This all realates to myth in that we are seeing the importance of fictions as a social necessity to maintain order and allow humans to work as a team consisiting of far more people than we could ever hope to be socialy active with. Our imagination allows our tribe to be of indefinte size because we’ve reduced the risk that goes along with trusting strangers.
As the author demonstratd earlier, we humans can only deal socially in groups no more than 100-150 people. After that it’s too many and problems arrise. However, because we can create these fictions, we can trust that people we’ve never met, whom otherwise we would be at war with, we enter into agreements of commerce and for other services, even though they are not part of our “tribe” of 150.
So because of our imaginations, since this Cognitive Revolution, we have been able to use our imaginations to create a dual reality, one of concrete things such as factories and mountains, and another of corporations and gods living in the mountains.
Interesting juxtaposition between conjuring up a LLC and a priest turning water and wine into Christ’s blood and body. There is a lot of convincing going on in both cases and the stronger the argument the more likely we’ll buy into the idea. “Telling effective stories is not easy. The difficulity lies not in telling the story, but convincing everyone else to believe it.”
This next bit about legal fictions is interesting. Does a corporation (limited liability company) actually exist? Pugeot has factories and products and employees, but take all these assets away … and Puegot STILL exists. We conjur up these legal fictions like a wizard and all agree to recognize these fictions are reality.
Since gossip tends to focus on wrongdoing, then it could be seen as a social corrective to maintain an order within the group, not only in terms of purly communicating this bad news, but to possibly prevent someone from engaing in behavior that would cause gossip. It’s like a check and balance.
The author now goes onto to talk about this complexity being highly social and that gossip is a key feature of this complexity. Since we are social then communicating social information, such as who can be trusted, or who is sleeping with whom, is imporant to managing our social standing and situation.
Our langauge is far more complex, however. We can not only warn of a lion in the neighborhood, we can also say exactly where, at what time, on what path is seemed to be taking, what the lion looked like =- we can convey far more information than a green monkey.
Langauge is seen as the driving force of our superiority, but in what way? Lots of animals have langauges, such as a green monkey that can alert the group if there is a hawk in the sky or a lion on the ground (they make a distinction). They can even lie about a lion being present so they can steal the banannas for themselves.
The author proposes a “Cognitive Revolution” had taken place, and this is attribuited to a possible genetic mutation whch helped rewire our brains. He calls this the “Tree of Knowledge mutation’.
After 80,000 years of nothing, we get a period between 70,000 years ago and 45,000 years ago where we wiped out the Neandethals, crossed the oceans to Australia, and settled Europe and east Asia. We invented boats, oil lamps, bows and arrows, and needles in just 25,000 years wheras previously we didn’t do anything.
So we begin with wondering why there was such a long time between when our species first populated Africa 150,000 years ago we didn’t become the dominant “human” species (Neanderthals) until 70,000 years ago. That’s 80,000 years of not much doing.