Let’s get primitive! And also a little freaky…
Today in STEAL FROM THE BEST, we’re heading all the way back to our ancient ancestors.
New Scientist has a very interesting article about paleoanthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger’s search for meaning in the dots and squiggles that are found on cave walls (and other places) all over the world. Go read it.
Von Petzinger’s interest is in the semiotics of those squiggles, but the first thing a Lichtenbergian sees is that human beings were Making the Thing That Is Not hundreds of thousands of years ago. We were making a Mark on walls.
Have a chart:
If you’re a visual artist, steal these basic ideas. Scratch them into your art; draw them; paint them.
But wait, there’s more!
What are “entoptic phenomena”? They are the little squiggles and blurry bits caused by “floaters” inside your eyeball. In this article, “Entoptic Imagery and Altered States of Consciousness,” author Keith Cleversley posits that some of our cave squiggles came from the shamanic tradition, i.e., our ancestors were tripping and started drawing what they ‘saw.’
I find it fascinating to think that our whole human consciousness thing was at least aided and abetted—if not kickstarted—by chemicals from plants and mushrooms, and that making a Mark was one of our responses. And then to think that those Marks became both art and writing…
Go find a wall. Make a Mark. It’s the human thing to do.