Monday, February 20, 2006

Still Pinkering...

As always my progress with Steven Pinker's "How the Mind Works" is slow. This is because on the one hand, I normally only get to read before nodding off at night and then subsequently in the night when I wake up and can't get back to sleep and on the other because there is so much to ponder upon in the book.

We (Steven Pinker and I) are just exploring the evolution of human intelligence right now - back at the dawn of hominid awareness..."four habits which may have formed the base camp for the ascent of human knowledge": stereoscopic vision which includes a sense of three dimensional space; living in social groups and the pressures of rivalry plus the incentives of knowledge sharing; bipedalism and the consequent freeing up of the hands for manipulative use and finally hunting and gathering as a driving force behind the development of intelligence.

Well, as usual when I start to think about stuff like that it makes me wonder, "how the hell would I have fitted into a Stone-Age society? What in the name of goodness would I have contributed?"

Not much call for English teachers or translators at that time, I don't think - nor for writers really - 3 million years before writing was invented.
How about musicians then? Well, maybe I would have "invented" the guitar back then...wrapping sheep's guts around a mammoth's tusk...or maybe taken the ribcage of a wildebeest and invented the xylophone - or rather...erm....not xylophone cos that's from wood...osteophone...and then plonked out a few Stone-Age singalong hits. Come to think of it I might have invented rock and roll...

1 comment:

TLW said...


Tx for visiting moi blog ;-)
Interesting posts here ! Will surely visit often.