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 looking through the eyes of a modern day stone age man

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normanhurst
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PostSubject: looking through the eyes of a modern day stone age man   Thu 11 Apr 2013 - 1:51

Apart from Poole quay on a Friday and Saturday night, where would you find the most primitive people… those most unaffected by the modern world?
What has kept them as the nearest thing to the living Stone Age… isolation maybe…
With all the speculation about how and why Stonehenge was built etc, and a multitude of other ancient secrets… can’t we learn something from them? To look at a problem through their eyes would be most enlightening.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: looking through the eyes of a modern day stone age man   Thu 11 Apr 2013 - 6:55

Where? The rainforests of Brazil and the mountains and forests of Papua/New Guinea, areas that are fairly inaccessable due to terrain and still isolated as a result.

I'm sure there is much to learn from people still following their traditional ways, but we in the so called 'civilised' world tend to be arrogant about things like that. If the number of times terms like 'first and third worlds', or 'stone age' and 'dark ages' are bandied about (as examples of an undesirable state of existance) are any indication anway.

Look at Australia as an example, only 200yrs ago it had a perfect example of a stone age population and did it or does it attempt to learn anything from it's indigenous inhabitants? The opposite in fact, it has always and still does exert extreme pressure on Aboriginal communities to follow and live a European existance, almost to the exclusion of any other.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: looking through the eyes of a modern day stone age man   Thu 11 Apr 2013 - 9:00

Cultural Anthropology is the discipline which does - amongst other things - just what you describe, Norm.

There is a tendency these days to avoid using terms such as "primitive" to describe contemporary cultures which have established and retained social cohesion without ever having developed an apparent need for a complex material interaction with their environment, and in fact study of their adaptation to their relative environments is often used to illuminate and advance our understanding of human adaptational patterns generally, including those pertaining to more complex societies. Exactly what you wondered about, in other words.

Archaeological Anthropology has also played a part in bringing about this more informed appreciation of diversity without prejudicial assessments of "primitivism" clouding the issue. Over the years the accumulation of material evidence for the development of these cultures has helped dispel the notion that they have been somehow "stuck" in developmental stasis since the Stone Age (or indeed any other point in time in the past). As we now understand much more about climate change patterns over the millennia, for example, we can find evidential data supporting the theory that in many cases these cultures, just like everyone else on the planet, were often forced to adapt in order to survive, a point which of course should really have been self-evident from the start given that they have survived to be studied at all.

Interestingly, both archaeology and anthropology started out as scientific endeavours to understand contemporary society, and it was a while before a true understanding of the chronology and genuine antiquity of human development began to become evident through the findings this research produced. We tend nowadays to think of both as being obsessed primarily with the past, but in many ways Cultural Anthropology's renewed emphasis on applying its findings to understanding contemporary human societies is actually it being true to its genuine origins as a science.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: looking through the eyes of a modern day stone age man   Thu 11 Apr 2013 - 10:37

How do you get to study these communities with their cooperation? Like ID my first thought was Papua New Guinea and the Amazon rainforests were places where there are some communities who have not have much, if any, contact with the outside world, and I don't feel that Papua New Guinean tribal members would be entirely welcoming. (Having said that, there is a man in our community - not academic, not religious, not wealthy - who spends about half his life there, having been befriended by a local family in a very isolated area, and working with and for them.

Last year I read of an Italian family who suffered from fatal familialinsomnia and they were very reluctant to allow any sort of medical intervention and study, feeling they were freakish and not wanting to be analysed. It has taken many years for them to feel comfortable about being studied with a view to being helped. Not that seems to be anything that can actually be done to help them.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: looking through the eyes of a modern day stone age man   Thu 11 Apr 2013 - 10:56

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How do you get to study these communities with their cooperation?

You ask them, I suppose.

It is generally understood that isolated societies composed primarily of phratries are more amenable to active cooperation. Those composed primarily of moieties are more resistant. There have been many occasions of debate concerning the behaviour of certain anthropologists with regard to moietical cultures - the consensus now is that the most ethical approach is no approach at all.

It is also misleading to assume that all such cultures can automatically be assumed to have the level of material interaction with their environment that they do primarily because they have been historically isolated from others. The two circumstances can overlap but need not, as studies of indigenous cultures in South America have often shown.
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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Re: looking through the eyes of a modern day stone age man   Fri 12 Apr 2013 - 19:19

I certainly agree with no approach at all… a great pity it’s a more modern reasoning. I read that no matter how primitive a people were the missionaries of old began with ramming religion down their throats and getting them clothed… to hide their ‘sin’…
Hypothetically what would kick start a culture making inroads into the modern world? I note the nomads wandering the central regions of Africa herding goats etc. all seem to sport fancy watches for example…
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