Posted by Christopher O'Regan on 17:04 5/12/02
In reply to: Cadhinorian paganism, icëlani posted by Glenn Kempf on 1:45 5/10/02
Yes, I remember Songlines did have that interesting idea about the prehistoric carnivore being responsible for humans' fear of the dark. I don't know how much credibility this idea has outside his book though . . . I think it may have been intentional speculation on his part rather than any cut-and-dry scientific hypothesis.
Of course, the central theme of the book is the Songlines themselves - an attempt by Chatwin to give an insight to the indigenous outlook, and the connection observed by many Australian linguists between distant, and sometimes not genetically related, Australian languages. It also helps to debunk the notion, somewhat still prevalent here, that Aboriginies wandered around fairly aimlessly, and only interacted with other tribes to fight. The other insight Chatwin gives is into the mindest of Territorians etc and others in their interaction with Aboriginies, which, as a foreigner, he captured remarkably well.
What would have been great is if Chatwin had sufficient knowledge of Arnhem Land languages to talk about these things in linguistic terms. I read an interesting discussion of "world view" in Aboriginal languages by Kenneth Hale, using Walpiri examples - buggered if I can remember the reference though.
But relating this back to Almea, I think this is just a different way for equivalent humans to arrange their culture, not a "first step" on the way to civilisation by proto-humans - which is what intrigues me about the icëlani.
-apologies for topic drift