Monday, May 15, 2017

"Frexit" shows human powers

"The Invisible History of the Human Race", "The 10,000 Year Explosion" and "A Troublesome Inheritance" are three books that got me interested in what I learned to call "prehistory".  Whether it is "pre" or continuous history, it is fun to learn about what our ancestors did, how they lived, and how they managed to advance in the ways they did.  Frans de Waal in "Our Inner Ape" states his opinion that the main force for humans (N= 7.5 Billion) instead of chimps (N=40,000) was monogamy.  I don't know enough about either human or chimp sexual relations but it may well be so. Evidently, the practice of monogamy increases our awareness of who is related to us in ways that chimps lose track of more quickly that we tend to.

When we think of human powers, the first idea that comes up is often "intelligence", whatever that is.  "The 10,000 Year Explosion" says that the last 10,000 years saw the beginnings of both agriculture and writing.  But what has gotten to be a headline with me is "language" and its cousin, "communication".  Vocabulary, or what words I can say or write that have meaning for you and vice versa, is a big factor in what we can communicate to each other.

I noticed that the word "Frexit" seems to have become intelligible to people over there and over here without much difficulty.  It is based on the word Brexit, which I just learned was derived from Grexit, a noun referring to the question of whether Greece would leave the European Union.  I am not familiar with the debates, the forces, the position, the demands made back and forth over Greek finances, nor the British proposal to leave the European Union.  Still, when I see the word "Frexit", I know it refers to the French leaving the European Union.

The book "What Hath God Wrought" explains the recurrent battles, arguments and threats to break apart the US federation.  As soon as some arrangement or some ego gets bruised, the idea can occur to somebody to by God leave the encumbering arrangement.  

I think the word Frexit being so quickly constructed and so easily used is an example of humankind showing its ability to make use of sights and sounds to convey ideas and feelings.  I try to stay aware of the need for food, air, water and other material things that we physical creatures need but it is amazing how much we can do with our shared and interconnected minds.

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