Transhuman Transformers From Europe

by Aaron Franz

first posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I came across a very interesting article today. While researching ancient symbols of female fertility, I came across a piece from the TimesOnline about the Venus of Hohle Fels.
(note 2-2-2016: I can no longer find the TimesOnline article online)
The Venus itself is a carving made out of mammoth ivory which depicts a female figure with exaggerated sexual features. It was found in Germany last year, and has been determined to be 35,000 years old. The article makes frequent reference to two expert opinions on the carving, those of Dr. Conrad, of the University of Tübingen, and also Dr. Paul Mellars, of the University of Cambridge. At first they speak to the sexual significance of the carving. This is all quite interesting, but the best part of the article is near the end where the doctors mention the artifact's possible connection to the evolution of the human mind. The fact that this figure was found in Europe is of prime importance regarding this...
{Dr Conrad said that the Venus challenged previous views that “strong aggressive animals or shamanistic depictions dominate the Aurignacian art of Swabia, or even of Europe as a whole”.
Dr Mellars said that the discovery added to the evidence that “fully representational, figurative art seems at present to be a European phenomenon, without any documented parallels in Africa or elsewhere earlier than about 30,000 years ago”.
This, he said, could potentially be linked to the evolution of the modern human brain.}
So apparently Europe has had a bad rap, because people have associated it's ancient artwork with the depiction of mere animals. This notion is an insult as the article goes on to explain that the human figure was first depicted by European hands. The idea that that high art is a distinctly European phenomenon is implied. The real bombshell is when this is equated with the evolution of the human brain. It is quite clear what is being said here: Humanity evolved to a higher level of complexity within the geographical confines of what we now call the European continent.
{How far this ‘symbolic explosion’ associated with the origins and dispersal of our species reflects a major, mutation-driven reorganisation in the cognitive capacities of the human brain — perhaps associated with a similar leap forward in the complexity of language, remains a fascinating and contentious issue.}
According to these observations the Aurignacian period in which humans migrated to Europe was when the human brain itself made a profound evolutionary "great leap forward". If this is true, then what about Africa? This article pieces together bits of information which lead to a decidedly ethnocentric point of view, although if you aren't reading closely you may miss it. It uses expert opinions to get a very deliberate point across, and to be fair it may be using the quotes from these doctors to express an opinion that they did not intend during the time of their interview. However, the article itself cannot be ignored. It makes a very deliberate statement. The concept that the African continent has been forever stuck in the savage ways of primitive man is inferred. This of course is not a new idea, but rather a continuing theme throughout history.
The transhuman concept of cognitive evolution seems to pop up just about everywhere. It is very interesting to read an article such as this which makes overt reference to it. Of course, there may never have been a cognitive "great leap forward" thousands of years ago. We truly don't know. The important thing to notice is that pieces like this play to the perceived reality of such an event actually happening. The average reader takes the truth of this supposed historic occurrence for granted. The uncritical reader automatically assumes there WAS a mutation of the human brain somewhere in ancient history. Bits and pieces of history can be put together any way imaginable to tell a specific story. This story is told from an undeniably Anglocentric point of view. Obviously stories depend upon storytellers. Those who tell the story are in a unique position to construct it in such a way that it leads their audience to specific conclusions. History itself can be manipulated to fit a specific point of view, and it regularly is.
On a related note, the new Transformers film apparently depicts an extremely cartoonish and offensive stereotype of African Americans. What do you think the big Hollywood storytellers are trying to say with this? Is the Anglocentric theme of European superiority part of the message they wish to convey to a mass audience? Are they simply making a conceptual mistake? Is it wise to believe that such high profile storytellers would make such mistakes? What is a Transformer anyway?
TRANSform, TRANSmute, TRANScend... To take evolution to it's highest summit. Optimus Prime is leading the way. The Y... (split in 2)