The author combines a lifetime of anthropological research with the most recent neurological insights in this text. Illuminating glimpses into the ancient mind are interwoven with the self-evolving story of modern-day cave discoveries & research.
The art created in the caves of western Europe in the Ice Age provokes awe and wonder. What do these symbols on the walls of Lascaux and Altamira, tell us about the nature of ancestral minds? How did these images spring into the human story? This book, a masterful piece of detective work, puts forward the most plausible explanation yet.
At once polemical, insightful and thought-provoking, Conceiving God is essential reading for all those interested in the origins of religious thought, and the respective roles of science and religion in contemporary society. Building on the insights and discoveries of his two earlier books, The Mind in the Cave and Inside the Neolithic Mind, cognitive archaeologist David Lewis-Williams explores how science developed within the cocoon of religion and then shows how the natural functioning of the human brain creates experiences that can lead to belief in the supernatural realm.
How did prehistoric peoples those living before written records think? Were their modes of thought fundamentally different from ours today? Researchers over the years have certainly believed so. Along with the Aborigines of Australia, the indigenous San people of southern Africa among the last hunter-gatherer societies on Earth became iconic representatives of all our distant ancestors, and were viewed either as irrational fantasists or childlike, highly spiritual conservationists. Since the 1960s, a new wave of research among the San and their world-famous rock art has overturned these misconceived ideas. Here, the great authority David Lewis-Williams and his colleague Sam Challis reveal how analysis of the rock paintings and engravings can be made to yield vital insights into San beliefs and ways of thought. The picture that emerges is very different from past analysis: this art is not a naïve narrative of daily life but rather is imbued with power and religious depth. As this elegantly written, enlightening book so ably demonstrates, the prehistoric mind was in fact as complex and sophisticated as that of contemporary humans.
Describes how science developed within the cocoon of religion and then argues that the natural functioning of the human brain creates experiences that can lead to belief in a supernatural realm, beings and interventions, and subsequently, the formulation of religions. By the author of The Mind in the Cave.