Re: SOC: The Monkey God (Was: Cannot prove nor disprove a soul.)

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 06:54:51 MST

At 08:01 AM 22/01/00 EST, Greg Burch wrote:

[`god' is the supposed silverback in primates hard-wired to attribute
intention to any action in the world]

>I'm sure this idea has been put forward by someone else before.

I rather think so. Nicely summarised, though.

There are some small difficulties in making it predictive rather than
retro-interpretative. Australian aboriginal cultures, arguably holding the
longest continuity in their belief structures of any living humans, did not
have a big god, and many of their ancestor `spirits' (or metaphysical
hypostatisations, or something) were animals, boulders, etc. Most of the
constellations are primal animals, narrativised in anthropomorphic terms
but clearly the birds and beasts of the important local ecologies: a
gigantic mnemonic and instructional system for a pre-literate hunter
gatherer lifestyle. I think this actually goes to support Greg's model, or
the mind-twitch that underlies it: our reflex to attribute motive and
purpose to brute events in the world, especially those that are violent,
crucial to life, or simply eye- and ear-catching - perhaps the basis also,
therefore, of art and music.


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