Splinter of the Mind’s Eye

Absolutely fascinating profile in Seed Magazine of theories of “extended mind” in a new field of inquiry, “neuroarcheology”, being pioneered by Lambros Malafouris at Cambridge University:

Rather than happening wholly in the head, he argues, cognition develops
and evolves through the interplay between intelligence and material
culture.

Of course this is relevant to sanctuary concepts and practices. How militants think about the places in which they hide and reside can’t help but be shaped by their physical environments.

COIN has always been heavily anthropocentric – the U.S. Army’s cultural turn under David Petraeus is a case in point.  Meanwhile geographers, geoscientists, and others, have been exploring the spatial dynamics of political violence across networks and territories.

Neither the cultural turn, nor its spatial variant, really offers a satisfying resolution to the physical, human, and virtual operating environments of militant organizations. Malafouris’ approach suggests an intriguing way forward. Neuroarcheological COIN?

One comment

  1. Mark Safranski

    "cognition develops and evolves through the interplay between intelligence and material culture."I think it is fair to say that we can see this effect in MRI brain scan studies of specific cognitive skills – visualization, decoding symbols, sensory discrimination, analogical vs. sequential reasoning. Which brings us to the speculation that cultural evolution is also physical microevolution on an individual basis by which the entire superorganism benefits by extension and to which it reacts.Social networks, real and virtual, may be the bridge to spreading of neuronal adaptation.

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