Friday, 22 February 2008

Monkeys and Morality

So many interesting things this week...

Bio Anth practical: video on primates, my favourite was the Silver Leaf Monkey because they have bright yellow babies. Marmosets also come high on the list because of their tufty ears, and aye-ayes because of their revolting long fingers.

Archaeology practical: handling pottery from 10,000 years ago, seeing the scratch marks that a thinking, conscious person with their own worries and thoughts made in 8,000 BC. Looking at preserved textiles and imagining someone taking time and care to weave them, holding a perfectly smooth hand axe... it makes me want to do ceramics again and sew my own clothes out of sack cloth and hairy thread that I've twisted on my own spindle whorl. Then again, I've really enjoyed wearing my mum's old comfortable 80s dress today and that would be 90% less cool if it was made out of sack.

Life class: we always drew "Fat Julia" at school (!) so I really enjoyed drawing a skinny model - it makes you think a lot more about the person's structure. I was more aware of the bones and tendons and muscles under the skin, supporting the model, and it was easier to draw a sense of her stretching and reaching and grasping the beams in the ceiling. It was also so good to do a long period of drawing; since I've been in Cambridge any drawing has been a rushed in-between-work-or-food type job so I enjoyed just sitting and thinking about the charcoal in my hand. We did a lot of sketching without looking at the page - I like just letting my sketching follow my thoughts and gaze, it feels more natural than taking in the model, projecting the image onto the page and then drawing.

Lectures: hearing about kinship and blood ties - is blood really thicker than water? my mother is adopted so I would say not, and I love how this goes against the selfish gene theory. I think I agree with the selfish gene to an extent (as in, organisms try and preserve their genes and pass them on) but it can't explain everything. I really wanted to go to a talk on "The Evolution of Morality" and ask the speaker some irritating questions like:
- If people only nurture children to preserve their genes, why did my mother's adoptive parents bring her up?
- If paedophilia is not evolutionarily disadvantageous to the species why do we believe it is wrong?
- If you believe that we all live to preserve our own genes, then why would you feel bad to see others suffering, dying of hunger or disease? Surely we should leave people in pain alone and let evolution do its work?

Tomorrow: "Tight and Bright: 80s Extravaganza"
I am enjoying these inspirational photos... hopefully will be able to create an outfit worthy of Bowie (and better than Georgia's pearlescent suit).

Ha, I do love their eyeliner...

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