Re: Putting it on the grund

Nick Corduan (nickc@IQUEST.NET)
Mon, 25 Sep 1995 17:23:30 -0500


Re: the examples I gave and the applications of evolutionary thought . . .

Traditionally -- and forgive me for repeating myself a bit here, but I feel it
necessary to build the argument -- the view was that each culture had its own
"template" covering its art, technology, etc... -- i.e., its culture. On
this basis, different samples of art (et al) have often times been treated as
*evidence of different cultures*. My example -- I will use the same one --
is on the north coast of Peru.

Originally it was thought that there had been a plethora of cultures there.
Samples of blackware were seen as evidence of one template; samples of
slip-coated pots were seen as evidence of another template; sample of
fine-lined pots were seen as evidence of another template; etc... It didn't
take long before people realized that this division was a bit foolish; it
didn't even take the application of any theories or thinking patterns other
than basic layperson-level comparison of artistic styles to realize that
these really weren't all that different, and probably did not represent a
multitude of cultures, each with its own collection of thoughts, attitudes,
and cultural attributes. This multitidue has since been gathered under the
umbrella of "Moche," and is now recognized as a single culture.

*However*, there is still a mental block in this area! The Chimu culture,
which is evidenced most strongly a few centuries after the "collapse" of the
Moche, is to this day seen as a compeltely different culture. Any
similarities are rationalized away as, "Oh, they took some things they liked
from the people they conquered."

The biggest obstacle in the way of a Moche/Chimu unity is the gap, wherein
there was much warfare, terrible weather conditions, and hence little
artifactual preservation. That's where a culture study comes in, and where
evolutionary concepts become helpful.

If one begins to apply the ideas of adapation to meet circumstance and the
survivavl of those cultural traits which best adapted and hence best fit
those circumstances, one can begin to see bridges between the two cultures.
Blech. Scratch that. Ignore it. I didn't communicate that very well. <BG>

Lemme try again . . . If you start allowing yourself to examine the
circumstances of the chronological gape between the Moche culture and Chimu
culture; and you then analyze the differences between the two "templates,"
you can begin to see that many of the changes (e.g. greater emphasis on water
deities, stronger fortifications) as traits which adapted to meet the
circumstances. And why some of them are perhaps starkly different can be
explained by the principle of surival onf the fittest, particularly in light
of "the Gap." Those traits which best met the needs were the ones that
survived, and then as needs changed (e.g. weather conditions worsened, enemy
soldiers began ransacking everything in sight), they had to adapt again, and
then again, and then again . . . And since the circumstances were changing
somewhat drastically, it is only natural that some of the adaptations be
drastic, as well.

Also there is a clear reflection of the biological tendency to evolve into
greater complexity in the difference between the Chimu "template" and the
Moche "template." In the former, architecture is far more intricate, for
instance, than in the latter, where slapped together buildings suited the
nees just fine. The Chimu political structure was also more complex, more
"fully developeed" -- but nevertheless traceable to the Moche structure in
many ways. The same goes for societal characteristics and religion, as well
-- the Chimu seem to largely be a more complex Moche.

I hope I've made my point more clearly this time, but I fear that I have
not. Long day today and I'm not fully awake. <g>

Don't fear slapping me if I only suceeding in confusing matters more. I'm
also open to questions about convoluted sentences, demands to try again at
it, and, what the heck, if anybody feels the urge to call me a Nazi, go
ahead. <g>


Nick Corduan "...there is as much dignity in tilling
at a field as in writing a poem."
( --Booker T. Washington