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October 14, 2016
Posted at 10:14 am
 

The Caveman--Chapters 58-59

We're now coming to what's perhaps the heart of the conceit that underlies my story.
If anyone's still in doubt, I agree 100% with what Graham says in his lecture; that's the author talking there. I know there are learned texts hypothesizing that somehow humankind went through some sort of mental epiphany somewhere during the annals of recorded history, or just beforehand, profoundly altering the ways in which thought was processed or sensory perceptions integrated into the internal self. Perhaps they're correct, but I just don't see it. The human species must have differentiated itself from the rest of the animal kingdom long before; the records of archaelogical artifacts seem to me to make that clear. The famous cave paintings, the technological advance of Clovis flint knapping, and so forth all speak to the same point. Burial sites also hint strongly at some sort of ritualistic quasi-religious mindset in pre-history. We have, in sum, a helluva lot of evidence that early modern humans were mentally as evolved as they are today, and little to say that they were intellectually the inferiors of our glorious modern selves and required some unspecified further evolution, beyond the physical process that reached its present level perhaps 50,000-75,000 years ago, to rise to our current status. Contemporary society is merely the culmination of millennia of development building on what had gone before, and fostered by growing population pressure that was partially engendered by an increasing life expectancy that directly resulted from the evolutionary growth in brain-power, rather than any dramatic breakthrough in evolution. At least such is my view, and it's going to take a lot of archaeological or sociological proof to give me cause to re-think it.