven. 2006. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC. 2003. Harvard University Press. P. 71.


“Here, as in the other Neolithic towns, turning almost any corner can lead to a surprise – unexpected clusters of people, an outdoor hearth, a tethered goat. People simply cannot know what is happening elsewhere in the town – even just a few metres away – because so much occurs behind thick walls. The number of inhabitants has become too great for people to know one another’s business and relations.” Mithen, Steven. 2006. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC. 2003. Harvard University Press. P. 76.


“The early domestication of goats and sheep is not surprising, as their wild behaviour readily lends itself to human control. Both animals are highly territorial; they are reluctant to stray from their herd and live within strongly hierarchical groups. Hence both goats and sheep are ready to follow the largest ram or ewe, and this makes them susceptible to becoming imprinted with the idea of a human as leader. Stone-built dwellings provided substitutes for the caves in which wild goat and sheep naturally take shelter.” Mithen, Steven. 2006. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC. 2003. Harvard University Press. P. 77.


“Once sheep and goats had been domesticated, cattle and pigs followed within a few hundred years. But domesticated horses and donkeys did not arrive until several thousand years after the Neolithic towns had flourished. These most probably arose as pack animals for the movement of ore and fuel to smelting centres once metalworking had begun in the Bronze Age.” Mithen, Steven. 2006. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC. 2003. Harvard University Press. P. 78.


“What actually occurs in the course of modernity is thus not simply the erasure or disappearance of God but the transference of his attributes, essential powers, and capacities to other entities or realms of being. The so-called process of disenchantment is thus also a process of reenchantment in and through which both man and nature are infused with a number of attributes or powers previously ascribed to God. To put the matter more starkly, in the face of the long drawn out death of God, science can provide a coherent account of the whole only by making man or nature or both in some sense divine.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 274.


“The ‘man that the Enlightenment discovered, however, was a vastly more exalted being than the sinful viator of Christianity or the rational animal of antiquity.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 274-5.


“The particular exchange networks that Wiessner studied among the Ju/’hoansi are called hxaro. Some 69 percent of the items every Bushman used–knives, arrows, and other utensils; beads and clothes–were transitory possessions, fleetingly treasured before being passed on in a chronically circulating traffic of objects. A gift received one year was passed on the next. In contrast to our own society where regifting is regarded as gauche, among the Ju/’hoansi it was not passing things on–valuing an object more than a relationship, or hoarding a treasure–that was socially unacceptable....”

“In her detailed study of nearly a thousand hxaro partnerships over thirty years, Wiessner learned that the typical adult had anywhere from 2 to 42 exchange relationships, with an average of 16. Like any prudently diversified stock portfolio, partnerships were balanced so as to include individuals of both sexes and all ages, people skilled in different domains and distributed across space. Approximately 18 percent resided in the partner’s own camp, 24 percent in nearby camps, 21 percent in a camp at least 16 kilometers away, and 33 percent in more distant camps, between 51 and 200 kilometers away.

“Just under half of the partnerships were maintained with people as closely related as first cousins, but almost as many were with more distant kin. Partnerships could be acquired at birth, when parents named a new baby after a future gift-giver, or they could be passed on as a heritable legacy when one of the partners died. Since meat of large animals was always shared, people often sought to be connected with skilled hunters. This is why the best hunters tended to have very far-flung assortments of hxaro contacts, as did their wives.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. Pp. 14-5. References are to Wiessner, Polly including from Evolution and Human Behavior 2002 23:407-436 and Risky Transactions: Trust, kinship and ethnicity, ed. By Frank Salter. “Taking the risk out of risky transactions: A forager’s dilemma.” 21-43. Berghahn Books.


“Alloparental care of infants is widespread across the order Primates. However, only in some 20 percent of species do alloparents ever provision as well as care for young, and for the most part this provisioning does not amount to much.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 92.


“So far the only nonhuman primates among whom alloparents frequently bring food to the young of others, doing so regularly, spontaneously, and voluntarily, fall into four genera (Callithrix, Leontopithecus, Saquinus, and Callimico) belong to the family Callitrichidae–mostly marmosets and tamarins. Even though roughly a fifth of all primates exhibit some degree of shared care and provisioning, these marmosets and tamarins, along with humans, are the only ones I consider to be ‘full-fledged cooperative breeders.’” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 92.


“Although infanticide is a hazard across the Primate order (having been reported now in several dozen species), observations almost always implicate either strange males of females other than the mother, not the mother herself. The high rates of maternal abandonment or infanticide seen among callitrichids and humans are unheard of elsewhere among primates. It would appear that highly contingent maternal commitment, along with a propensity to abandon young when mothers perceive themselves short of alloparental support–typically in the first 72 hours or so after birth–represents the dark side of cooperative breeding.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 100.


“One widely accepted tenet of life history theory is that, across species, those with bigger babies relative to the mother’s body size will also tend to exhibit longer intervals between births because the more babies cost the mother to produce, the longer she will need to recoup before reproducing again. Yet humans–like marmosets–provide a paradoxical exception to this rule. Humans, who of all the apes produce the largest, slowest-maturing, and most costly babies, also breed the fastest.

“Constrained by bearing costly young that mothers nurture by themselves, gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans breed more slowly. Orangutans hold the record, with intervals between births as long as eight years.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 101.


“But on closer consideration, what the results from Israeli, Dutch, and East African studies actually show is not that having a responsive mother does not matter (of course it does) but that infants nurtured by multiple caretakers grow up not only feeling secure but with better-developed and more enhanced capacities to view the world from multiple perspectives.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 132.


“What is striking about the worldviews of foragers (among people as widely dispersed as the Mbuti of Central Africa, Nayaka foragers of South India, the Batek of Malaysia, Australian Aborigines, and the North American Cree) is that they tend to share a view of their physical environment as a ‘giving” place occupied by others who are also liable to be well-disposed and generous. They view their physical world as being in line with benevolent social relationships. Thus, the Mbuti refer to the forest as a place that gives ‘food, shelter and clothing just like their parents.’ The Nayaka simply say, ‘The forest is as a parent.’” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. Pp. 133-4.


“Some primates exhibit very high levels of direct male care, others do so only in emergencies, while still others exhibit no care at all. But the extent of this between-species variation pales when compared with the tremendous variation found within the single species Homo sapiens. Contributions of material or emotional support range from semen only to the obsessive devotion of a Mrs. Doubtfire, where a father will go to almost any lengths to remain close to his children. Across cultures and between individuals, more variation exists in the form and extent of paternal investment in humans than in all other primates combined.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 162.


“As with many cooperatively breeding birds, dunnocks have very flexible breeding systems. A female may breed either monandrously (with just one mate) or polyandrously (with several males), just as males may breed with either one or several females. Over the course of their lifetimes, the same individuals may mix and match these various permutations, but so far as caretaking goes, relatedness still matters. When females mate with several males, possible fathers calibrate the amount of food they bring back to chicks according to when and how often they copulated, and hence according to that male’s probability of paternity. Such male propensities help explain why some cooperatively breeding females who find themselves short on helpers engage in extrapair copulations with other males in their group, trading copulations for help, as has been reported for African superb starlings (and of course some humans.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 188.


“Or consider what goes on in the subterranean tunnels occupied by naked mole rates. Among these endearingly ugly mammals, a single highly fecund breeding female mates with one to three males, who subsequently help their queen and other hivemates defend and maintain the colony. The trouble is, some workers aspire to reproduce themselves. Toward that end, they cut corners so as to conserve vital bodily reserves for the big push. This is why, as the biologist Hudson Reeve put it in the title of an article in Nature magazine, there has to be ‘queen activation of lazy workers in colonies of the eusocial naked mole-rat.’ Ever on the qui vive either for slackers or for a female who might be inclined to operationalize an ovary of her own, the queen attacks them, shoving and hissing. Remove the queen, though, and workers work less–especially the larger workers with the best breeding prospects, or workers who happen to be less closely related to the queen.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 191.


“Neloamprologus pulcher is the species that biologists Ralph Bergmuller and Michael Taborsky selected in order to learn how breeders ‘decide’ which helpers to tolerate and which to exile. Cichlid helpers assiduously tend broods, using their tails to fan eggs and newly hatched larvae in order to keep them parasite-free. Alloparents also housekeep by nibbling up detritus and by preventing sand from collapsing on the eggs. Some alloparents who are not even particularly close relatives of the breeders nevertheless act as guards, keeping predators away. Even when the territory-owning occupants are replaced by newcomers, helpers keep right on helping.

“By staying in the group, young fish not only remain safer from predators, they continue to grow and reserve their place in line, should they survive long enough to inherit the territory and its attendant breeding opportunities. But there is a revealing twist to this tale. Once helpers reach a certain size, parents become less tolerant of their tenants, allowing them to remain only during the period in the parents’ reproductive cycle when help is actually needed.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. Pp. 192-3.


“However, it now seems clear that interference by dominants that leads subordinates to suppress their own reproduction is just one of several possible tactics by which some mothers ensure care for their own offspring. Eliminating the offspring of subordinates, extracting help from kin, tolerating outsiders in the group, punishing slackers, or evolving females with long postreproductive lifespans so that postmenopausal grandmothers and great-aunts will be on hand are all just different routes to the same end: ensuring advantageous ratios of helpers to infants.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. Pp. 194-5.


“When ornithologists surveyed the avian lineages where cooperative breeding has independently evolved or re-evolved, three sets of conditions stood out as important. First, birds who took a long time to mature and were likely to live a long time–that is, who had relatively slow life histories–were predisposed to evolve cooperative breeding. Second, cooperative breeding tends to be found in lineages that evolved under ecological conditions favoring year-round occupation of the same area. This is because in more seasonal climates youngsters who did not disperse early or migrate someplace else to spend the winter would starve....

“The third factor conducive to the evolution of cooperative breeding has to do with special environmental challenges such as unpredictable rainfall or fluctuating food availability, which would make it especially hard to stay fed or keep young provisioned.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. Pp. 197-8.


“A self-reinforcing evolutionary process produces parents and alloparents who are more sensitive to infantile signals and babies who are better at emitting them.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 220.


“Without a doubt, highly complex coevolutionary processes were involved in the evolution of extended lifespans, prolonged childhooods, and bigger brains. What I want to stress here, however, is that cooperative breeding was the pre-existing condition that permitted the evolution of these traits in the hominin line. Creatures may not need big brains to evolve cooperative breeding, but hominins needed shared care and provisioning to evolve big brains. Cooperative breeding had to come first.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 277.


“I don’t think humans ended up with greater inter-individual tolerance, aptitudes for mind reading and learning, and with them greater capacities for cooperation than other apes because they already possessed sapient-sized brains, symbolic thinking, and sophisticated language. Rather, I am convinced that our line of hominins ended up with these attributes because of an unprecedented convergence–the evolution of cooperative breeding in a primate already possessing the cognitive capacities, Machiavellian intelligences, and incipient ‘theory of mind’ typical of all Great Apes.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. Pp. 279-80.


“Perverse as it sounds, when viewed this way, it appears that children today have begun to survive too well. Pleistocene parents and other kin were selected to respond to grave threats to their children’s survival–predation and starvation–by providing constant physical protection. As they held infants and passed them around to provisioning group members, who in the course of these intimate interactions became emotionally primed to nurture their charges, parents and alloparents communicated their commitment to the children in their group. Back in the Pleistocene, any child who was fortunate enough to grow up acquired a sense of emotional security by default. Those without committed mothers and also lacking alllomothers responsive to their needs would rarely have survived long enough for the emotional sequelae of neglect to matter. Today, this is no longer true, and unintended consequences are unfolding in ways that we are only beginning to appreciate.” Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 2009. Harvard University Press. P. 290.


“In effect, the sovereign perspective of abstract reason is a product of the compounding of two dichotomies: between humanity and nature, and between modernity and tradition.” Ingold, Tim. The Perception of the Environment: Essays in livelihood, dwelling and skill. 2000. Routledge. P. 15.


“In short, my aim is to replace the stale dichotomy of nature and culture with the dynamic synergy of organism and environment, in order to regain a genuine ecology of life.” Ingold, Tim. The Perception of the Environment: Essays in livelihood, dwelling and skill. 2000. Routledge. P. 16.


“When the novice [from a traditional culture] is brought into the presence of some component of the environment and called upon to attend to it in a certain way, his task, then, is not to decode it. It is rather to discover for himself the meaning that lies within it. To aid him in this task he is provided with a set of keys in another sense, not as ciphers but as clues. Whereas the cipher is centrifugal, allowing the novice to access meanings that are attached by the mind to the outer surface of the world, the clue is centripetal, guiding him towards meanings that lie at the heart of the world itself, but which are normally hidden behind the facade of superficial appearances. The contrast between the key as cipher and the key as clue corresponds to the critical distinction, to which I have already drawn attention, between decoding and revelation. A clue, in short, is a landmark that condenses otherwise disparate strands of experience into a unifying orientation which, in turn, opens up the world to perception of greater depth and clarity.” Ingold, Tim. The Perception of the Environment: Essays in livelihood, dwelling and skill. 2000. Routledge. P. 22.


“Culture is information capable of affecting individuals’ behavior that they acquire from other members of their species through teaching, imitation, and other forms of social transmission.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 5.


“The Darwinian theory of culture presented here emphasizes the generic properties of different types of processes. For example, some cultural variants may be easier to learn and remember than others, and this will, all other things being equal, cause such variants to spread, a process we call biased transmission.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 60.


“Whether cultures actually are tightly integrated wholes is an important empirical question. While there has been surprisingly little systematic attention paid to this problem, a great mass of observational data bear on it. We believe that these data suggest that culture is a complex mixture of structures. Some cultural variants are linked into coherent wholes, while others float promiscuously from culture to culture.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 91.


“Imitation also raises the average fitness of cultural creatures by allowing learned improvements to accumulate from one generation to the next.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 114.


“When the beliefs of one generation are linked to the next by cultural transmission, learning can lead to cumulative, often adaptive, change. We say that such change results from the force of guided variation. The system is a little like an imaginary genetic system in which mutations tend to be fitness-enhancing rather than random.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 116.


“... you can try to imitate everything that wealthy people do in an effort to acquire the traits that make them wealthy, but without actually trying to determine exactly how wealth is produced. We call this process model-based bias, because the bias depends not on the characteristics of the cultural variant itself, but instead depends on some other characteristic of individuals modeling the variant, such as indicators of prestige. Anthropologist Joe Henrich and psychologist Francisco Gil-White argue that we grant prestige, and the favors that go with it, to people we perceive as having superior cultural variants as a means of compensating them for the privilege of their company and the opportunity to imitate them. They contrast human prestige with the more-widespread phenomenon of dominance, where strong or guileful individuals usurp resources from the weaker.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 124.


“... people who imitate the successful will, all other things being equal, be more likely to acquire the locally adaptive behavior. If the tendency to imitate the successful is genetically (or culturally) variable, it will increase by natural selection.

“Simple mathematical models show that the strength of prestige bias depends on the correlation between the traits that indicate success and the traits that cause success. They also show that prestige bias can lead to an unstable, runaway process much like the one that may give rise to exaggerated characters such as peacock tails.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 125.


“Anthropologist Hillard Kaplan and his co-workers compare the foraging economies of a number of chimpanzee populations and human foraging groups. They categorize resources according to the difficulty of acquisition: Collected foods like ripe fruit and leaves can be simply collected from the environment and eaten. Extracted foods must be processed and include fruits in hard shells, tubers or termites that are buried deep underground, honey hidden in hives high in trees, or plants that contain toxins that must be extracted before they can be eaten. Hunted foods come from animals, usually vertebrates, that must be caught or trapped. The data show that chimpanzees are overwhelmingly dependent on collected resources, while human foragers get almost all of their calories from extracted or hunted resources.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 129.


“Imitation is an adaptive information-gathering system, but it involves tradeoffs. Culture gets humans fast cumulative evolution on the cheap, but only if it also makes us vulnerable to selfish cultural variants.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 155.


“Out main conclusion in the last chapter was that culture is adaptive because populations can quickly evolve adaptations to environments for which individuals have no special-purpose, domain-specific, evolved psychological machinery to guide them. Rigid control of cultural evolution would make the cultural evolutionary system slow and clunky. In the wildly varying environments of the Pleistocene, individuals were better off relying upon fast and frugal social learning heuristics to acquire pretty good behaviors RIGHT NOW rather than await the perfect innate or cultural adaptation to an environment that would be gone before perfection could evolve. Such heuristics leave space for selfish cultural variants to seep into the populations – just the price of doing business in a highly variable environment where information is costly.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 166.


“Culture, then, is a sophisticated cognitive and social system evolved to finesse the problem that information costs preclude a general-purpose, problem-solving system inside every individual’s head.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 167.


“Industrialization creates a demand for laborers and managers with education and individualistic motivations.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 187.


“Culture allows rapid adaptation to a wide range of environments, but leads to systematic maladaptation as a result.” Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed human Evolution. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 188.


“We hypothesize that this new social world, created by rapid cultural adaptation, led to the genetic evolution of new, derived social instincts. Cultural evolution created cooperative groups. Such environments favoured the evolution of a suite of new social instincts suited to life in such groups including a psychology which ‘expects’ life to be structured by moral norms, and that is designed to learn and internalize such norms. New emotions evolved, like shame and guilt, which increase the chance the norms are followed. Individuals lacking the new social instincts more often violated prevailing norms and experienced adverse selection. They might have suffered ostracism, been denied the benefits of public goods, or lost points in the mating game. Cooperation and group identification in inter-group conflict set up an arms race that drove social evolution to ever-greater extremes of in-group cooperation. Eventually, human populations came to resemble the hunter-gathering societies of the ethnographic record.” Boyd, Robert & Peter Richerson. “Culture and the evolution of human cooperation.” Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society – Biological Sciences. 2009. 364. Pps. 3281-3288. P. 3286.


“In a sense, the human baby has to be invited to participate in human culture. The first step in the process is to get the baby hooked on social interaction itself by making it highly pleasurable. In my work with mothers and babies, this has become a sort of benchmark–if a mother is finding pleasure in her relationship with her baby, then usually there is little to worry about, even if there are some problems. When the relationship is dominated by pleasurable interactions, the parent and the baby are, without realizing it, building up the baby’s prefrontal cortex and developing his capacities for self-regulation and complex social interactions.” Gerhardt, Sue. Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain. 2004. Brunner-Routledge. P. 39.


“People live in societies unusually large for a primate, and cooperate, or at least coordinate, with unusually distant relatives. Evolutionists have offered many explanations for human cooperation, including indirect reciprocity, group selection on genes, sexually selected display, innate algorithms for detecting rule violators, Machiavellian intelligence, reputation effects, and the cultural group-selection process we describe above. None of these proposals can easily be ruled out.” Richerson, P. and R. Boyd. “Cultural Evolution: Accomplishments and Future Prospects.” Pp. 75-99. From Brown, Melissa, Editor. Explaining Culture Scientifically. 2008. University of Washington Press. P. 92.


“Consistent with this hypothesis [human brains may rewire themselves via experience], cross-cultural experimental data demonstrates substantial differences in visual perception across populations. Building on W.H.R. River’s pioneering work, Segall et al. performed one of the few rigorously controlled cross-cultural experimental projects in the history of anthropology and psychology. This interdisciplinary project gathered data from both children and adults in a wide range of human societies about their susceptibility to five ‘standard illusions.’ Their results are numerous, so I will summarize only their finding for two of these visual stimuli, the Mueller-Lyer and Sander parallelogram illusions.

“In the Mueller-Lyer illusion, subjects from industrialized societies typically perceive that the horizontal line segment marked b [line has two arrow-type fletched chevrons pointing outwards] is longer than the horizontal line segment marked a [line has two arrow-type fletched chevrons pointing inwards], when in fact both are the same length.” Henrich, Joseph. “A Cultural Species.” Pp. 184-210. From Brown, Melissa, Editor. Explaining Culture Scientifically. 2008. University of Washington Press. Pp. 190-1. Reference is to Segall, M., D. Campbell, & M. Herskovits. The Influence of culture on visual Perception. 1966. Bobbs-Merrill.


“Detailed developmental data from several studies in the United States on the Mueller-Lyer illusion show that susceptibility generally decreases from ages five to twelve, reaching its lifetime low at the onset of adolescence, and then increases from ages twelve to twenty. The decrease in susceptibility from age five to age twelve is larger than the subsequent increase, leaving adults less susceptible to the illusion than five-year-olds, but only because of the pre-adolescent decrease. After age twenty, susceptibility to this illusion does not change again until old age.” Henrich, Joseph. “A Cultural Species.” Pp. 184-210. From Brown, Melissa, Editor. Explaining Culture Scientifically. 2008. University of Washington Press. P. 194.


“The learning sequence for social behavior follows a pattern of learning the rules (or cultural models) first, and later integrating those rules with strategic considerations that operate within the context of the rules and associated expectations.” Henrich, Joseph. “A Cultural Species.” Pp. 184-210. From Brown, Melissa, Editor. Explaining Culture Scientifically. 2008. University of Washington Press. P. 197.


“This line of evolutionary thinking [preferential imitation] suggests that once rank-biased transmission (as an innate cognitive ability) has spread through a population, highly skilled individuals will be at a premium, and social learners will need to compete for access to the most skilled models. This creates a new selection pressure on rank-biased learners to pay deference to those they assess as highly skilled , in exchange for preferential access. Deference may take many forms, including coalitional support, general assistance, caring for the offspring of the skilled, gifts, and so on. Such deference patterns provide a costly cue of which individuals are generally considered highly successful or skilled: deference is paid to such individuals in exchange for copying opportunities–faking the cue would require paying deference to the unskilled, which would carry little or no payoff.

“With the spread of deference for highly skilled individuals, yet another opportunity is presented for natural selection to save on information costs. Naive entrants (say, immigrants or children), who lack detailed information about the relative skills and successes for potential cultural models, may take advantage of the existing pattern of deference, and use received deference as an indicator of underlying skill. Assessing differences in deference patterns provides a best guess of the skill ranking until more information can be accumulated over time. This also means that skilled individuals will prefer deference displays that are public, and thus easily recognized by others. Along with the ethological patterns dictated by the requirements for high-fidelity special learning (proximity and attention), deference displays also include diminutive body postures and sociolinguistic cues. The end point of this process gives us the psychology, sociology, and ethology of prestige, which must be distinguished from those of the phylogenetically older dominance processes.” Henrich, Joseph. “A Cultural Species.” Pp. 184-210. From Brown, Melissa, Editor. Explaining Culture Scientifically. 2008. University of Washington Press. Pp. 208-9.


“Paul and his colleague Deborah Rogers recently decided to test a weaker but related hypothesis: that, because of the environmental tests to which they are put, technological norms would evolve at a different rate from norms not so tested. They were able to examine this issue in Polynesian canoes, which have both structural features (presumably tested against the environment) and decorative features (much less so, if at all). And indeed it turned out that the decorative features of the canoes evolved much faster than the structural ones. Natural selection favoring conservation of cultural features that helped avoid disaster slowed the differentiation of structural characteristics; decorative designs were not under such selective constraints.” Ehrlich P. and A. Ehrlich. The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment. 2008. Island Press. P. 117.


“It was during the Upper Palaeolithic that the reduction in size of these slow-moving prey starts to reflect heavier harvesting. As the easy-to-capture prey declined through the period so more difficult-to-catch species such as hares and birds are found among the food remains. Human numbers had increased and selection for a greater diet breadth now proceeded.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 30.


“We domesticated ourselves into a different social species by living behind walls, around courtyards and in modular, cell-like villages and towns, which archaeologist Trevor Watkins has aptly described as ‘theatres of memory’.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 31. Reference is to Watkins, Trevor. “Architecture and ‘theaters of memory’ in the Neolithic of Southwest Asia.” From Rethinking materiality: the engagement of mind with the material world. 2004. Edited by E. DeMarrais, C. Gosden & C. Renfrew. Pp. 97-106. McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research.


“One striking feature of world prehistory after 60,000 years ago is that it is for the first time just that, a world prehistory. After this date homo sapiens began their diaspora and in less that 1 per cent of the time since we last had a common ancestor with our closest primate relatives, the chimpanzees, we had migrated to the previously uninhabited islands and continents that before made up almost three-quarters of the Earth. From being a hominin long confined to a portion of the Old World we suddenly became global humans. Furthermore, for the first time in our evolutionary history we became a single species differentiated only by geographical variation. What we see in those ocean voyages, and the settlement of the seasonally cold interiors of continents, is a clear geographical signature that social life was fully released from the constraint of proximity that explains why most primates are not world travellers.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 38.


“In their brief survey of accounts of human social origins, Bruno Latour and Shirley Strum analysed seven texts written over the last 350 years. The subtitle of their article, ‘Oh please, tell us another story’ sums up what they found: that the current wealth of facts, scientifically arrived at, were servicing the same philosophical conjectures about the origins of humanity that had been inherited form Hobbes and Rousseau, but less coherently expressed.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 60. Reference is to Latour, B. & S. Strum. “Human social origins: Oh please, tell us another story.” Journal of Social Biological Structure. 1986. 9:169-187.


“Nurit Bird-David, in her discussion of Marshall Sahlins’ influential essay on hunters and gatherers as the original affluent society, has raised the need for alternative primary metaphors in order to understand this economic category. For example, the corner-store analogy regards hunters as engaged in a game against their environment. By contrast her analogy, based on fieldwork accounts, is of nature as a co-operative bank.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 78. Reference is to Bird-David, N. “Beyond ‘the original affluent society’: a culturalist reformulation.” Current Anthropology. 1992. 33:25-47.


“Our limbs are primarily engaged in corporal culture as instruments while the trunk of our body is a container. Instruments, in the form of hands and feet, inscribe. They make marks. Containers, the trunk, are frequently the surfaces for such inscription including tattoos, body painting and incisions. The trunk is also a literal container for embodiment as in eating and child-bearing.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 103.


“For example, Collins makes the philosophical point that the body is a necessary but not sufficient condition of personhood. That can only be achieved with a psychological identity that depends on social relations. However:

‘If some social completion of identity is a necessary part of personhood, but no particular social identity is in itself necessary, then there will always be at least a potential gap between private consciousness and public character.’

“I would suggest that what we find in the gap between the psychological and social is corporal and material culture.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 117. Subquote is from Collins, S. “Categories, concepts or predicaments? Remarks on Mauss’s use of philosophical terminology.” P. 74. From The category of the person: anthropology, philosophy, history. Edited by Carrithers, M., S. Collins & S. Lukes. 1985. Pp. 46-82. Cambridge University Press.


“Additive technologies are more important in the short answer [recent prehistory] while reductive technologies dominate during the long introduction [earliest prehistory].” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 171.


“Planning depth”
“‘The potentially variable length of time between anticipatory actions and the actions they facilitate, amount of investment in anticipatory actions, and proportion of activities so facilitated’”

“Tactical depth”
“‘The variable capacity, based on stored knowledge of mechanical principles, environmental characteristics, and hence opportunities, to find more than one way to skin a cat’”

“Curation”
“‘The degree to which technology is maintained... While planning depth may be present without curation, it is difficult to imagine curation without planning depth’” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 185. Definitions borrowed and quoted from Binford, L.R. “Isolating the transition to cultural adaptations: an organizational approach.” 1989. From The emergence of modern humans: Biocultural adaptations in the later Pleistocene. Edited by E. Trinkaus. Pp. 18-41. Cambridge University Press.


“But our view of pottery has altered in two ways. First, its early history, as I will show, is decidedly non-functional in the carrying, cooking and storage sense. Second, even when these tasks are being performed by clay vessels they are, due to their form and decoration as well as the techniques of manufacture, widely recognised as symbolically charged.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 198.


“In other words sedentism, with its walls and rooms, provided the means by which we domesticated ourselves first and the plants and animals later. More recently Helen Leach has explicitly linked the criteria of domestication to biological changes brought about through living in a culturally modified, artificial environment of settlements with houses. Hence changes such as reductions in body and skull size, sexual dimorphism and greater phenotypic diversity that are well known for the domestic animals also apply to humans.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 201-2. Reference is to Leach. H. “Human domestication reconsidered.” Current Anthropology. 2003. 44:349-368. P. 359.


“Apes and monkeys depend on face-to-face contact to forge and affirm the social bonds that structure their networks of allies. What a primate cannot see, hear or smell does not concern them. Dispersal, driven by the fission and fusion of primate groups as they look for food, often diminishes rather than enhances social networks. By contrast, humans regularly create alliances between people who have never met or who encounter each other infrequently. Hence the importance of proximity for social life is released.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 211.


“What is of interest for the childscape is the creation of fire in a container so that we have not only fire but hearths. Hearths can be elaborated in many ways by digging fire pits, adding stone settings and creating clay ovens. The fires they contain have to be cared for. Ash and cinders need to be raked out and dumped elsewhere while activities that fragment things in order to enchain and accumulate feed them with leaves, wood, bone and peat. Fires consume and alter whatever is placed within them. Here they are analogous to eating because fires also embody and transform resources. Hearths attract bodies and care for them by providing warmth and keeping predators beyond the circle. The relationship is reciprocal. Hearths need those social agents if they are to grow, while people need the social technology of hearths, not just for practical reasons, but to involve others in projects. Hearths are an emotional resource for a diurnal animal. They have always formed a focus for the childscape because they act as nodes in the net gathering people into those intimate and effective networks. Fire and people form a ring of agency, a hybrid project.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 231.


“In addition, the distances over which lithics were regularly transferred increased markedly between the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic when blades gained the upper hand over flakes in lithic assemblages. These greater distances were further augmented by the traffic in marine and fossil shells that on occasion came from up to 800 km away. The childscape now contained sets and nets from worlds that might never be visited but which were nonetheless understood. The bricolage of material that framed these environments of growth had made the essential metaphorical relation for agriculture by on the one hand accumulating at the locale and on the other through chains of connection harvesting relationships from a social landscape as imaginary as it was material. The project of growing the body was soon to be realised.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 255.


“Growing the body now drew on the authority of containers as a proxy for the symbolic force of bodily experience. Baskets, clothes and stone bowls grew into houses, villages, fields, flocks and pots.” Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory. 2007. Cambridge University Press. P. 257.


“Since our wisdom has always been open to question, our species may merit the designation Homo docens, or ‘teaching person’, more than it does that of Homo sapiens.” Konner, Melvin. The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind. 2010. Harvard University Press. P. 587.


“Even the most generous appraisal of the achievements of nonhumans leaves them just a short way down three or four of these five paths to culture [materials, socially learned local variation, teaching, language, cumulativeness]. For humans to have evolved it, our ancestors had to have greater attainments in all these areas, and without assuming that they evolved strictly in concert, they must have influenced each other in a pattern of circular and cumulative causation–a doubly meaningful self-organization in the cultural realm.” Konner, Melvin. The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind. 2010. Harvard University Press. P. 591.


“[In referring to Durham’s theory of culture:] ... he finds them [‘cultural and biological evolution’] to be ‘two distinct but interacting systems of information inheritance within human populations.’” Konner, Melvin. The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind. 2010. Harvard University Press. P. 698. Reference is from Durham, W.H. Coevolution: Genes, culture, and human diversity. 1991. Stanford University Press.


“Central to Durham’s model, but omitted from the others, is imposition, an extremely important type of transmission bias or sociological constraint that belongs to the general adaptative phenomenon of deception. Individuals routinely deceive others, even in their own lineage or other local grouping, allowing some to gain reproductive success at others’ expense. This is exploitation; it is used by kindreds, lineages, or collections of lineages such as castes and social classes as well as by individuals. Contrary to claims for the adaptedness of whole cultures, some individuals or groups in every culture are doing better than others, and what we describe as ‘a culture’ or ‘a society’ is a cross-section of unresolved internal conflicts. Imposition refers to the different degrees of choice that individuals have in accepting or rejecting transmitted memes, based on their differential power to create adaptive advantages.” Konner, Melvin. The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind. 2010. Harvard University Press. P. 700. Reference is to Durham, W.H. Coevolution: Genes, culture, and human diversity. 1991. Stanford University Press.


“[In referring to Durham’s theory of culture:] Culture has systemic organization and tends ‘to form an integrative whole,’ with a ‘strain toward consistency’. In Clyde Kluckhohn’s conception, ‘every culture is a structure–not just a haphazard collection of all the different physically possible and functionally effective patterns of belief and action, but an interdependent system with its forms segregated and arranged in a manner which is felt as appropriate.’” Konner, Melvin. The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind. 2010. Harvard University Press. P. 702. References are either from or quoted in: Durham, W.H. Coevolution: Genes, culture, and human diversity. 1991. Stanford University Press.


“If, as evolutionary psychologists anticipate, the modern selective environment is very different from that in which human adaptations were forged, and psychological adaptations are highly specific, then adaptations may not produce adaptive outcomes. However, since no one really knows to what extent the past and present selective environments differ for a given trait, it is entirely possible that most human adaptations could produce adaptive behaviour in the modern environment, and it would be premature to assume that most would not. Humans are particularly adept at constructing their niche and hence it is even conceivable that the modern world has actually been fashioned by us to suit our psychological and behavioural adaptations, ...” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. Pp. 98-99.


“Culture evolutionists suggest that the process of cultural selection explains why a number of other phenomena observed in biological evolution are also evident in human culture. These phenomena include adaptation, extinction, convergent evolution, and vestigial characters.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 147.


“A distinctive feature of human cultural evolution is its cumulative quality, with technology and understanding exhibiting repeated refinements and improvements over time.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 152.


“For example, Christine Caldwell and Alisa Millen at the University of Stirling, United Kingdom, set out to investigate cumulative cultural evolution in the laboratory, deploying a ‘transmission chain design.’ In this design, subjects complete a simple task; demonstrating their performance to the next individual in the chain, who then does the same, such that knowledge and skills could potentially accumulate with time. Two tasks were chosen; building a high tower out of uncooked spaghetti and modelling clay, and producing a paper aeroplane that could fly as far as possible. Each subject had five minutes to observe his or her predecessor and five minutes of construction time. For both tasks, information accumulated within groups, such that later individuals produced designs that were substantially more successful than those of earlier individuals. Caldwell and Millen went on to investigate which forms of information were critical to cumulative culture. In one condition, subjects were allowed to watch their predecessors making aeroplanes, thereby allowing imitation (reproducing actions). In a second condition, called emulation, subjects merely saw the final aeroplanes that were produced by their predecessor. A third condition allowed for direct teaching between successive individuals in the chain. The researchers found that each of these mechanisms was equally effective in supporting cumulative cultural evolution.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 152. Reference is to Caldwell, C.A & Millen, A. 2008. “Experimental models for testing hypotheses about cumulative cultural evolution.” Evolution and Human Behavior. 29: 165-171. Also Caldwell, C.A & Millen, A. 2009. “Social learning mechanisms and cumulative cultural evolution: Is imitation necessary?” Psychological Science.” 12: 1478-1453.


“The defining characteristic of niche construction is an organism-induced change in the selective environment; hence the term also includes migration, dispersal, and habitat selection, where organisms relocate in space and experience new conditions.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 171.


“For Boyd and Richerson, group selection operates on cultural traits. Thus, it is not genes that are selected but rather groups of individuals expressing a particular culturally learned idea or behaviour.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 181. Reference is to Boyd, R. & Richerson, P. 1985. “The cultural transmission of acquired variation: Effects on genetic fitness.” Journal of Theoretical Biology. 100: 567-596.


“Whether Boyd and Richerson’s hypothesis can work depends on rates of group formation and group extinction. The theory was tested using data on these rates among small communities in New Guinea. This analysis led to the conclusion that, if the measured extinction rates were representative, cultural group selection was potentially a good explanation for slowly changing aspects of culture such as social structure, conventions, and institutions but not for more rapidly changing fads.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 182.


“However, group selection may have a more disturbing side. In truth, group selection does not directly favour altruistic individuals but rather ‘selfish’ groups. Selection between cultural groups may engender hostility and aggression to members of other groups, fear of strangers, slanderous propaganda concerning outsiders, and so on.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 182.


“Dual-inheritance models can be constructed even if there were no resemblance at all between the two sets of processes. In fact, much of what makes culture interesting derives from its differences from genetic inheritance.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 190.


“Gene-culture co-evolutionary analyses suggest that evolution in species with a dynamic, socially transmitted culture may be different from evolution in other species, for at least three reasons. First, culture is a particularly effective means of modifying natural selection pressures and driving the population’s biological evolution, as is the case for lactose absorption. Second, culture may generate new evolutionary processes, for instance, cultural group selection. Third, cultural transmission may strongly affect evolutionary rates, sometimes speeding them up and sometimes slowing them down. Such findings suggest that traditional evolutionary approaches to the study of human behaviour may not always be adequate.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 192.


“More generally, Seed and colleagues found that extractive foraging, tool use, cooperation, coordination, and complex cultural transmission were all common to both corvids and apes.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 202. Reference is to Seed, A., J. Emery & N. Clayton. 2009. “Intelligence in corvids and apes: A case of convergent evolution?” Ethology. 115: 401-420.


“In a famous article published in 1952, two prominent anthropologists identified 164 different definitions of culture proposed by social scientists, and that number has undoubtedly grown. Although it is far from a consensus even today, most social scientists would agree on two points, that culture comprises symbolically encoded acquired information and is socially transmitted within and between populations, largely free of biological constraints.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 214. Reference is to Kroeber, A. & C. Kluckholm. 1952. “Culture: A critical review of concepts and definitions.” Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. 47: 1-223.


“A third evolutionary take on culture, represented by the school of cultural evolution, is that it is a dynamic evolutionary system in its own right.” Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. 2011. Oxford University Press. P. 216.


“Fire was certainly in use in Homo erectus times and current earliest estimates of evidence of cooking date from 790,000 years ago.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 44.


“Central to Steward’s work is his distinction between the cultural core and the peripheral or secondary elements of a culture. The former, in his view, comprise those elements of culture that are associated especially with subsistence pursuits and related, economic features. The Stewardian cultural core also includes political and religious traits that are closely connected with subsistence, economics or the environment. All these elements of culture are acted upon by evolution, and they are the subject matter of cultural ecology. In contrast, the peripheral or secondary elements comprise anything else, and these are acted upon more by diffusion and culture history. I don not doubt Steward’s importance or the basic truth of his propositions. Yet, I think his labels are backwards in that truly core elements of culture are those not susceptible to environmental influence, or closely related to subsistence or economics, but nonetheless surviving through evolutionary change and, for example, changes in subsistence from hunting to herding.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 60. Reference is to Steward, Julian. 1955. Theory of culture change: the methodology of multilinear evolution. University of Illinois Press.


“Hunter-gatherers, of course, exhibit a variety of different forms of social organization. However, there are a number of attributes which are common to most hunter-gatherer societies. In essence there are some ten of these: (1) large territories for the size of population, and notions of territorial exclusivity; (2) a socio-territorial organization based on the band as the primary unit, with further units both within and beyond the band; (3) a lack of social stratification except with regard to sex and age; (4) sexual differentiation in subsistence activities and in rituals; (5) mechanisms, such as widespread sharing, for the redistribution of accumulated resources; (6) the recognition of kin relationships to the very limits of social interaction; (7) beliefs which relate humans either to individual animals or to animal species; (8) a world order based on even numbers; (9) a world order founded on symbolic relations within and between levels (such as land, society and the cosmos); and (10) extreme flexibility.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 67-8.


“The original meaning of ‘culture’ and related words in English, French and German was to do with cultivation, but from the German romantics to American cultural anthropology the term has come to refer commonly to shared beliefs, practices and artefacts of a people. Since Jane Goodall’s discovery of tool-making and tool use by Gombe chimps, it is now used too beyond the confines of human culture. The latter usage implies that culture is cumulative (since humans have more of it than chimps), and this hints at the evolutionary trajectory and at the cultural revolutions which have occurred in hominin history.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 71.


“Radcliffe-Brown’s functionalist or structural-functionalist tradition came to view society as comprised of systems, each of which contained institutions. Classically, there are four systems in any society: economics, politics, kinship and religion. While institutions may primarily be a part of one particular system, they may also play a part in other systems. For example, marriage is an institution within a kinship system, but it also might have economic aspects, political aspects or religions aspects.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 73. Reference is to Radcliffe-Brown, A.R. 1952. Structure and function in primitive society: essays and addresses. Cohen & West.


“Culture is the jam in the sandwich of anthropology. It is all-pervasive ... It is often both the explanation of what it is that has made human evolution different and what it is that it is necessary to explain. It is at once part of our biology and the thing that sets the limits on biological approaches and explanations. Just to add further confusion to the subject, it is also that which is universally shared by all humans and, at the same time, the word used to demarcate differences between human societies and groups.” Foley, Robert & M. Lahr. 2003. “On stony ground: lithic technology, human evolution, and the emergence of culture.’ Evolutionary Anthropology. 12: 109-122. P. 109. Quoted in Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 74.


“Economies based on an immediate-return principle reject the accumulation of surplus; people either consume or share. Economies based on a delayed-return principle allow for planning ahead. Only some hunter-gatherers fit the immediate-return category; those who invest time in keeping bees, raising horses or making boats or large traps are, like non-hunter-gatherers, consigned to the residual, delayed-return category.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 84.


“Let me take another example. Gregory Bateson argued that the Iatmul of Papua New Guinea have a theory of order which is the opposite of that of the Book of Genesis, and says that Western scientists (theist and atheist alike) have inherited a version of the latter theory. In Genesis, God created heaven and earth, but in the beginning the earth was without form. God divided the light from the darkness, and divided the waters from the dry land. In other words, active divine intervention brings order and form. Iatmul, says Bateson, see the world in the opposite way. According to their myth, the crocodile Kavwokmali once paddled his front and back legs and thereby kept water and earth together as mud. Their culture hero Kevembuangga then killed Kavwokmali, and the land separated from the water in which it had been suspended. In other words, order would occur, and does occur, once the crocodile is removed from the picture. Western knowledge assumes that order needs to be explained, and Iatmul knowledge assumes the reverse.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 102-3. Reference is to Bateson, Gregory. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. Jason Aronson. Pp. 8-11.


“Durkheim and Mauss discuss similarities and differences among Australian systems of classification, then move to Zuni and Sioux, and to Taoist China. Their conclusion is that the first logical categories were social: nature is modelled on society, not the other way around.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 110.


“Maine championed kinship over the social contract, and the reversal of the previous dominance of the social contract marked the beginnings of social anthropology.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 111. Reference is to Maine, Henry. 1913. Ancient Law: Its Connection with the Early History of Society and its Relation to Modern Ideas. George Routledge & Sons.


“In practice, all human societies have a degree of cognatic descent in that any given relatives may either belong to one’s own lineage or not. For example, the Romans distinguished two kinds of relative: agnati (in English, ‘agnates’, those of one’s patrilineal group) and cognati (‘cognates’, blood relatives who belong to some other group, such as one’s mother or mother’s brother).” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 114.


“This [Levi-Strauss’ ‘atom of kinship’] is the set of relations between, on the one hand, sister and brother, and wife and husband, and, on the other hand, sister’s son and mother’s brother, and son and father. If sister/brother is a familiar relation, then wife/husband will be, relatively speaking, more formal. And vice versa. If sister’s son/mother’s brother is familiar, then son-father will be more formal. And vice versa.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 122.


“What makes a kinship system ‘full’ is first that it recognizes that most crucial of distinctions, between possible and prohibited, and secondly that it allows for classification of a set of relatives on both sides of the family. In all such cases, the classification will be uniform, or will rapidly become uniform in the case of a system in transition, in what we consider a society. The situation is analogous to that in language: pidgins become creoles; bilingual people, even children, do not mix English and French indiscriminately; above all, no one speaks half a language. The point is that no one lives in a society where there is half a kinship system, or where relatives play by different rules. Kinship systems, change through time, but in order to maintain the systematic nature of kinship change has to be rapid. Kinship systems are, or rapidly become, logical. Like languages, they are always fully formed. Kinship terminologies are, if not always, at least usually internally logical, as demonstrated, for example, by the fact that if I call, say (in an ‘Omaha’ structure), my mother’s brother’s son ‘(cross-)nephew’, he will call me ‘(cross-)uncle’.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 138.


“In terms of kinship, the Neolithic is marked not by a stone tool tradition or by the adoption of agriculture, but by the loss of universal kin classification and the change from elementary to complex structures of alliance.” Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins. 2011. Cambridge University Press. P. 139.


“The new fossils helped to bring about a revolution in scientific thinking about Australopithecus. Up to this time [c. 1950], scientists had regarded an enlarged brain as the hallmark of humanity. But the new material from South Africa proved that ‘... differences in the brain between apes and man ... were attained after full human status had been achieved in the limbs and trunk.’

“With this fact in mind, paleoanthropologists soon came to see bipedality and small, incisor-like canine teeth, not the big brains and intelligence, as the essential human properties.” Cartmill, Matt & Fred Smith. 2009. The Human Lineage. Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 150-1. Subquote is from Washburn, S. 1951. “The analysis of primate evolution with particular reference to the origin of man.” Symposia on Quantitative Biology. 15:67-77.


“One of the great lessons of the Paleolithic story is how, demographic factors affect the potential for connectedness among social entities and for human participation in environmental systems. For a long time hominins were of little significance in ecosystems in which they lived. Distinctly human impacts on community structure and prey populations first become detectable with the onset of the UP [Upper Paleolithic, approximately 35,000 years ago]. The fact that UP humans spread so quickly across Eurasia, quietly snuffing out or absorbing populations of indigenous hominins, shows that UP groups were adept at both colonizing and holding onto any territory gained. The plasticity of UP cultural systems allowed them to reorganize frequently in the service of demographic robustness.” Stiner, M. & G. Feeley-Harnik. “Energy and Ecosystems.” Pp. 78-102. From Shryock, Andrew & D. Smail. 2011. Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present. University of California Press. P. 91.


“Long term social relationships are a prominent feature of primate behavior, and factors other than kinship affect their formation and maintenance. Primates cultivate relationships with non-kin to obtain adaptive benefits. For example, unrelated individuals reciprocate grooming and exchange it for coalitionary support, tolerance at feeding sites, and access to newborn infants.” Trautmann, T., G. Feeley-Harnik & J. Mitani. “Deep Kinship.” Pp. 160-188. From Shryock, Andrew & D. Smail. 2011. Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present. University of California Press. P. 171.


“Because a representation, to be a representation, has to be produced by a cognitive process and used by another one, there cannot be such thing as an isolated atomic cognitive process.” Sperber, Dan. “Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow Psychology.” Pp. 431-449. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 434.


“Cognitive processes are linked to one another in causal chains (that can branch in complex ways). I call such chains Cognitive Causal Chains, or CCCs for short.” Sperber, Dan. “Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow Psychology.” Pp. 431-449. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 434.


“Chains of cognitive processes can extend across individuals and have a social character. In the simplest cases, the behavioral output of some individual’s CCC may serve as a perceptual input for other indivduals’ CCCs and link them in a single Social CCC or SCCC for short.” Sperber, Dan. “Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow Psychology.” Pp. 431-449. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 435.


“SCCC that have the function of preserving mental content, behavioral form, or both, may extend across many individual and through a social group, distributing throughout this group similar mental representations or public productions. Such representations and productions are cultural and the SCCCs that distribute them are cultural CCCs, or CCCCs for short.” Sperber, Dan. “Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow Psychology.” Pp. 431-449. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 437.


“Cultures are in constant flux, and this is true at all levels, from microinteractions to societal institutions. Still, nothing is cultural without a modicum of stability over social time and space. What makes some item a token of a cultural type is that it is similar enough to other tokens of the type to be identified as such....”

“This relative resemblance of tokens of a type across social space and time gives a measure of the stability of cultural types and of the stabilizing effect of their CCCCs.” Sperber, Dan. “Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow Psychology.” Pp. 431-449. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 440.


“... a good part of the explanatory weight in the explanation of cultural stability and evolution should move from mechanisms of inheritance and selection to the mechanisms of construction and reconstruction and to the cognitive and environmental factors that cause these mechanisms to have converging outputs.” Sperber, Dan. “Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow Psychology.” Pp. 431-449. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 443.


“... cultural adaptation also vastly increased heritable variation among groups, and this gave rise to the evolution of group beneficial cultural norms and values.” Boyd, R. & P. Richerson. “Culture and the Evolution of the Human Social Instincts.” Pp. 453-477. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 454.


“Despite its many problems, theoretical work does make one fairly clear prediction that is relevant here: reciprocity can support cooperation in small groups, but not in larger ones.” Boyd, R. & P. Richerson. “Culture and the Evolution of the Human Social Instincts.” Pp. 453-477. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 460.


“Thus, the psychological mechanisms that enable human interaction may depend on the same prosocial instincts that regulate other forms of human cooperation.” Boyd, R. & P. Richerson. “Culture and the Evolution of the Human Social Instincts.” Pp. 453-477. From Enfield, N. & S. Levinson. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Berg. P. 471.


“Culture is the part of phenotypic variance that results from information transmitted across generations through social influences. It is the part of transmittability that results from social learning.” Danchin, E., L. Giraldeau & F. Cezilly. Behavioural Ecology. 2008. Oxford University Press. P. 700.


“Horizontal and oblique transmissions of transmittable information profoundly change the rules of information transfer across generations. This has major consequences for the way evolution may function. Processes that are impossible with purely vertical transmission may become possible with cultural transmission. For instance, group selection is impossible with purely genetic transmission. However, one effect of horizontal cultural transmission is to homogenize individuals belonging to the same group while increasing the variance among groups, leading to the emergence of the cultural group as a new unit of selection.” Danchin, E., L. Giraldeau & F. Cezilly. Behavioural Ecology. 2008. Oxford University Press. P. 709.


“However, the evidence for teaching in animals is very scant.” Danchin, E., L. Giraldeau & F. Cezilly. Behavioural Ecology. 2008. Oxford University Press. P. 710.


“Indeed, a fundamental difference between genes and memes is that genes are transmitted even if they are not expressed, whereas memes can only be transmitted through their expression in order to allow social learning.” Danchin, E., L. Giraldeau & F. Cezilly. Behavioural Ecology. 2008. Oxford University Press. P. 719.


Authors & Works cited in Cultural Criticism:

Barnard, Alan. Social Anthropology and Human Origins.
Bloom, Allan, The Closing of the American Mind
Boyd, Robert & Peter Richerson. "Culture and the evolution of human cooperation."
Boyd, R. & P. Richerson. “Culture and the Evolution of the Human Social Instincts.”
Cartmill, Matt & Fred Smith. 2009. The Human Lineage.
Danchin, E., L. Giraldeau & F. Cezilly. Behavioural Ecology
De Zengotita, T. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World
Duerr, Hans Peter, Dreamtime; Concerning the Boundary between Wildness
Ehrlich P. and A. Ehrlich. The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment
Gamble, Clive. Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory
Gellner, Ernest, Plough, Sword and Book; The Structure of Human History
Gergen, Kenneth J., "The Saturated Family,"
Gerhardt, Sue. Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain.
Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity
Graeber, D. Army of Altruists: On the Alienated Right to Do Good
Henrich, Joseph. "A Cultural Species.
Hoffmeyer, J. “The Changing Concept of Information in the Study of Life
Hrdy, Sarah. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding
Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History.
Ingold, Tim. The Perception of the Environment: Essays in livelihood
Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture; Where Old and New Media Collide
Konner, Melvin. The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind.
Laland, Kevin & G. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human
Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern
Mithen, Steven. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5,000 BC
Picasso, Pablo
Renfrew, Colin. Prehistory: the Making of the Human Mind
Richerson, Peter & Robert Boyd. Not by Genes Alone
Richerson, P. and R. Boyd. "Cultural Evolution: Accomplishments and Future Prospects
Saul, John Ralston, Voltaire's Bastards
Shryock, Andrew & D. Smail. Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present.
Sperber, Dan. “Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow
Swidler, Ann. “Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies.”
Taylor, Charles, "Overcoming Epistemology," After Philosophy:
Watts, Alan, The Book
Wheeler, Gordon. “The Developing Field: Toward a Gestalt Development
Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge

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