Friday, March 15, 2013

music in human evolution?



meltingasphalt | I just finished the strangest, most disconcerting little book. It’s called Why Do People Sing?: Music in Human Evolution by Joseph Jordania.

If the title hasn’t already piqued your interest, its thesis surely will. The thesis is wild, bold, and original, but makes an eerie amount of sense. If true, it would be a revolution — and I don’t use the term lightly — in how we understand the evolution of cooperation, warfare, and religion, not to mention music and maybe even language.

I have my reservations about Jordania’s theory (and his book), but I’ll save them for a later time. As Daniel Dennett once wrote about another remarkable theory:
I think first it is very important to understand [the] project, to see a little bit more about what the whole shape of it is, and delay the barrage of nitpicking objections and criticisms until we have seen what the edifice as a whole is. After all, on the face of it, [the project] is preposterous… [but] I take it very seriously.
These are exactly my feelings about Jordania’s project. Seemingly preposterous, but worth taking very seriously.

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