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Cave Paintings And The Human Spirit

Author: David S. Whitley
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1615920560
Size: 61.59 MB
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The magnificent prehistoric art discovered in caves throughout France and Spain raises many questions about early human culture. What do these superbly rendered paintings of horses, bison, and enigmatic human figures and symbols mean? How can we explain the sudden flourishing of artistic creativity at such a high level? And in what ways does this artwork reflect the underlying belief system, worldview, and life of the people who created it? In this fascinating discussion of ancient art and religion, Dr David S Whitley -- one of the world's leading experts on cave paintings--guides the reader in an exploration of these intriguing questions, while sharing his firsthand experiences in visiting these exquisite, breath-taking sites. To grasp what drove these ancient artists to create these masterpieces, and to understand the origin of myth and religion, as Whitley explains, is to appreciate what makes us human. Moreover, he broadens our understanding of the genesis of creativity and myth by proposing a radically new and original theory that weds two seemingly warring camps from separate disciplines. On the one hand, archaeologists specialising in prehistoric cave paintings have argued that the visionary rituals of shamans led to the creation of this expressive art. They consider shamanism to be the earliest known form of religion. By contrast, evolutionary psychologists view the emergence of religious beliefs as a normal expression of the human mind. In their eyes, the wild and ecstatic trances of shamans were a form of aberrant behaviour. Far from being typical representatives of ancient religion, shamans were exceptions to the normal rule of early religion. Whitley resolves the controversy by interweaving the archaeological evidence with the latest findings of cutting-edge neuroscience. He thereby rewrites our understanding of shamanism and its connection with artistic creativity, myth, and religion. Combining a colourful narrative describing Whitley's personal explorations at key archaeological sites with robust scientific research, Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit makes for engrossing reading. It provides a profound and poignant perspective on what it means to be human.

What Is Paleolithic Art

Author: Jean Clottes
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022618806X
Size: 25.24 MB
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Was it a trick of the light that drew our Stone Age ancestors into caves to paint in charcoal and red hematite, to watch the heads of lions, likenesses of bison, horses, and aurochs in the reliefs of the walls, as they flickered by firelight? Or was it something deeper—a creative impulse, a spiritual dawn, a shamanistic conception of the world efflorescing in the dark, dank spaces beneath the surface of the earth where the spirits were literally at hand? In this book, Jean Clottes, one of the most renowned figures in the study of cave paintings, pursues an answer to this “why” of Paleolithic art. While other books focus on particular sites and surveys, Clottes’s work is a contemplative journey across the world, a personal reflection on how we have viewed these paintings in the past, what we learn from looking at them across geographies, and what these paintings may have meant—what function they may have served—for their artists. Steeped in Clottes’s shamanistic theories of cave painting, What Is Paleolithic Art? travels from well-known Ice Age sites like Chauvet, Altamira, and Lascaux to visits with contemporary aboriginal artists, evoking a continuum between the cave paintings of our prehistoric past and the living rock art of today. Clottes’s work lifts us from the darkness of our Paleolithic origins to reveal, by firelight, how we think, why we create, why we believe, and who we are.

Shamanism

Author: Michael Winkelman
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 031338181X
Size: 48.19 MB
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This book examines shamanism from evolutionary and biological perspectives to identify the origins of shamanic healing in rituals that enhance individual and group function. * Written by an internationally recognized scholar on shamanism * Illustrates evidence of ancient shamanic practices * A bibliography provides current and historical sources on shamanism

The Power Of The Herd

Author: Linda Kohanov
Publisher: New World Library
ISBN: 1608683729
Size: 78.55 MB
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Linda Kohanov is beloved for her groundbreaking articulation of “the way of the horse,” an experiential wisdom known to riders for centuries but little studied or adapted to off-horse use. Now Kohanov takes those horse-inspired insights on the nonverbal elements of exceptional communication and leadership into the realms of our workplaces and relationships. Here we explore the benefits of “nonpredatory power” in developing assertiveness, fostering creativity, dealing with conflict, and heightening mind-body awareness. In “A Brief History of Power,” the first part of this far-reaching book, Kohanov profiles cultural innovators who employed extraordinary nonverbal leadership skills to change history, usually on horseback: Winston Churchill, George Washington, Alexander the Great, and Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), among others. She also draws on the behavior of mature horse herds, as well as the herding cultures of Africa and Mongolia, to debunk theories of dominance hierarchies, challenge ingrained notions of “survival of the fittest,” and demonstrate the power of a consensual leadership in which governing roles are fluid. Kohanov then adapts these lessons into twelve powerful guiding principles we can all incorporate into our work and personal lives. Eloquent and provocative, this is horse sense for everyone who seeks to thrive in the herds we all run in — our communities, careers, families, and friendships.

How Art Made The World

Author: Nigel Spivey
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0786722134
Size: 34.62 MB
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In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity's artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the motto, “Everyone is an artist,” Spivey takes us on a quest to find out when and how we humans began to explore the deepest questions of life, using visual artforms. With the help of vivid color illustrations of some of the world's most moving and enduring works of art, Spivey shows how that art has been used as a means of mass persuasion, essential to the creation of hierarchical societies, and finally, the extent to which art has served as a mode of terror management in the face of our inevitable death. Packed with new insights into ancient wonders and fascinating stories from all around the globe, How Art Made the World is a compelling account of how humans made art and how art makes us human.

Evolving Brains Emerging Gods

Author: E. Fuller Torrey
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231544863
Size: 47.36 MB
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Religions and mythologies from around the world teach that God or gods created humans. Atheist, humanist, and materialist critics, meanwhile, have attempted to turn theology on its head, claiming that religion is a human invention. In this book, E. Fuller Torrey draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research to propose a startling answer to the ultimate question. Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods locates the origin of gods within the human brain, arguing that religious belief is a by-product of evolution. Based on an idea originally proposed by Charles Darwin, Torrey marshals evidence that the emergence of gods was an incidental consequence of several evolutionary factors. Using data ranging from ancient skulls and artifacts to brain imaging, primatology, and child development studies, this book traces how new cognitive abilities gave rise to new behaviors. For instance, autobiographical memory, the ability to project ourselves backward and forward in time, gave Homo sapiens a competitive advantage. However, it also led to comprehension of mortality, spurring belief in an alternative to death. Torrey details the neurobiological sequence that explains why the gods appeared when they did, connecting archaeological findings including clothing, art, farming, and urbanization to cognitive developments. This book does not dismiss belief but rather presents religious belief as an inevitable outcome of brain evolution. Providing clear and accessible explanations of evolutionary neuroscience, Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods will shed new light on the mechanics of our deepest mysteries.

The Art Of The Shaman

Author: David S. Whitley
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780874806502
Size: 26.71 MB
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Whitley, an archaeologist specializing in the study of prehistoric art and religion, interprets the symbolism of California's ancient rock art, demonstrating that these pictographs were not created simply for artistic expression, but were deliberately intended to represent a relatively few number of specific messages. Color photographs depict such things as vision questing, sexuality, the mythic past, life crises, altered states of consciousness, and more.

The Mind In The Cave

Author: J. David Lewis-Williams
Publisher: C. HURST & CO. PUBLISHERS
ISBN: 9780500051177
Size: 22.16 MB
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The breathtakingly beautiful art created deep inside the caves of western Europe has the power to dazzle even the most jaded observers.

Discovering North American Rock Art

Author: Lawrence L. Loendorf
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
ISBN: 9780816524839
Size: 47.58 MB
Format: PDF
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From the high plains of Canada to caves in the southeastern United States, images etched into and painted on stone by ancient Native Americans have aroused in observers the desire to understand their origins and meanings. Rock paintings and engravings can be found in nearly every state and province, and each region has its own distinctive story of discovery and evolving investigation of the rock art record. Rock art in the twenty-first century enjoys a large and growing popularity fueled by scholarly research and public interest alike. This book explores the history of rock art research in North America and is the only volume in the past twenty-five years to provide coverage of the subject on a continental scale. Written by contributors active in rock art research, it examines sites that provide a cross-section of regions and topics and complements existing books on rock art by offering new information, insights, and approaches to research. The first part of the volume explores different regional approaches to the study of rock art, including a set of varied responses to a single site as well as an overview of broader regional research investigations. It tells how Writing-on-Stone in southern Alberta, Canada, reflects changing thought about rock art from the 1870s to today; it describes the role of avocational archaeologists in the Mississippi Valley, where rock art styles differ on each side of the river; it explores discoveries in southwestern mountains and southeastern caves; and it integrates the investigation of cupules along GeorgiaÕs Yellow River into a full study of a site and its context. The book also compares the differences between rock art research in the United States and France: from the outset, rock art was of only marginal interest to most U.S. archaeologists, while French prehistorians considered cave art an integral part of archaeological research. The bookÕs second part is concerned with working with the images today and includes coverage of gender interests, government sponsorship, the role of amateurs in research, and chronometric studies. Much has changed in our understanding of rock art since Cotton Mather first wrote in 1714 of a strange inscription on a Massachusetts boulder, and the cutting-edge contributions in this volume tell us much about both the ancient place of these enduring images and their modern meanings. Discovering North American Rock Art distills todayÕs most authoritative knowledge of the field and is an essential volume for both specialists and hobbyists.

God

Author: Reza Aslan
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0553394738
Size: 45.83 MB
Format: PDF
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The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God. In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large. In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.” But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature—our compassion, our thirst for justice—but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments. More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives. Advance praise for God “Breathtaking in its scope and controversial in its claims, God: A Human History shows how humans from time immemorial have made God in their own image, and argues that they should now stop. Writing with all the verve and brilliance we have come to expect from his pen, Reza Aslan has once more produced a book that will prompt reflection and shatter assumptions.”—Bart D. Ehrman, author of How Jesus Became God “Reza Aslan offers so much to relish in his excellent ‘human history’ of God. In tracing the commonalities that unite religions, Aslan makes truly challenging arguments that believers in many traditions will want to mull over, and to explore further. This rewarding book is very ambitious in its scope, and it is thoroughly grounded in an impressive body of reading and research.”—Philip Jenkins, author of Crucible of Faith