Material culture as an extension of human cognition

I read of this in Seed Mag that a frontier scientist named Lambros Malafouris is proposing that “Material culture is an extension of human cognition. Cognition develops and evolves through the interplay between intelligence and material culture.”

This surely isn’t new to Buddhism since Buddhism teaches there is no solid identity. What is new is that science is trying to take on this from the scientific perspective.

I like to keep old text book and review the old course material often. It is not because those text books are good or I cannot find that info somewhere else. It is just because I have been familiar with them. So when I see the structure of the book, I can immediately remember what I have been through. So the old text book serves as a memory storage place.

Living in a society/community is to store your memory with that society/community. Your cognition evolves by interacting with that society/community. So that society/community becomes your external storage place of your memory. By keeping interacting with the same people, culture, you reinforce your memory. You access your memory.

Going abroad is essentially taking your brain out of the “external” part of the brain/memory. Thus it explains why it is so difficult to recall past memory while in a new culture. You just don’t see the same people, the same language and culture, which actually functions as a storage of your memory.

I remember people talking about building some memory chip into human brain to help people store a lot of memory. It looks we should focus more on storing our memory externally in the community, so we can access it from time to time.

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2 Comments

Filed under Random Thoughts

2 responses to “Material culture as an extension of human cognition

  1. i was just talking about something similar at lunch. How the physical structure of the book – the material culture – has affected our cognitive structures.

    i think of the Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci – a great book that talks about a memory device taught by an Italian in China, round about 1600. It is a mental structure for storing memory. based on material culture but not actually material, however. did you ever hear of this?

  2. Pingback: Review of 2008 posts « A hacker of the Internet for the purpose of growth, fun, and creation

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