Jun 17, 2009

What about talking? Gifts in story.

I talked in my St Pat's Day post about Language. Now I've been learning some things about communications that lead me to think the gift of story goes back further. 

Primates of many types understand and respond to language in amazing ways. Many mammals can learn to respond to aural stimuli but some chimps gather the meaning of numerous words and are able to understand them even when they're put together in unique, new ways! Watching a chimp carry a TV out of the enclosure to the prompt, "Can you bring the TV outside?" was instructional. We know that birds understand words and learn to create unique sequences. We know that recent experiments have placed the gene for language into mice. We know that most mammals experience emotions, some as complex as human emotions. So, when are we going to let them vote?

People turned this ability for language into an entirely new thing. I can relate a story or idea to you in a few words and if you grasp the concepts behind the story, you can repeat the story without remembering or even using any of my words. If you know more than one language you most likely can translate my story. This is how human culture has created a new life form on earth. Society. Human society exists as a living organism separate from the individuals that make it up. We've created a monster be allowing a new replicator -like genes- to participate in our culture. The meme builds languages to allow for easier replication of these conceptual life forms.

Wow, we've really got it good don't we?

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