Re: [OPE-L] on observing rape in dolphins

From: clyder@GN.APC.ORG
Date: Sat Nov 25 2006 - 14:40:02 EST

Quoting Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU>:
 > >I am not saying that the pre-literate cultures were not human cultures,
> >as they were obviously populated by people. What I am saying is that
> >the pre-literate cultures had not reached the stage of development
> >in the technology of handling information that allowed them to
> >achieve universality in labouring capacity.
> Which the transmission of written information you say is the
> differentia specifica of human labor
> (of course this makes the professor computer science the most human of all).
> Pre-literate cultures cannot thus be differentiated from other so
> called animal cultures; and
> it follows from your argument that they could not achieve dominance
> as a species on this planet.
> The latter claim is empirically false; the former claim is to equate
> pre-literacy with non human
> animality as Jerry has equated primitive communism with non human animality.

I am not saying that pre-literate human cultures can not be distinguished from
the cultures of other species. The most significant difference is in
the degree of development of language in all human cultures which
far exceeds that achieved by other species for whom the language
has been properly studies. This is a technology of information
transmission which allows a pre-literate culture to store and
transmit between generations much more information than can be
transmitted by other species.

However, it is only with the development of large scale agriculture
and urban society that people come to dominate the eco-system.
Along with this there develop technologies of record which are
necessary for :

a) the coordination of large scale collaborative labour
b) the planning of large scale engineering or architectural projects
c) the accretion and cross fertilisation of technological specialities

I would argue that these technologies of record are a pre-requisite
for the forms of productive forces and the forms of labour collaboration
required by a society that comes to dominate the eco-system.

I am unaware of any society that has dominated the eco-system without
the aid of technologies of record. You say my claim is false, so can
you tell which examples you are thinking of?

Note that by technolgies of record I do not just mean writing,
it also includes other means of storing and transmitting information:
quipu, tallies, clay vessels containing tokens, etc.

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