Culture : From Primitive Society to the Space Age

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As in other nomadic hunting-gathering societies, principal ceremonies were related to the life cycle, with special prominence given to male puberty rites to instill bravery, endurance, and hunting and raiding skills. Outstanding examples of the settled hunters and gatherers were the peoples of the North Pacific Coast of North America , roughly from Oregon to southern Alaska. In central and northern California there were numerous sedentary Indian groups, such as the Pomo , Wintun , and Yurok. Their basic food was the acorn, which was ground and stored as flour.

Many of the streams had salmon, and the Indians also gathered roots and berries and hunted wild fowl and deer. Other sedentary hunter-gatherer societies are rare and scattered. The most prominent of these are in southwestern New Guinea , as represented by the Asmat.

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These groups rely on the sago palm, whose starchy pith is easily reduced to flour. Fish, wild birds, and semidomesticated pigs supplement the basic sago. The basic foods of these sedentary peoples had two common characteristics: they were reliable and they could be stored, much as can the products of agriculture. Salmon were smoke-dried and stored in wooden boxes by the Northwest Coast Indians, and acorn flour obviously could be stored just as can grain flour.

Sago flour can also be stored, but it has no season; a palm can be cut at any time the food is required. Sedentary life makes possible many improvements in material culture. Houses become larger and more elaborate and are improved over time. The Asmat of New Guinea and the Northwest Coast Indians make huge houses of planks and are among the best wood-carvers of the primitive world. Permanent villages and a consistent abundance of food make possible high population densities.

The California tribes are estimated to have reached 11 or 12 persons per square mile, as did those of the Northwest Coast. The Asmat of New Guinea have villages ranging up to 2, people, which is from 10 to 20 times the size of the average hunting-gathering settlement. Usually such large villages remain politically independent. Intermarriages occur, of course, and some local cohesion is achieved by secret societies and other clublike associations.

But such integration is only incidental. The Northwest Coast Indians elaborated a hierarchical form of organization, or chiefdom. They were the only hunter-gatherers to have done so. Chiefs or nobles occupied positions of high status that were inherited in a single descent line by primogeniture. Secondary lines of descent, collateral to the above, were of lesser status. Finally, there were the commoners. Along with chiefly status went the socioeconomic institution of redistribution. This process of redistribution had the economic function of encouraging specialization and division of labour.

The potlatch in late times on the Northwest Coast became famous for its competitiveness. A chief of a lineage or longhouse, for example, would amass as much food and material goods as he could in order to lay on a feast and give presents lavishly in hopes that the guest lineage would be unable to reciprocate on the same scale. The Northwest Coast Indian type of chiefdom is primarily social and economic.

It can be called political only to the extent that a certain amount of personal authority for decision making may reside in a high social status. This authority can serve a purpose, however. The egalitarian nature of hunting-gathering bands tends toward anarchy , which becomes perilous in populous societies.

Quarrels can turn into feuds for lack of a higher authority to settle them.

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Primitive culture Written By: Elman R. See Article History.

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Alternative Titles: nonurban culture, nonurban society. Read More on This Topic. A major change occurred c. Start Your Free Trial Today. Load Next Page. Introduction Nomadic societies The Plains Indians Settled hunting and gathering societies Horticultural societies Herding societies Peasant societies Historical and geographic survey Types of peasant societies The community of self-serving households The village with internal specialization and exchange European peasant society Latin American peasant societies The closed regional market system Other peasant societies General characteristics of the peasant economy.

Primitive culture. Additional Reading. Article Media. Space exploration and the counterculture movement crossed paths one evening in June in a way that was both unexpected yet, ultimately, predictable. Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert, just weeks after their near-tragic mission, attended a performance of the musical Hair in New York. The astronauts left the theater and headed to a club for a drink.

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That anecdote—representative of the clash of cultures of the era—opens Apollo in the Age of Aquarius , a book by Neil Maher that attempts to put the space race of the s, and its aftermath in the s, into a broader perspective. That race to the Moon took place during one of the greatest eras of upheaval in America since the Civil War, and one that influenced NASA in ways often overlooked by other historians, he argues.

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This book provides cultural and historical perspectives on the development of society to complete the human evolutionary nature from the primitive society to the. Results 1 - 40 of [BOOKS] Culture: From Primitive Society to the Space Age by Christopher Bueno . Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device.

The book explores those issues, which also include environmentalism and both the counterculture and new conservative movements of the era. NASA, hailed for landing men on the Moon as the s came to a close, was also facing criticism from many quarters. Proper equilibrium of the three elements — bile, phlegm, and wind — was also necessary for health in the Hindu naturalistic medicine of the Samhitas.

Another interesting feature seen in various medical systems is the Greek pneuma , ill-defined pneumatic principle that flowed in the body and permeated the universe. For the Aztecs, the tonalli was the vital force that was related to their fortune and destiny in life as well as their health. For most ancient civilizations, either the brain, or more likely the heart was the seat of consciousness. Plato thought emotions came from the heart, but that thought was centered in the brain. For the Hindus and the Egyptians the heart was the seat of consciousness and certainly of emotions; for the Mayans and Aztecs the heart was the seat of emotions and thought, and for the Aztecs in particular the heart was all-important for human sacrifice.

Greek philosophers sided with either Plato or Aristotle, who in turn thought the heart was the seat of thought and sensation. The vast majority of the ancient Greek philosophers agreed that at least emotions were centered in the heart. A most interesting observation derived from irrigation channels as existing in Mesopotamia, which completely depended on them for agricultural survival, was noted, transferred, and applied to the fanciful notions of human physiology.

Thus the idea of vessels carrying fluid unidirectionally in the body most likely resulted from the observation of man-made canals irrigating the soil. Human vessels carried body fluids dissipated in the tissues at the end of the line, including blood, feeding the body in the same fashion as water fed the soil of Mesopotamia and other arid regions. This concept of unidirectional flow was common to the physiological notions of Egyptian, Chinese, Hindu, Mesopotamian, and, as we shall see, Greek physicians, and may have in fact retarded the discovery of the circulation of the blood until the 17 th century.

A unique perspective for the source of disease was posited by the Egyptians, and it is worth recounting. As a result of arid conditions in ancient Egypt, natural mummification took place and became the conditio sine qua non for survival of the body after death.

Settled hunting and gathering societies

The hot dry sand of the Egyptian desert was the best preserver. Humidity, on the other hand, resulted in putrefaction and destruction of the body, whdw pronounced ukhedu. The ka , the person's spiritual double and soul, needed a body for survival after death, so the body needed to be desiccated and embalmed to prevent its destruction.

The concept of the whdw ukhedu , Prioreschi elucidated, became the central focus of the Egyptian naturalistic medical paradigm, and it was, in fact, more cohesive and realistic than the humoral equilibrium theory of the Greek, Hindu, and Chinese systems.

Settled hunting and gathering societies

See manifest functions. Where polygyny exists, an "anticipatory sororate" is often practiced. New York: W. Annual Review of Political Science. Sometimes there is an advisory council as well.

The enemy of health became feces and decaying material, which became noxious and toxic in the body. Health and longevity depended on the capacity of the body to evacuate putrefying intestinal content. Prompt evacuation of fecal material eliminated putrefaction, prevented the onset of disease, cured illnesses, and prevented aging by eliminating absorption of fecal toxins.

This theory of putrefaction as the cause of disease resurfaced, Prioreschi noted, only in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries with the doctrine of auto-intoxication. But I believe the concept is still around, and probably still valid, at least in part, in the pathophysiology of colon cancers and acted upon by millions of consumers of supplementary dietary fiber and oral psyllium Metamucil on a regular basis! Many other fascinating discoveries await future readers of Prioreschi's book, A History of Medicine: Volume I: Primitive and Ancient Medicine , which is, as noted, highly recommended.

Prioreschi, in fact, with his superb scholarship and impeccable research, corrects a number of misconceptions that have gone uncorrected for decades, clarifies points, which have remained murky from time immemorial, and ascertains facts that have not been previously elucidated in medical history and ethics.

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This book without a doubt places Dr. Plinio Prioreschi, who had been previously unrecognized, as one of the foremost scholars of the 20 th century in medical history and, as we shall see in future essays, medical ethics as well. Prioreschi's first volume of this, his magnum opus series of medical history, was not even properly analyzed by his peers. He [Prioreschi] spends much time on the legend of Gilgamesh and the infective pattern of syphilis, while devoting comparatively little space to all of ancient Greece.

Suffice to say, Dr. Prioreschi deserved better, at least a fair hearing for his effort from his peers in creating this marvelous tour de force in the history of medicine. Prioreschi's monumental A History of Medicine: Volume I: Primitive and Ancient Medicine is recommended for initiates as well as scholars and medical historians, and for virtually anyone interested and looking at the subject from a distinct and unique perspective.

It is the essential and necessary tome for private as well as public libraries. This tome is highly recommended categorically and without reservations. I have already avidly jumped into the pages of the second volume, Greek Medicine , and so far it is another masterpiece of scholarship and narrative eloquence!

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National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Surg Neurol Int v. Surg Neurol Int. Published online May Reviewed by Miguel A. Miguel A. Faria Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery ret. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Faria: ten. Received Feb 14; Accepted Feb Keywords: Medical history, naturalistic medicine, primitive medicine, primitive surgery, supernaturalistic medicine, trephination.

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