Value of the Humanities
Value of the Humanities
answer in 3 paragraph for each question:
1- What is the value of studying the humanities in a business or technical curriculum? How might a topic such as ancient art enhance contemporary life?
2- Choose a work of art from reading the attached and Discuss how the work is a reflection of the ancient culture that created it. Also, did anything particularly surprise or impress you about the work of art or the ancient people who created it?
For your Case Assignment, please read pages 76-116 for this module of the following book in our e-library.
Terris, Daniel. (2005) Ethics at Work: Creating Virtue at an American Corporation. Brandeis University Press. Waltham, MA. Retrieved from ProQuest ebrary.
For your SLP assignment, please read the following article.
Popa, M., & Salanta, I. (2014). Corporate social responsibility versus corporate social irresponsibility. Management & Marketing, 9(2), 137–146. Retrieved from Trident University Library.
Here is some additional reading material that may be useful:
Lindgreen, A., & Swaen, V. (2010, March). Corporate Social Responsibility. International Journal of Management Reviews. pp. 1-7. Retrieved from the Trident Online Library.
Also, please spend some time researching other sources to help you develop your key arguments.
The following Pearson learning tools should be reviewed to help you prepare for your discussion board postings:
Pearson MyCourse Tools, (2015). Social Contract Theory. Interactive Tutorial. http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=22557
Pearson MyCourse Tools, (2015). Social Contract Theory (Part I). Podcast. http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=22552
Pearson MyCourse Tools, (2015). Social Contract Theory (Part II). Podcast. http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=22553
THE BEGINNINGS OF CULTURE
A culture encompasses the values and behaviors shared by a group of people, developed over time, and passed down from one generation to the next. Culture manifests itself in the laws, customs, ritual behavior, and artistic production common to the group. The cave paintings at Chauvet suggest that, as early as 30,000 years ago, the Ardèche gorge was a center of culture, a focal point of group living in which the values of a community find expression. There were others like it: In northern Spain, the first decorated cave was discovered in 1879 at Altamira [al-tuh-MIR-uh]. In the Dordogne [dor-DOHN] region of southern France, to the west of the Ardèche, schoolchildren discovered the famous Lascaux Cave in 1940 when their dog disappeared down a hole. And in 1991, along the French Mediterranean coast, a diver discovered the entrance to the beautifully decorated Cosquer [kos-KAIR] Cave below the waterline near Marseille [mar-SAY].
Agency and Ritual: Cave Art
Ever since cave paintings were first discovered, scholars have been marveling at the skill of the people who produced them, but we have been equally fascinated by their very existence. Why were these paintings made? Most scholars believe that they possessed some sort of agency—that is, they were created to exert some power or authority over the world of those who came into contact with them. Until recently, it was generally accepted that such works were associated with the hunt. Perhaps the hunter, seeking game in times of scarcity, hoped to conjure it up by depicting it on cave walls. Or perhaps such drawings were magic charms meant to ensure a successful hunt. But at Chauvet, fully 60 percent of the animals painted on its walls were never, or rarely, hunted—such animals as lions, rhinoceroses, bears, panthers, and woolly mammoths. One drawing depicts two rhinoceroses fighting horn to horn beneath four horses that appear to be looking on (see Fig. 1.1).
What role, then, did these drawings play in the daily lives of the people who created them? The caves may have served as some sort of ritual space. A ritual is a rite or ceremony habitually practiced by a group, often in a religious or quasi-religious context. The caves, for instance, might be understood as gateways to the underworld and death, as symbols of the womb and birth, or as pathways to the world of dreams experienced in the dark of night, and rites connected with such passage might have been conducted in them. The general arrangement of the animals in the paintings by species or gender, often in distinct chambers of the caves, suggests to some that the paintings may have served as lunar calendars for predicting the seasonal migration of the animals. Whatever the case, surviving human footprints indicate that these caves were ritual gathering places and in some way served the common good.
At Chauvet, the use of color suggests that the paintings served some sacred or symbolic function. For instance, almost all of the paintings near the entrance to the cave are painted with natural red pigments derived from ores rich in iron oxide. Deeper in the cave, in areas more difficult to reach, the vast majority of the animals are painted in black pigments derived from ores rich in manganese dioxide. This shift in color appears to be intentional, but we can only guess its meaning.
The skillfully drawn images at Chauvet raise even more important questions. The artists seem to have understood and practiced a kind of perspectival drawing—that is, they were able to convey a sense of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. In the painting reproduced on the opening page of this chapter, several horses appear to stand one behind the other (see Fig. 1.1). The head of the top horse overlaps a black line, as if peering over a branch or the back of another animal. In no other cave yet discovered do drawings show the use of shading, or modeling, so that the horses’ heads seem to have volume and dimension. And yet these cave paintings, rendered over 30,000 years ago, predate other cave paintings by at least 10,000 years, and in some cases by as much as 20,000 years.
One of the few cave paintings that depict a human figure is found at Lascaux, in the Dordogne region of southwestern France. What appears to be a male wearing a bird’s-head mask lies in front of a disemboweled bison (Fig. 1.2). Below him is a bird-headed spear thrower, a device that enabled hunters to throw a spear farther and with greater force. (Several examples of spear throwers have survived.) In the Lascaux painting, the hunter’s spear has pierced the bison’s hindquarters, and a rhinoceros charges off to the left. We have no way of knowing whether this was an actual event or an imagined scene. One of the painting’s most interesting and inexplicable features is the discrepancy between the relatively naturalistic representation of the animals and the highly stylized, almost abstract realization of the human figure. Was the sticklike man added later by a different, less talented artist? Or does this image suggest that man and beast are different orders of being?
Before the discovery of Chauvet, historians divided the history of cave painting into a series of successive styles, each progressively more realistic. But Chauvet’s paintings, by far the oldest known, are also the most advanced in their realism, suggesting the artist’s conscious quest for visual naturalism, that is, for representations that imitate the actual appearance of the animals. Not only were both red and black animals outlined, but their shapes were also modeled by spreading paint, either with the hand or a tool, in gradual gradations of color. Such modeling is extremely rare or unknown elsewhere. In addition, the artists further defined many of the animals’ contours by scraping the wall behind so that the beasts seem to stand out against a deeper white ground. Three handprints in the cave were evidently made by spitting paint at a hand placed on the cave wall, resulting in a stenciled image.
Art, the Chauvet drawings suggest, does not necessarily evolve in a linear progression from awkward beginnings to more sophisticated representations. On the contrary, already in the earliest artworks, people obtained a very high degree of sophistication. Apparently, even from the earliest times, human beings could choose to represent the world naturalistically or not, and the choice not to represent the world in naturalistic terms should not necessarily be attributed to lack of skill or sophistication but to other, more culturally driven factors.
Paleolithic Culture and Its Artifacts
Footprints discovered in South Africa in 2000 and fossilized remains uncovered in the forest of Ethiopia in 2001 suggest that, about 5.7 million years ago, the earliest upright humans, or hominins (as distinct from the larger classification of hominids, which includes great apes and chimpanzees as well as humans), roamed the continent of Africa. Ethiopian excavations further indicate that sometime around 2.5 or 2.6 million years ago, hominid populations began to make rudimentary stone tools, though long before, between 14 million and 19 million years ago, the Kenyapithecus[ken-yuh-PITH-i-kus] (“Kenyan ape”), a hominin, made stone tools in east central Africa. Nevertheless, the earliest evidence of a culture coming into being are the stone artifacts of Homo sapiens [ho-moh SAY-pee-uhnz] (Latin for “one who knows”). Homo sapiens evolved about 100,000–120,000 years ago and can be distinguished from earlier hominids by the lighter build of their skeletal structure and larger brain. A 2009 study of genetic diversity among Africans found the San people of Zimbabwe to be the most diverse, suggesting that they are the most likely origin of modern humans from which others gradually spread out of Africa, across Asia, into Europe, and finally to Australia and the Americas.
Homo sapiens were hunter-gatherers, whose survival depended on the animals they could kill and the foods they could gather, primarily nuts, berries, roots, and other edible plants. The tools they developed were far more sophisticated than those of their ancestors. They included cleavers, chisels, grinders, hand axes, and arrow- and spearheads made of flint, a material that also provided the spark to create an equally important tool—fire. In 2004, Israeli archeologists working at a site on the banks of the Jordan River reported the earliest evidence yet found of controlled fire created by hominids—cracked and blackened flint chips, presumably used to light a fire, and bits of charcoal dating from 790,000 years ago. Also at the campsite were the bones of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and small species, demonstrating that these early hominids cut their meat with flint tools and ate steaks and marrow. Homo sapiens cooked with fire, wore animal skins as clothing, and used tools as a matter of course. They buried their dead in ritual ceremonies, often laying them to rest accompanied by stone tools and weapons.
The Paleolithic era is the period of Homo sapiens’s ascendancy. These Upper Paleolithic people carved stone tools and weapons that helped them survive in an inhospitable climate. They carved small sculptural objects as well, which, along with the cave paintings we have already seen, appear to be the first instances of what we have come to call “art”. Among the most remarkable of these sculptural artifacts are a large number of female figures, found at various archeological sites across Europe. The most famous of these is the limestone statuette of a woman found at Willendorf [VIL-un-dorf], in modern Austria (Fig. 1.3), dating from about 24,000–21,000 bce and often called the Willendorf Venus. Markings on the Woman and other similar figures indicate that they were originally colored, but what these small sculptures meant and what they were used for remains unclear. Most are 4 to 5 inches high and fit neatly into a person’s hand. This suggests that they may have had a ritual purpose. Their exaggerated breasts and bellies and their clearly delineated genitals support a connection to fertility and childbearing. We know, too, that the Woman from Willendorf was originally painted in red ochre, suggestive of menses. And, her navel is not carved; rather, it is a natural indentation in the stone. Whoever carved her seems to have recognized, in the raw stone, a connection to the origins of life. But such figures may have served other purposes as well. Perhaps they were dolls, guardian figures, or images of beauty in a cold, hostile world where having body fat might have made the difference between survival and death.
emale figurines vastly outnumber representations of males in the Paleolithic era, which suggests that women played a central role in Paleolithic culture. Most likely, they had considerable religious and spiritual influence, and their preponderance in the imagery of the era suggests that Paleolithic culture may have been matrilineal (in which descent is determined through the female line) andmatrilocal (in which residence is in the female’s tribe or household). Such traditions exist in many primal societies today.
The peoples of the Upper Paleolithic period followed herds northward in summer, though temperatures during the Ice Age rarely exceeded 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees centigrade). Then, as winter approached, they retreated southward into the cave regions of northern Spain and southern France. But caves were not their only shelter. At about the same latitude as the Ardèche gorge but eastward, in present-day Ukraine, north of the Black Sea, archeologists have discovered a village with houses built from mammoth bone, dating from 16,000 to 10,000 bce (Fig. 1.4). Using long curving tusks as roof supports, constructing walls with pelvis bones, shoulder blades, jawbones, tusks, and skulls, and probably covering the structure with hides, the Paleolithic peoples of the region built houses that ranged from 13 to 26 feet in diameter, with the largest measuring 24 by 33 feet. The total of bones incorporated in the structure belonged to approximately 95 different mammoths. Here we see one of the earliest examples of architecture—the construction of living space with at least some artistic intent. The remains of these structures suggest that those who built them gathered together in a village of like dwellings, the fact that most underscores their common culture. They must have shared resources, cooperated in daily tasks, intermarried, and raised their children by teaching them the techniques necessary for survival in the harsh climate of the Ukraine.
The Rise of Agriculture
For 2,000 years, from 10,000 to 8000 bce, the ice covering the Northern Hemisphere receded farther and farther northward. As temperatures warmed, life gradually changed. During this period of transition, areas once covered by vast regions of ice and snow developed into grassy plains and abundant forests. Hunters developed the bow and arrow, which were easier to use at longer range on the open plains. They fashioned dugout boats out of logs to facilitate fishing, which became a major food source. They domesticated dogs to help with the hunt as early as 11,000 bce, and soon other animals as well—goats and cattle particularly. Perhaps most important, people began to cultivate the more edible grasses. Along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, they harvested wheat; in Asia, they cultivated millet and rice; and in the Americas, they grew squash, beans, and corn. Gradually, farming replaced hunting as the primary means of sustaining life. A culture of the fields developed—an agriculture, from the Latin ager, “farm,” “field,” or “productive land.”
The rise of agricultural society defines the Neolithic era. Beginning in about 8000 bce, Neolithic culture concentrated in the great river valleys of the Middle East and Asia: and gradually, as the climate warmed, Neolithic culture spread across Europe. By about 5000 bce, the valleys of Spain and southern France supported agriculture, but not until about 4000 bce is there evidence of farming in the northern reaches of the European continent and England. The Neolithic era does not end in these colder climates until about 2000 bce.
Meanwhile, the great rivers of the Middle East and Asia provided a consistent and predictable source of water, and people soon developed irrigation techniques that fostered organized agriculture and animal husbandry. As production outgrew necessity, members of the community were freed to occupy themselves in other endeavors—complex food preparation (bread, cheese, and so on), construction, religion, even military affairs. Soon, permanent villages began to appear, and villages began to look more and more like cities.
Neolithic Pottery Across Cultures
The transition from cultures based on hunting and fishing to cultures based on agriculture led to the increased use of pottery vessels. Ceramic vessels are fragile, so hunter-gatherers would not have found them practical for carrying food, but people living in the more permanent Neolithic settlements could have used them to carry and store water, and to prepare and store certain types of food.
Some of the most remarkable Neolithic painted pottery comes from Susa [soo-suh], on the Iranian plateau. The patterns on one particular beaker (Fig. 1.5) from around 5000 to 4000 bce are highly stylized animals. The largest of these is an ibex, a popular decorative feature of prehistoric ceramics from Iran. Associated with the hunt, the ibex may have been a symbol of plenty. The front and hind legs of the ibex are rendered by two triangles, the tail hangs behind it like a feather, the head is oddly disconnected from the body, and the horns rise in a large, exaggerated arc to encircle a decorative circular form. Hounds race around the band above the ibex, and wading birds form a decorative band across the beaker’s top.
In Europe, the production of pottery apparently developed some time later, around 3000 bce. By this time, the potter’s wheel was in use in the Middle East as well as China. A machine created expressly to produce goods, the potter’s wheel represents the first mechanical and technological breakthrough in history. As skilled individuals specialized in making and decorating pottery, and traded their wares for other goods and services, the first elemental forms of manufacturing began to emerge.
Neolithic Ceramic Figures
It is a simple step from forming clay pots and firing them to modeling clay sculptural figures and submitting them to the same firing process. Examples of clay modeling can be found in some of the earliest Paleolithic cave sites where, at Altamira, for instance, in Spain, an artist added clay to an existing rock outcropping in order to underscore the rock’s natural resemblance to an animal form. At Le Tucd’Audoubert, south of Lascaux, an artist shaped two, 2-foot-long clay bison as if they were leaning against a rock ridge.
But these Paleolithic sculptures were never fired. One of the most interesting examples of Neolithic fired clay figurines were the work of the so-called Nok peoples who lived in modern Nigeria. We do not know what they called them-selves—they are identified instead by the name of the place where their artifacts were discovered. In fact, we know almost nothing about the Nok. We do not know how their culture was organized, what their lives were like, or what they believed. But while most Neolithic peoples in Africa worked in materials that were not permanent, the Nok fired clay figures of animals and humans that were approximately life-size.
These figures were first unearthed early in the twentieth century by miners over an area of about 100 square kilometers. Carbon-14 and other forms of dating revealed that some of these objects had been made as early as 800 bce and others as late as 600 ce. Little more than the hollow heads have survived intact, revealing an artistry based on abstract geometrical shapes (Fig. 1.6). In some cases, the heads are represented as ovals, and in other as cones, cylinders, or spheres. Facial features are combinations of ovals, triangles, graceful arches, and straight lines. These heads were probably shaped with wet clay and then, after firing, finished by carving details into the hardened clay. Some scholars have argued that the technical and artistic sophistication of works by the Nok and other roughly contemporaneous groups suggests that it is likely there are older artistic traditions in West Africa that have not as yet been discovered. Certainly, farther to the east, in the sub-Saharan regions of the Sudan, Egyptian culture had exerted considerable influence for centuries, and it may well be that Egyptian technological sophistication had worked its way westward.
The Neolithic Megaliths of Northern Europe
A distinctive kind of monumental stone architecture appears late in the Neolithic period, particularly in what is now Britain and France. Known as megaliths [MEG-uh-liths], or “big stones,” these works were constructed without the use of mortar and represent the most basic form of architectural construction. Sometimes, they consisted merely of posts—upright stones stuck into the ground—called menhirs [MEN-hir], from the Celtic words men, “stone,” and hir, “long.” Scholars disagree about their significance: some speculate that the stones may have marked out a ritual procession route, while others think they symbolized the body and the process of growth and maturation. But there can be no doubt that megaliths were designed to be permanent structures, where domestic architecture was not. Quite possibly the megaliths stood in tribute to the strength of the leaders responsible for assembling and maintaining the considerable labor force required to construct them.
Perhaps the most famous type of megalithic structure is the cromlech [krahm-lek], from the Celticcrom, “circle,” and lech, “place.” Without doubt, the most famous megalithic structure in the world is the cromlech known as Stonehenge (Fig. 1.7), on Salisbury Plain, about 100 miles west of modern London. A henge is a special type of cromlech, a circle surrounded by a ditch with built-up embankments, presumably for fortification.
The site at Stonehenge reflects four major building periods, extending from about 2750 to 1500 bce. By about 2100 bce, most of the elements visible today were in place. In the middle was a U-shaped arrangement of five groups of two-posts, each topped by a capstone—what we today call post-and-lintel construction. The one at the bottom of the U stands taller than the rest, rising to a height of 24 feet, with a 15-foot lintel three feet thick. A continuous circle of sandstone posts, each weighing up to 50 tons and all standing 20 feet high, surrounded the five trilithons. Across their top was a continuous lintel 106 feet in diameter. This is the Sarsen Circle. Just inside the Sarsen Circle was once another circle, made of bluestone—a bluish dolerite—found only in the mountains of southern Wales, some 120 miles away.
Why Stonehenge was constructed remains something of aa mystery, although a recent discovery at nearby Durrington Wells has shed new light on the problem. Durrington Wells lies about two miles northeast of Stonehenge itself (see Map 1.3). It consists of a circular ditch surrounding a ring of postholes out of which very large timber posts would have risen. The circle was the center of a village consisting of as many as 300 houses. The site is comparable in scale to Stonehenge itself. These discoveries—together with the ability to carbon-date human remains found at Stonehenge with increased accuracy—suggest that Stonehenge was itself a burial ground. Archeologist Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield speculates that villagers would have transported their dead down an avenue leading to the River Avon, then journeyed downstream in a ritual symbolizing the passage to the afterlife, finally arriving at an avenue leading up to Stonehenge from the river. “Stonehenge wasn’t set in isolation,” Parker Pearson says, “but was actually one-half of this monumental complex. We are looking at a pairing—one in timber to represent the transcience of life, the other in stone marking the eternity of the ancestral dead.”
THE ROLE OF MYTH IN PREHISTORIC CULTURAL LIFE
Much of our understanding of prehistoric cultures comes from stories that have survived in cultures around the world that developed without writing—that is, oral cultures—such as the San cultures of Zimbabwe and the Oceanic peoples of Tahiti in the South Pacific. These cultures have passed down their myths and histories over the centuries, from generation to generation, by word of mouth. Although, chronologically speaking, many of these cultures are contemporaneous with the medieval, Renaissance, and even modern cultures of the West, they are actually closer to the Neolithic cultures in terms of social practice and organization, and especially in terms of myths and the rituals associated with them, they can help us to understand the outlook of actual Neolithic peoples.
A myth is a story that a culture assumes is true. It also embodies the culture’s views and beliefs about its world, often serving to explain otherwise mysterious natural phenomena. Myths stand apart from scientific explanations of the nature of reality, but as a mode of understanding and explanation, myth has been one of the most important forces driving the development of culture. Although myths are speculative, they are not pure fantasy. They are grounded in observed experience. They serve to rationalize the unknown and to explain to people the nature of the universe and their place within it.
Both nineteenth-century and more recent anthropological work among the San people suggests that their belief systems can be traced back for thousands of years. As a result, the meaning of their rock art that survives in open-air caves below the overhanging stone cliffs atop the hills of what is now Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe (Fig. 1.8), some of which dates back as far as 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, is not entirely lost. A giraffe stands above a group of smaller giraffes crossing a series of large, white, lozenge-shaped forms with brown rectangular centers, many of them overlapping one another. To the right, six humanlike figures are joined hand in hand, probably in a trance dance. For the San people, prolonged dancing, activates num, a concept of personal energy or potency that the entire community can acquire. Led by a shaman, a person thought to have special ability to communicate with the spirit world, the dance encourages the num to heat up until it boils over and rises up through the spine to explode, causing the dancers to enter into a trance. Sweating and trembling, the dancers variously convulse or become rigid. They might run, jump, or fall. The San believe that in many instances, the dancer’s spirit leaves the body, traveling far away, where it might enter into battle with supernatural forces. At any event, the trance imbues the dancer with almost supernatural agency. The dancers’ num is capable of curing illnesses, managing game, or controlling the weather.