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Is culture really all about terror management?

 
 
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2015 10:37 pm
@FBM,
You boys are baaaaaadddd.
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2015 10:37 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:
But, did he get the crop he expected from his sacrifice?


I don't know, ci. Perhaps we should ask Stephen King.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/57/ChildrenoftheCornPoster.jpg

Lousy movie, by the way.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Dec, 2015 03:22 pm
Manored sent me a private message, apparently intent on maintaining a squabble about nomadic hunter gatherers and parasites. He says it is not relevant, and that's why he sent me a PM. I pointed out that it was a part of a discussion with the author of the thread, and told him not to send me any more PMs. He has just done so again. Therefore, if he keeps this up, i will copy the PMs, complete with insulting sneers about why i post here, and i will paste them into this thread. I don't need this sh*t, and i don't intend to be harassed by Manored just because he is incapable of admitting that he might be wrong.
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Dec, 2015 09:38 pm
@Setanta,
That reminds me. I may (or may not) be wrong about how filthy early urban centers were compared to the nomadic lifestyle. I'd have to do some more research into it before making a claim. However, you were wrong in calling me a city boy. I grew up barefoot way, way out in the countryside, picking ticks off me in the summers, scratching chigger bites, swimming/fishing in creeks, lakes, ponds and rivers, wringing chickens' necks for dinner, etc. Not that it matters, but there ya are. Oh, and I still chew tobacco and dip snuff, so there's that. Wink
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 03:32 am
@FBM,
You have my apologies for maligning you as a city boy. You should have a good idea, then, about how exposed to parasitic hitchhikers our ancestors were. Once again, i was not saying there were no parasites in the city, just that nomadic hunter gatherers were going to have a full load of parasites.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 05:23 am
@Setanta,
No offense taken. You had no way of knowing. No doubt about the parasites, though, but as primates we're pretty good about picking them off ourselves and others in our troupe. And we could bathe in a clean stream, pond, lake or river just about anytime we wanted. I'm no stranger to unnoticed cow piles squishing up between my toes, though. Or "battles" fought with dried ones.

Mostly, though, I was thinking about the lack of designated latrines in the early city-states. You'd know more about this than I would, judging from your relatively detailed knowledge of history. Not long ago, I was reading something about some ancient Greek philosopher (or biographer of philosophers?) mentioning trying to find a place safe enough to take a dump in Athens at night without falling into pool of others' prior visitations. When I was wandering the woods as a wild young 'un, we made sure to get off the trail and find a place where nobody would step in it, at least. Yee haw.

And then later there was the fleas, overcrowding and general lack of sanitation that led to the Black Plague. Them city folk eventually got their act together, but early on the learning curve was pretty steep, it seems. I may be wrong, but my impression is that the Romans led the way in that respect. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'd welcome it.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 05:55 am
@FBM,
Once again, i wasn't denying the filth of cities--and this discussion was motivated by Hobbes' charge that life in a state of nature was, among other things, nasty. I don't think you'd be doing much bathing in streams, etc., for most of the year during the ice ages. Also, for parasites such as fleas and lice, you need not only to bathe, but to put on clean clothing afterward. Not only would washing clothing made from animal skins be difficult, but it would tend to ruin the fabric of your garments. Chiggers, as you know, burrow into the skin--bathing wouldn't help much. The main thrust of my remarks was that the parasites of wilderness would be constantly renewed. Get rid of the fleas, and you'll pick up a new load the next time you go out to hunt or forage.

As for public health systems throughout history, the evidence is generally lacking. If archaeologists don't find it, it's unlikely to show up in written records. From what evidence we do have, it was spotty--so few good examples, where there is any evidence at all. Public baths were always one of the best measures, because heating water is expensive of fuel, and the Roman system was efficient in that regard. Public baths were also common among the Russians. We know this because western diplomats would comment on it in their correspondence--they found the thought disgusting and the people who availed themselves of it promiscuous. (I doubt that last allegation--i don't think there would have been a lot of promiscuous behavior when one goes out into frigid weather after having bathed.) There was a great irony in the Roman system, though. They brought water to cities on aqueducts, and they used soft lead pipes. That was because soft lead can just be rolled around a dowel rod, and then soldered quickly and easily. If a section of pipe blows out from the water pressure, it can be quickly replaced. But that also meant the population was exposed to chronic, pernicious lead poisoning, which, bluntly, makes people stupid and crazy. Looking at the history of the later empire in the west, that seems about right.

In his history of the English-speaking people, Churchill characterizes the middle ages as a period when the lights went out all over Europe and people stopped bathing. It is certainly true that "authorities" in the middle ages advised against bathing, alleging that it weakened the body's defenses against disease. (A very strange notion to us, as we tend to associate dirt with disease.) Renaissance Italy went through a fad for city planning, and providing clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing was as simple as renewing the Roman aqueducts, and waste remove meant building sewers such as the Romans had used. Public baths, though, were not popular, and in a population which had previously not bathed regularly, i can see why. Clean clothing was a big problem, too. People in Europe wore wool, and washing it is a pain, because it tends to shrink, which means that it has to be blocked while it dries out. Generally, a manor would provide a new set of clothes to the serfs once a year.

The biggest problem with the spread of disease was manure and offal in the streets. That's why i commented earlier on the automobile. When trucks began to deliver goods to cities, and horses began to disappear, the incidence and prevalence of disease dropped dramatically. As this coincided with the advent of other public health ideas, eliminating offal became an issue of legislative reform. The old English word for a slaughterhouse was shambles, so it is small wonder that shambles has come to mean a mess, a confusion. In rural areas, moving the livestock out of the house, and piling the manure a goodly distance from the house helped--but even well into the 20th century, rural areas were known for the rapid spread of disease. You don't get a lot of public health inspectors in villages.

Parasites, though, have always been with us, and likely always will be. Lice were a big problem when i was in Korea, although i suspect they've licked that one by now. But public health measures need constant vigilance. The recent resurgence of bed bugs is a good example of what happens when people become complacent.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 07:01 am
@Setanta,
Thanks for that. I found more interesting reading here: http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-life/medieval-hygiene.htm
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 11:37 am
@Setanta,
The Japanese also had public baths where both sexes used the same bath.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 09:11 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Still do.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 09:32 pm
@FBM,
Do they have the same practice in Korea?
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 09:37 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Sadly, no. http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb192/DinahFyre/sad_shakefist.gif
0 Replies
 
Razzleg
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 03:31 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

Working with a simple definition of culture:

culture
noun cul·ture \ˈkəl-chər\
Simple Definition of culture

: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
: a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)

What's your take on TMT? I've only recently become aware of it, and so far it seems to me to explain a lot quite well:

Quote:
Terror Management Theory (TMT) was proposed in 1986 by social psychologists Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski, and Sheldon Solomon. The theory was inspired by the writings of cultural anthropologist, Ernest Becker, and was initiated by two relatively simple questions: Why do people have such a great need to feel good about themselves?; and Why do people have so much trouble getting along with those different from themselves?

The basic gist of the theory is that humans are motivated to quell the potential for terror inherent in the human awareness of vulnerability and mortality by investing in cultural belief systems (or worldviews) that imbue life with meaning, and the individuals who subscribe to them with significance (or self-esteem). Since its inception, the theory has generated empirical research into not just the nature of self-esteem motivation and prejudice, but also a host of other forms of human social behavior. To date, over 300 studies conducted in over a dozen countries have explored such topics as aggression, stereotyping, needs for structure and meaning, depression and psychopathology (e.g., phobias), political preferences, creativity, sexuality and attraction, romantic and interpersonal attachment, self-awareness, unconscious cognition, martyrdom, religion, group identification, disgust, human-nature relations, physical health, risk taking, and legal judgments. Please see the list of publications for more specific information.


http://www.tmt.missouri.edu/ [emphasis added]

If I understand correctly, they say that culture is more or less a palliative against the fear of death. Again, I just ran across TMT a couple of days ago and am still in the process of analyzing my subjective experiences with regards to it. If you have an opinion about it, I'd be happy to hear it, especially if you know of a way that I'm misunderstanding what TMT is all about.


Seems like the basic flip-side of Hobbes' "Leviathan" thesis --- ie, without "culture" we'd all be trying to kill each other...
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 04:10 am
@Razzleg,
I don't understand how you arrived at that. Would you mind explaining a little?
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 12:17 pm
@Razzleg,
"Killing each other" has nothing to do with 'culture.'
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 02:26 pm
@cicerone imposter,
It did in Sparta, and Japan to name but two martial cultures.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 02:53 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Most countries have had civil wars where they killed their own countrymen. Study your world history.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 05:14 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

Most countries have had civil wars where they killed their own countrymen. Study your world history.


I have, and both Sparta and Japan had martial cultures where "killing each other," was either the foundation on which their society was built, or developed as something of an art form and/or philosophy.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2016 05:33 pm
I can't tell if Razz is talking about people within a culture killing each other, or humans in general killing each other. I'm not sure how warfare would be exempted from culture, either way. Seems like it would be pro our (sub)culture and con theirs.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2016 06:14 pm
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

I can't tell if Razz is talking about people within a culture killing each other, or humans in general killing each other. I'm not sure how warfare would be exempted from culture, either way. Seems like it would be pro our (sub)culture and con theirs.


The latter I would think. In any case the Japanese did both.
 

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