Forwarded from Anthony (biology, etc.)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Dec 23 13:13:42 MST 2001

Regarding tribalism, biology, and carrots

Joan Cameron wrote,

"I would place tribalism in the category of uniquely human. Human
relationships within the tribe are modulated through entirely human
agency. That is the whole point of mythology and ritual. Animal group
behaviour is also learned, but only serrendipitously."

That depends on what you mean by tribalism. What I mean is a large
extended family group living together, raising children together,
protecting each other, sharing food with each other, and
communicating with each other. Many mamals live in such tribes,
especially primates (although not all do) and elephants. Mythology
and ritual are uniquely human, but they are recent products of tribal
living - which antedates the evoluiotn of human beings as a species.

As for the 'preconditions' that led to the evolution of a uniquely
human species, I really didn't fully state my opinion. I think that
it is clear that the physiological preconditions need to be looked at
as a whole - not as if one part determined the whole structure, e,g,
our opposable thumbs. The four key elements of the whole were - in my
very humble opinion - 1)pre-humans were omniverous, and not tied to
any one kind of food source, plant or animal. 2) pre-humans were
tribal, hence long term childraising was possible 3) pre-humans
developed upright posture. 4) pre-humans developed opposable thumbs.

Our big brains were a product of the thumb, the communication needs
of tribal living, and possibly the motive needs of upright posture.
However, our big brains could not have evolved, had we not already
been living in tribal societies. The little big headed babies would
have been eaten up before they ever could walk.

And about carrots sleeping. Dormancy, and sleep are different things.
Plants don't have central nervous systems, so they can't 'sleep'.
People also can't go dormant, although I know that many appear to be
dormant all of their lives (not on this list of course.)

All the best, Anthony

Louis Proyect, lnp3 at on 12/23/2001

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