Re: CyberAnthropology: a new paradigm

Fri, 11 Feb 1994 11:35:10 -0500

>-------------------------end quote---------------------------------
>Sure. First off, in case you didn't notice we have been spending a
>lot of time on this list talking about the word "culture". I sort
>of thought that concept, which has a long history and its own biblio-
>graphy (not to mention the unbelievable compilation of definitions by
>Kluckhohn and Kroeber), might be familiar to anthropologists, but
>we have shown that we can't even hear each other on that subject.
>We use the same word to mean mutually exclusive things. Given that
>problem with the word culture, is there any driving, pressing need to
>introduce another term to confound the discussion when we already
>don't know what we're talking about? Mum's--no, meme's the word,

We've been spending too much time on culture. It's time to start spending
time on the *real* subject of anthropology: (semi)hairless anthropoids. Or
is anthro's only possible subject human beings...?

>As to the allegation that thprocessor on our machine only uses
>10-20% of its capacity, let me go first to analogy. My stereo/hifi
>has a 200 watt amp; maybe 15 watts, with my speakers, is enough
>to blast you out of the room. Why all the "extra" power? Because
>it isn't extra at all That reserve capacity means transients
>are handled smoothly, system noise is reduced to practically zero,
>and distortion is at a minimum at peak speaker power.

Ah, the importance of redundancy in systems....

>Twice in my life I have been in situations that were super-stressed
>and life-threatening where I had to act. In both cases some-
>thing put my system into overdrive. I did things I had neither the
>training nor the conscious knowledge nor the strength to do, I
>did them all without thinking about it, and I did them exactly right.
>(One of those occasions had me performing a surgical operation,
>telling a nurse how to assist me, and simultaneously starting and
>running a military police search team to get an MD to the operating
>room to take over. Believe me, that was all way over my head--
>and it got me recommended for a medal.What's more, I saved the
>patient's life and his future use of his arm.)
>Sure, our systems run at only a small fraction of capacity nearly
>all the time. What that's about is the extraordinary capacity to
>go into overdrive on extremely rare occasions where survival may
>depend on what looks like superhuman effort. I've talked to others
>who've had the "overdrive" experience. They agree that when it
>happened they did more than they were capable of had they not been
>operating way outside normal limitation Where did we get the
>ability? From that "unused" 80-90% of the processor's power.
>Having experienced the overdrive state, twice, I can also say I do
>not ever want to go through it again. It's totally draining. Once
>you've done what you had to do, and you can look up, you start
>shaking without knowing it, you sweat, you probably puke. You never
>remember what you were thinking while you were doing the right
>thing. (My other overdrive experience was a direct threat to my
>own life. I knew it, too. But I just didn't pay any attention
>to that while I did what had to be done in the situation. To my
>normal view of things, that's crazy. In the circumstances, it was
>also exactly the right thing to do. But I hope I never do anything
>like that ever again. I hope I'm never even near a situation where
>anybody is called on to do anything similar.)
>Let me underline the rarity of the overdrive state. Although I have
>been in and out of some tight situations (in Nica, just missing a
>contra attack; rough spots in Guatemala and Chiapas), my two over-
>drive experiences were in 1953 and 1960. (Maybe there was a third
>in 1953, but that had to do with the Korean War. War brings a lot
>of calls for mental and physical overdrive. That may be just the
>point . . . )
>mike salovesh <t20mxs1@niu.bitnet> OR <>

Mike, you've provided this list with something invaluable. (At least, I
think it is.)
The "overdrive" state, folks. Is it cross-cultural? Does it manifest
differently in other societies? Might it actually be defined differently by
other societies as something not so 'abnormal' or rare? Dare anthropology
to stray into the realm of extraordinary human abilities and come out

Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
Anthropologist, Cybernaut, PoMoDemite, Noetician, Situationiste, et al.
University of Florida, Gainesville, Cosmic Nexus of the Universal Matrix
"'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds!" --Malaclypse the Younger