by Michael Bland
the Modern Failure to Recognise the Iconology of the Palaeolithic Female Figures and Figurines, Viewed in the Light of Insanity
I know of only one occasion where Ludwig Wittgenstein specifically mentions self-deception (Selbsttäuschung or Selbstbetrug) in his writings: simply this isolated remark (written in 1938): “Nichts ist so schwer, als sich nicht betrügen” (Wittgenstein 1977, 34) – ie. “Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.” Famously, however, he also wrote this:
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.
(Wittgenstein 1953, para.109)
And certainly we know that we human adults can sometimes deceive and delude ourselves, sometimes even en masse. (All normal adults surely know this, whatever they might sometimes deludedly say.)16 And the means of language is after all a mass, cultural means. Moreover, there are key features of human thought and language which are evidently intercultural17 – as in the case of the the material example of this article (especially as regards the apparently imitative origin of the Indo-European root *mā-, ‘mother’). First and foremost in this article, through reference to a highly symbolic yet perfectly material example, I have been illustrating the bewitchment of human intelligence by means of language. But I believe I have also been demonstrating the remedy.
However the success of the remedy depends ultimately on the will of the patient. And in that regard, according to Wittgenstein (writing in 1931), there is a very substantial difficulty to be overcome:
What makes a subject hard to understand – if it’s something significant and important – is not that before you can understand it you need to be specially trained in abstruse matters; rather, it is the conflict between the understanding of the subject and what most people want to see. Because of this, the very things which are most obvious may become the hardest of all to understand. What has to be overcome is a difficulty having to do with the will, rather than with the intellect.
(Wittgenstein 1977, 17 – my own translation.)
Then in 1946, still writing of a certain ‘difficulty’ (otherwise unidentified), he went on to write of the need for the establishment of ‘a new way of thinking’. And the establishment of the new way of thinking (‘die neue Denkweise’) would apparently require the elaboration of ‘a new form of expression’ (‘eine neue Ausdrucksweise’):
Getting hold of the difficulty deep down is what is hard.
Grasped near the surface, it simply remains the difficulty it was. It has to be pulled out by the roots; and that requires our beginning to think about these things in a new way. The change is as decisive as, for example, that from the alchemical to the chemical way of thinking. The new way of thinking is what is so hard to establish.
Once the new way of thinking has been established, the old problems vanish; indeed they become hard to recapture. For they go with our way of expressing ourselves; and if we clothe ourselves in a new form of expression, the old problems are discarded along with the old garment.
(Wittgenstein 1977, 48 – my own translation.)
And if Wittgenstein should be understood to be writing here of the same difficulty that he had referred to fifteen years earlier, then the difficulty to be got hold of now appears properly describable as a socially-shared form of autism: a variously and occasionally manifesting disorder of more-or-less collective human will, whose sometimes contrary features may even become mutually antagonistic.18 And what makes any old growth or new emergence of the difficulty’s manifestations so hard to safely uproot, and what makes the new way of thinking so hard to establish, are both effects of the same all-too-well-entrenched psychocultural disorder.
I said I aimed to show that ‘Goddess figure’ and ‘Goddess figurine’ are the right and proper names for the works of the genre (at least in the medium of English, obviously). And I believe this is readily shown through reference to the mythical concept of the cornucopia, or horn of plenty, as apparently symbolised by the item held aloft by the Goddess of Laussel. For although the ulterior etymology of the word ‘god’ is disputed, the evidently favoured possibility is that the Old Teutonic word from which it is taken to derive had a pre-Teutonic form which represents the neuter of the passive participle of a root *gheu-. Apparently, there are two Aryan roots of the required form: one meaning ‘to pour, to offer sacrifice’, the other meaning ‘to invoke’. (Cf. the etymological entry in The Oxford English Dictionary. See also: The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (Second Edition) – cf. *gheu- ‘to pour, pour a libation’, and *gheu(ə)- ‘to call, invoke’.) But these two roots may not be altogether unrelated.19 Nature, after all, pours forth life, and everything upon which life depends.20 And there is moreover a certain natural association, within the experience of each of us, between invocation and pouring (or flux).21 Indeed it is an experience pretty fundamental to the human psyche; for not only is there a natural human tendency to cry out for what one wants (at least in infancy), there is also a common and indeed foundational human experience of subsequently getting it. This oft-repeated experience happens in the following way:
When the suckling human infant is hungry, it typically cries out. And if the child’s mother is within earshot, and if it’s more or less feeding time, then the mother will typically feel a tightening in her breast as she responds to her child’s cry. Milk may even begin to drip from her breast before she reaches the child. So here then is a natural relationship, and one which is within the experience of every human being who has survived infancy – a common and foundational imprint upon the human psyche (as, it seems, is manifested by certain elementary facts about our language) – between invocation and pouring, or flux. There was for each of us, at one time in our lives, what we wanted on tap: it would pour on demand, especially vocal demand. And one can scarcely help but admire the onomatopoësis of it. (Please excuse me if I gush.) From birth onwards, making vocal noise, first and foremost, is what invocation is all about.
The name “Isis”, finally, has the same root as our word “seat” (cf. Origins: An etymological dictionary of Modern English, by Eric Partridge).22 And of course, mother Earth is indeed the seat of humankind! So I believe that may at least serve to help lift the veil on the fact that, as well as lacking feet, the Palaeolithic Goddess figurines typically lack significant facial features too – sometimes pointedly so (as, most famously, in the case of the Goddess of Willendorf).
But it now seems evident that the veil of Isis might suitably be said to obscure even the sight of human eyes – albeit in a highly selective, and notably on-off fashion. Well, naturally; for a tendency to self-deception is a fundamental feature of the very nature of our species! – at least in the adult form. And, paradox upon paradox, so forceful and effective a facility must surely have had considerable survival value. (Presumably, as a feature of this, the human facility for self-deception may well have had heuristic value too, albeit functionally limited.) Though now, at the present juncture of our intellectual and cultural evolution, there appears to loom a rather large question-mark over the continuing survival value of this paradoxical human characteristic in its present almost wholly naive and unchecked state.
Apart from anything else, the Laussel figure seems iconically to represent a view of the human psyche’s variously manifesting ambiguity and asymmetry of faculty and behaviour. But up to a point, that may be just my fancy. Less fancifully, however, there is a quite outstanding (and outstandingly surreal) Palaeolithic example of such a portrayal, in which our evidently ambivalent make-up appears to be given a graphically terrigenous representation. The archaeologist and evolutionary anthropologist John Pfeiffer describes the modern disovery of a 14,000-year-old work of art – found just a short hop around the inner Bay of Biscay from the site where, several thousand years earlier, the Goddess of Laussel was carved:
Freeman, digging in a trench about 4 feet below the floor of the cave, came across a chunk of rock placed vertically in the ground, and began brushing off the left side of its surface. About a third of the way down he noticed a deep triangular hole formed by an embedded fossil, and duly reported his obervation to Echegaray sitting above and taking notes. Then Freeman, working now on the right side of the rock a few inches away, uncovered a hollow spot where a flake had been struck off. The two features next to one another and facing him reminded him of a pair of eyes. Laughing, he called to Echegaray: “This stone is looking at me.”
Further clearing off lower down on the surface exposed a natural fissure which runs horizontally from side to side and which, on closer inspection, revealed a human touch. The fissure had been touched up with an engraving tool to indicate the outline of lips and mouth. …
It was a stone face, crudely worked but unmistakable, the face of an imaginary creature. Here is the archeologist’s description:
The proper right side of the face is that of an adult male human, with moustache and beard. The proper left side is a large carnivore with oblique eye. … The chin is triangular, and a sharply pointed tooth or fang projects above the mouth. On the muzzle there are three subparallel lines of black spots suggesting the bases of whiskers or vibrissae, a characteristic feature of felids. Taken as a whole these features represent a large cat, probably a lion or leopard. Both existed near El Juyo in Magdalenian times.
… Freeman and Echegaray place special emphasis on the layout inside the cave, the position of the stone face particularly. The face was placed at such an angle that people coming in at the entrance more than 20 feet away saw only its right side, the human side. To see the feline side they had to come up close and, more than that, examine the image by the light of a lamp or torch.
So our analyses must take into account a dualism, a double theme. The face had a public and a private aspect … The face is half human and half beast … the face can also be interpreted as half male, bearded and moustached, and half female or feline. It seems that the habit of dividing the world into opposite or opposing forces existed among prehistoric people and, again, we see a continuity between their way of thinking and ours.
(Pfeiffer 1982, 116-7)
Note however that the hybrid face – be it feline/male, female/male, feminine/masculine, or indeed (as seems appropriate to me) a combination of all three of these variations – can be seen to represent a habit of viewing the world as having complementary features, just as well as representing one of dividing the world into opposite or opposing forces. So the final sentiment expressed by Pfeiffer in the above passage is perhaps itself a manifestation of a modern habit, and not necessarily one shared with archaic people.
And yet, as indeed we should expect, there may still be a continuity between their way of thinking and the more modern way. Indeed it is perhaps a continuity of the circular kind; and the circle may now be just about complete. For in my opinion, although it was created some 6,000-10,000 years later than the Goddess of Laussel, the figure found at El Juyo is nonetheless still firmly tied to the archaic view: the figure is a hybrid figure – it’s a single hybrid figure. (And the figure’s original setting clearly shows it to be a terrigenous representation, as I have already remarked.) The idea I take from this is that we humans are all hybrid figures, male and female alike, and each in his or her own way. And that’s in contrast to the following:
The patriarchal point of view is distinguished from the earlier archaic view by its setting apart of all pairs-of-opposites – male and female, life and death, true and false, good and evil – as though they were absolutes in themselves and not merely aspects of the larger entity of life. This we may liken to a solar, as opposed to lunar, mythic view, since darkness flees from the sun as its opposite, but in the moon dark and light interact in one sphere.
(Campbell 1964, 26-7)
For those who might question whether is evil really the complement of good, as opposed to being nothing but its complete and utter opposite, all I can do is quote a young man who once spoke with me in a pub. Holding up his finger and thumb clenched tightly together, he said: “God and the Devil are that far apart.” (He was a bit drunk.) Or again, we might consider Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, who apparently manifests the perfect balance between the rational, analytical, logical Mr Spock (the captain’s right-hand man), and the more intuitive, emotional, altogether-human Dr McCoy. At least, the captain normally shows himself to be perfectly balanced. But in one episode, he fell apart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Enemy_Within_%28Star_Trek%29 Fortunately he managed to pull himself together before the end of the episode. And I believe there’s a lesson there for us all.
16. However, if one looks up the term ‘self-deception’ in a dictionary of psychology – or in an encylopaedia of psychology, or in a compendium of psychological topics and terms, or in the index of a general psychology textbook – then, if indeed there is such an entry present (and there very often isn’t, which is also something to tilt at), there one tends to find manifestations of self-deception itself. Among those dictionaries which have such an entry, this one’s not uncharacteristic (and please compare the following definition to my own, given in the fourth paragraph of this article’s précis – cf. Not Right - Part I):
self-deception The deceiving of oneself in the sense of the inability to have accurate insights into one’s limitations; a self-deceiver cannot display > self-acceptance. [The entry refers to a separate entry for ‘self-acceptance’.]
The Penguin Dictionary Of Psychology.
Clearly, the above definition is circular: the words “The deceiving of oneself” are used in the definition itself.* Moreover, by virtue of its circularity and specification, the definition is explicitly restricted to a particular form of self-deception: viz. self-deception about the self. But if people may sometimes deceive themselves about themselves, then they surely might deceive themselves about other things too. (Note that by virtue of its explicit restriction to a particular form of self-deception – ie. self-deception about oneself – this is effectively acknowledged by the above dictionary entry.) Indeed we surely know that normal adults may sometimes deceive and delude themselves about pretty well anything whatsoever, sometimes even en masse. And it appears like if there’s one thing we’re more liable to deceive ourselves about than anything else (perhaps especially as and when we’re already engaged in it) then it’s the very phenomenon of self-deception itself.
* Such circularity is to be expected in a dictionary of English, where one is effectively referred on to other words and linguistic forms – such as ‘deceive’, ‘deception’, ‘oneself’, and ‘self-’. But it’s surely out of order in a specialist dictionary which, as it says on the back, purportedly “clarifies ... terms from psychology, psychiatry and related fields.”
Wittgenstein famously compared words with tools. And incidentally (or not), there’s hard archaeological and palaeontological evidence that the typical polarity of hominid handedness has obtained for the past two million tool-using years of our evolution (cf. Schick and Toth 1993, passim). (Moreover, we apprehend – we grasp, seize, gather, glean, catch on to, get hold of, come to grips with – by hand and by mind; we talk of manual and mental dexterity, adroit handling and thinking, brachial and verbal articulation.) Not so famously, however, Wittgenstein also wrote this isolated remark (dated 1931):
Perhaps the ineffable – what I find mysterious and am not able to enunciate – is the background against which whatever I could enunciate has its meaning.
Wittgenstein 1977, 16 – my own translation.)
And note that at least insofar as the enterprise and creativity of our use of our two hands together is concerned – especially in the case where one lacks a good, solid grounding for one’s work (such as in the form of a good, solid, well-planted workbench or writing-desk) – it is of course typically the left human hand which crucially supports, braces, or undergirds (it forms the all-important background to) the work of our normally more dominant and dexterous right, right?
Note also that although Wittgenstein was unable to enunciate what it was that he found so mysterious, evidently he could ejaculate on it! For albeit a speculation, the above quote is certainly an enunciation – ie. a definite statement; and that definite speculative statement surely constitutes an expression of feeling. (Note that just as well as having meaning, or sometimes not, verbal expression may also show feeling, or again not.) Indeed the statement is surely an expression of what Wittgenstein felt was perhaps the relationship between what he called ‘the ineffable’ (what he found mysterious and unutterable) on the one hand, and the capacity for meaning shown by whatever he could enunciate (such as the passage quoted) on the other hand. At least, the statement surely has the feeling of being an expression of feeling – perhaps, indeed, elemental feeling – far more than it has of being an enunciation of the result of careful and deliberate observation, cogitation, or calculation.
And if the typically supporting, bracing, undergirding role of the typical left human hand is (in some as-yet-mysterious way) somehow representative of the mysterious hypothetical ‘background’ on which Wittgenstein speculated, then all this unspeakable mysteriousness may yet prove to be all too understandable.
Indeed my father, as it happens, was a right-handed joiner. He used to tell me that he would always use his left hand to feel a surface for any irregularities of planeness or smoothness. (He also told me the most important tool in the workshop is the workbench.) And a search of the internet for ‘tactile asymmetry’ suggests that this personal anecdote is, as we say, well founded: eg. (though the half-brained form of expression is not to be recommended) cf.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=3663386&dopt=Abstract ; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=3401695&dopt=Abstract
And if the anecdote is thus well founded, then Wittgenstein’s speculative enunciation, concerning what he found mysterious and was not able to enunciate, might just be similarly well founded: his perhaps more-or-less unconscious feeling for what he called ‘the ineffable’ (part and parcel of which would be his feeling for its relationship with whatever he could enunciate) might thus itself represent what he apparently felt himself to have in mind. And my own feeling is that this would make the typically supporting, bracing, undergirding role of the typical left human hand – with its apparently especially sensitive service – at least symbolically representative of the same.
18. The word ‘autism’ is Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler’s early-twentieth-century coinage: he used it to characterise a fundamental disturbance of environmental and social contact that is sometimes manifest in extreme form in schizophrenia. (Bleuler also coined the word 'schizophrenia'.) Austrian psychiatrists Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger both subsequently adopted Bleuler’s term (though independently of each other) in order to characterise the basic social and communication disorder manifested by the syndromes later named after them. In his landmark 1944 paper, Asperger wrote:
The name ‘autism’, coined by Bleuler, is undoubtedly one of the great linguistic and conceptual creations in medical nomenclature.
(Asperger 1944, 38)
But whereas schizophrenic spectrum disorders are mental disorders occurring in adults (and sometimes adolescents), the subsequently so-called ‘autistic spectrum’ disorders – including Kanner’s and Asperger’s syndromes – are developmental disorders:
While the schizophrenic patient seems to show progressive loss of contact, the children we are discussing lack contact from the start. Autism is the paramount feature in both cases.
(Asperger 1944, 39)
Moreover, Asperger emphasised that the pathological autistic thinking described by Bleuler of acute schizophrenia does not tend to play a significant role in the disorder which Asperger himself described. (“At most, there may be occasional hints of this particular type of thought disturbance.” (Asperger 1944, 38)) And in Kanner’s syndrome especially, the benign autistic thinking characteristic of normal childhood make-believe play is conspicuous by its absence, or at least by its failure to develop properly. (When a small child identifies the object held aloft by the Goddess of Laussel as the moon, that’s an example of benign autistic thinking. And when a modern adult fails to recognise the significance of the child’s identification, that shows a deficiency of benign autistic thinking; it shows a failure of the imagination.)*
Yet Asperger also wrote, of the disorder which he described, versus schizophrenia:
It could well be that these two disorders of the will are closely related!
(Asperger 1944, 48)
And nowadays it’s well noted that, especially at their respective extremes, the disorders mental and developmental in adults sometimes become practically indistinguishable. And let us note that that’s strikingly reminiscent of a quite familiar spectrum of humanity: namely the sociopolitical spectrum, whose own particular extremes – the pathological extremes of Left and Right – may become no less practically indistinguishable.**
Indeed it is a more-or-less commonplace observation that the extreme-Left likes of (say) Joseph Stalin tend to show features of paranoid schizophrenia. Less commonplace however is the complementary observation which the following film review effectively makes, albeit vicariously (and innocently):
There’s also something in this movie reminiscent of the writer Kimberley Cornish’s far-fetched speculation, The Jew of Linz, which wondered if Hitler was not inspired, in the darkest possible way, by a teenage acquaintance with Ludwig Wittgenstein, on the grounds that they were approximate contemporaries at the Realschule at Linz in 1904. That was a book attacked by historians as fiction masquerading as history. But oddly, something in [Noah] Taylor’s performance as Hitler – snapping, difficult, charismatic and yearning to be loved – struck me as weirdly like to way Wittgenstein is recalled by his various memorialists.
Review of the film ‘Max’ (dir: Menno Meyjes), by Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian, 20th June 2003, Friday Review, page 12-13; http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Critic_Review/Guardian_Film_of_the_week/0,,980700,00.html)
It’s on account of just such recollections, by his various memorialists, that Wittgenstein is noted to have shown features of Asperger’s syndrome. And the effective implication that Hitler too seems to have shown features of Asperger’s syndrome is in accord with the suggestion made by professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, Michael Fitzgerald, in his book Autism and Creativity (published in 2004). (However I cannot endorse Professor Fitzgerald’s understanding of Wittgenstein’s thinking, as expressed in the same book.)
Accordingly, insanity of the human psyche can surely properly be said to be sometimes developmental, just as well as being sometimes merely mental. (In the entry for ‘insanity’ in The Oxford English Dictionary there is the following note: “Orig., called insanity of mind.” And that’s good; for I want to talk of a form of insanity of the human psyche that is not – or at least, not necessarily or not primarily – an insanity of the mind.) And as far as the propogation of both is concerned, the root of the problem is surely the very great facility with which gross human pathology of thought and/or of feeling (as and when it manifests, and on whatever account, in this individual or that) may sometimes be communicated – even on a mass, cultural scale (given a certain cultural milieu); and very much part and parcel of this is the sometimes no less great difficulty that is evidently associated with the recognition of such psychopathy, by any more-or-less normal adult individual, especially as and when it manifests in oneself.
* Here’s how Eugen Bleuler characterised autistic thinking:
Whenever we playfully give free rein to our fantasy, as happens in mythology, in dreams or in some pathological states, our thoughts are either unwilling or unable to take cognisance of reality and follow paths laid out for them by instincts and affects. It is characteristic of this ‘autistic thinking’ that it totally ignores any contradictions with reality. The child and sometimes also the adult fancy themselves in their daydreams as heroes or inventors or something else great; in one’s dreams when asleep one can realise the most impossible wishes in the most adventurous manner; and in his hallucinatory state the schizophrenic day-labourer marries a princess. .... Reality which does not fit in with such modes of thinking is frequently not only ignored, but is actively split off, so that, in these connections at least, it is no longer possible to think in terms of it: the day-labourer as fiancé of the princess is even no longer a day-labourer, but is the Lord of Creation or some other great personage.
(Bleuler 1916, 33 – nb. this is my own translation from Bleuler’s original text)
But the concept of pathological autistic thinking in schizophrenia only touches on half the story of that form of disorder – albeit the most florid, least down-to-earth half. For Bleuler also employed the concept of the “double-entry bookkeeping” manner of existence (Bleuler 1911:56,59), wherein the acute schizophrenic patient may declare his sovereignty as Master of the Universe even as he joins the other patients in playing games of chess or pool, preparing soup with croûtons for lunch, or watching Teletubbies on TV (at least I reckon that’s what I’d be doing):
We have seen thus far that autistic thinking is not bound by the laws of logic and reality. It is unlogical, and permits the greatest contradictions with the outer world and in itself. The [schizophrenic] patient may empty the slops in the asylum and at the same time believe himself to be the emperor of the world … .
In the usual hallucinatory conditions, more validity is, as a rule, ascribed to the illusions; yet the patients continue to act and orient themselves in accordance with reality. (Bleuler 1911:66)
Thus we have to distinguish between realistic and autistic thinking which exist side by side in the same patient. [In realistic thinking the patient orients himself quite well in the time and space of reality; he adjusts his actions accordingly, to the extent that to us they appear normal.] The autistic thinking is the source of the delusions, of the crude offenses against logic and propriety, and all the other pathological symptoms. The two forms of thought are often fairly well separated so that the patient is able at times to think completely autistically and at other times completely normally.
(Bleuler 1911:67) (Nb. The passage in square brackets is my own translation – cf. page 55 in the original German text.)
In milder cases the real and autistic worlds exist not only side by side, but often become entangled with one another in the most illogical manner.
The affects themselves, like their expressions, have frequently lost their unity. A patient who had murdered her child, which she loved as her own but hated as the child of her unloved husband, afterwards for several weeks was in a condition in which she wept in desperation with her eyes and laughed with her mouth. Once I even saw such a splitting of the emotional expression shown on two sides of the face. Milder disturbances of the unity of the feelings are more frequent.
(Bleuler 1916:381 – the emphasis of the sentence, though not of the single word ‘unity’, is my own.)
For our own part, we have seen that what people will sometimes quite sincerely say they believe – with regard, for example, to the existence of mother Earth or mother Nature – and what they actually believe (or even demonstrably know) are not necessarily the same thing at all. However there is in certain extreme cases a very special kind of logical dispensation that we sometimes may make: we may, for example, with good reason say of someone that he thinks or believes he’s Napoleon – or ‘emperor of the world’, as Bleuler writes in the first quote above. But of course, what such use of this cliché really signifies is that the individual concerned – whatever their talents (which may be prodigious) and albeit perhaps temporarily – is not quite right in their mind.
** Never mind the seating arrangements at the French National Assembly of 1789, to be seated symbolically at the right hand of the monarch was traditionally the place of honour for the pre-Revolutionary French nobility. Moreover, the concept of the right-hand man is a universal concept in human culture; and, for better or worse, surely it long has been. (The hard-Right former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher clearly relished her position as the right-hand man of the British monarch; and so too did the satirists who created her butch, pin-striped, cigar-smoking Spitting Image puppet. Indeed, I believe that that ex-premier illustrates the following characterisation, par excellence: “The autistic personality is an extreme variant of masculine intelligence, of masculine character.” (Asperger 1944 – my own translation from the original German text, page 129; for on page 84 of Uta Frith’s English translation, Asperger’s “männlichen” is unfortunately rendered unambiguously as “male”).) Accordingly, in times past and present, anyone not clearly perceived by the orthodox establishment to be firmly on the side of the leader and the leader’s right-hand man – that’s his or her right-hand man – is then typically seen, from that orthodox standpoint, not to be an altogether reasonable, realistic, right-minded, right-thinking person: by the lights of the prevailing orthodoxy, they are clearly not on the right side! Whence such paradoxies as Left-wing fascism, and the constitutionally illiberal (yet Left-oriented) orthodox dogma of Political Correctness.
19. Perhaps not dissimilarly, the variants of Indo-European *mā- (cf. note 12, and the passage in the main text to which it refers) appear to form a kind of semantic vignette: they seem fairly to drip with significant relationship. The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (Second Edition) gives three such variants – in square brackets are examples of Modern English words that have been attributed to the respective variants:
*mā -1 Good; with derivatives meaning “occurring at a good moment, timely, seasonable, early.” (Oldest form *meə2-.) [mature]
*mā-2 Mother. A linguistic near-universal found in many of the world’s languages, often in reduplicated form. [mother]
*mā-3 Damp. (Oldest form *meə2-.) [emanate]
And the next root listed by that dictionary is the following:
*mad- Moist, wet; also refers to various qualities of food. [muesli]
20. The sun of course is crucial to this. But whilst nature’s bounty on Earth is (broadly speaking) manifestly regulated by the yearly solar cycle, the effective interception and exploitation of that (often highly mobile) bounty by Palaeolithic human hunter-gatherers would surely have been dependent upon their close monitoring of the lunar calendar-in-the-sky. (See note 11.) It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that, as far at least as mythical expression is concerned, the transcendent sun would take on a supremely transcendent significance only later, with the dawn of agriculture. This would begin to happen in “an extremely interesting, mythologically confusing development (known as solarization)”. (Campbell 1964, 75)
21. Never mind here about the rather more sophisticated concepts of offering sacrifice and pouring libation. For if it can be shown that there is a fundamental connection for the human psyche between invocation and pouring tout court, then the accommodation of these other concepts may naturally follow.
22. According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase And Fable, the Greek philosopher Proclus (?410-485 AD) mentions a statue of Isis, the principle goddess of ancient Egypt, which bore the inscription: “I am that which is, has been, and shall be. My veil no-one has lifted. The fruit I bore was the Sun.”
References (Parts I & II)
Asperger, Hans. 1944. Die 'Autistischen Psychopathen' im Kindersalter, translated by U. Frith (1991), 'Autistic psychopathy' in childhood’, in Autism and Asperger syndrome, edited by U. Frith, pp. 37-92 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford. 1991. The Myth of the Goddess (London: Viking).
Bleuler, Eugen (1911), Dementia Praecox oder die Gruppe der Schizophrenien (Berlin: Springer), translated by J. Zinkin (1950), Dementia Praecox or the Group of Schizophrenias (Madison: International Universities Press).
Bleuler, Eugen (1913), ‘Autistic Thinking’, American Journal of Insanity, vol. 69, pp. 873-886.
Bleuler, Eugen (1916), Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie (Berlin: Springer), translated by A.A. Brill (1924), Textbook of Psychiatry (New York: MacMillan).
Campbell, Joseph. 1959. The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (New York: Viking).
Campbell, Joseph. 1964. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology (New York: Viking).
Clark, Grahame. 1967. The Stone Age Hunters (London: Thames & Hudson).
Delporte, Henri. 1979. L’Image de la Femme dans l’Art Préhistorique (Paris: Picard).
Guthrie, W.K.C. 1950. The Greek Philosophers: From Thales To Aristotle (London: Methuen).
Mellars, Paul. 1994. ‘The Upper Palaeolithic Revolution’, in The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Euope, edited by B. Cunliffe, pp. 42-78 (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Pfeiffer, John. 1982. The Creative Explosion: An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion (Harper & Row: New York)
Rudgley, Richard. 1998. Lost Civilisations of the Stone Age (London: Century).
Schick, Kathy and Nicholas Toth. 1993. Making Silent Stones Speak: Human Evolution and the Dawn of Technology (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson).
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1953. Philosophische Untersuchungen, translated by G. E. M. Anscombe (1953), Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell).
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1977. Vermischte Bemerkungen (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag).