Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 06:40:19 AM EST
A short diary. A diary to start up a conversation by telling you something.
There has been a quite astounding discovery in anthropology recently. And I learned it from the New York Times magazine article about God and antrhopology. The NYT Magazine is like a jewel of journalism that I would deem as the best in the world. As long as they exist, the US Empire is worthy... somehow:)
But this discover does not matter so much really unless you ar every much into it... but the article that appears in the NYTM explains very clearly why Free market rules... without really realizing. It also explains very well what I have been trying to explain all this time about Levi-Strauss, and narratives, and mythologies... and reality...
Here I try to explain in more detail why reality does not matter or even exists..even in what one would consider the most reality-absed of our needs: our economic system.
From the diaries -- whataboutbob
First what I learnt. I learnt that some parts of the "false-belief test" already fail with 15 months-old children. This is really remarkable if you know what I am talking about (or you like science and antrhopology very much).
But if you don't, it is worthy to recall the full "false-belief test" and why narratives and mythologies work.
I will use the words of Darwin's God. The article about God itself is rather lame.. regarding God and the simple vision that everything have to be an adaptation or coming as a byproduct of adaptation. The fact that universal traits could not be biological or that if they are bilological may not have anything to do with anything called evolution (in the sense of some kind of improvement) is out of their frame, a pity.
But I am not here to discuss why the darwinian approach or even frame is bad and utterly wrong regarding this planet history but about hard-core data in antrhopology and pshychology (in the good sense of the word psychology ... anthropological pshychology).
And here it goes...one of the human universals is the structural belief that there is a common mind denominator. No matter if you live in a culture where the self exists or does not exist, it does not matter your vision about the relations with other, or if you live in referential or self-center structure... every human has the ability to know/act/produce that the other may have the same "sense/theory of mind" that one has, what I like to call "social awareness" (other people call it in other ways).
And here is the standard theory:
The traditional psychological view has been that until about age 4, children think that minds are permeable and that everyone knows whatever the child himself knows. To a young child, everyone is infallible. All other people, especially Mother and Father, are thought to have the same sort of insight as an all-knowing God.
But at a certain point in development, this changes. (Some new research suggests this might occur as early as 15 months.) The “false-belief test” is a classic experiment that highlights the boundary. Children watch a puppet show with a simple plot: John comes onstage holding a marble, puts it in Box A and walks off. Mary comes onstage, opens Box A, takes out the marble, puts it in Box B and walks off. John comes back onstage. The children are asked, Where will John look for the marble?
Very young children, or autistic children of any age, say John will look in Box B, since they know that’s where the marble is. But older children give a more sophisticated answer. They know that John never saw Mary move the marble and that as far as he is concerned it is still where he put it, in Box A. Older children have developed a theory of mind; they understand that other people sometimes have false beliefs. Even though they know that the marble is in Box B, they respond that John will look for it in Box A.
But, now put God into the picture.. God or Free Market or anything that a mythological structure has ingrained in the society... and what do you get?
Barrett showed young children a box with a picture of crackers on the outside. What do you think is inside this box? he asked, and the children said, “Crackers.” Next he opened it and showed them that the box was filled with rocks. Then he asked two follow-up questions: What would your mother say is inside this box? And what would God say?
As earlier theory-of-mind experiments already showed, 3- and 4-year-olds tended to think Mother was infallible, and since the children knew the right answer, they assumed she would know it, too. They usually responded that Mother would say the box contained rocks. But 5- and 6-year-olds had learned that Mother, like any other person, could hold a false belief in her mind, and they tended to respond that she would be fooled by the packaging and would say, “Crackers.”
And what would God say? No matter what their age, the children, who were all Protestants, told Barrett that God would answer, “Rocks.” This was true even for the older children, who, as Barrett understood it, had developed folkpsychology and had used it when predicting a wrong response for Mother. They had learned that, in certain situations, people could be fooled — but they had also learned that there is no fooling God.
The bottom line, according to byproduct theorists, is that children are born with a tendency to believe in omniscience, invisible minds, immaterial souls — and then they grow up in cultures that fill their minds, hard-wired for belief, with specifics. It is a little like language acquisition, Paul Bloom says, with the essential difference that language is a biological adaptation and religion, in his view, is not. We are born with an innate facility for language but the specific language we learn depends on the environment in which we are raised. In much the same way, he says, we are born with an innate tendency for belief, but the specifics of what we grow up believing — whether there is one God or many, whether the soul goes to heaven or occupies another animal after death — are culturally shaped.
Now change God for free market... and I think you know what I have been talking about all this time here...the only thing is that "belief" is not the proper word.. is actually a mixture of narrative explanation requirement (addressed also in the article) and social awareness. In this world (ours), reality does not matter, actually reality is not what we think that reality is. Reality is just a byproduct of the mythology we learnt when we were kids without being aware of the fact. And this is associated with a certain way to look at the world around us also linked wiht our mythological framework. But belief systems and narratives and false-belief frames are universal. The particulars are different..and in these differences we show how to think about the human world (society) and about reality.
A fight to define reality is a fight to define the narrative and the myths we share. Reality mythology is about how we see and how we would like the human kind to change in the future... A fight of mtyhs. And of course the NYT Magazine puts it better that everyhting I could have managed.... only that they talk about God..we talk about Free Market.