Anthropological Serendipity

biol evolution on left cultural evolution on right

biol evolution on left cultural evolution on right

Don’t you just love it when an interesting trail starts to lead you deeper and deeper where you find a huge treasure chest of resources freely available as if you had specifically asked for them to be collated for you.

A hat tip to Keith Fortovsky who has been guest blogging over at at Cognitive Edge where he mentioned the late great anthropologist Mary Douglas and her grid-group model in an hugely interesting article from Prospect Magazine.

Trying to find this grid as a picture on Google images I fell upon a Flickr collection of amazing quality, depth and richness. A collection of diagrams featuring Great diagrams in Anthropology, Linguistics and Social theory as collected by the wonderfully named ‘afterantelope’.

Simply browse over the thumbnail pictures to get a glimpse of the fragment of anthropological knowledge that picture represents.The first fragment to interest me is shown above and illustrates on the left the divergent branching of biological evolutionwhile contrasting on the right with the often convergent branching of evolutionary culture.

I am getting more and more optimistic and excited about Cognitive Edge, my involvement and its current direction as it really does feel, to me at least, like a real renaissance, a cultural movement encompassing a revival of learning based on traditional sources such as anthropology and narrative while engaging with the new cognitive sciences while overturning all the ‘past their sell date’, ‘first fit’ approaches currently out out there, that seem so pitiful in hindsight.

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