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How Art Made the World episode 2 discovery of altamira

san people of
south africa

altered states of consciousness

scholar:

David Whitely
the Cahuilla People
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More Human Than HumanThe Day Pictures Were BornThe Art of PersuasionOnce Upon a TimeTo Death and Back
The San People of South Africa
san people

Hidden high in the crags of the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa are images on rock walls uncannily like the European cave paintings. They too feature animals and hunting scenes, but unlike the European paintings, they aren't thousands of years old. They were painted just a couple of hundred years ago, almost within living memory.

The paintings were
not just pictures of everyday life, but they were about spiritual experiences in a
trance state.

Records of interviews of San bushman from the late 19th century indicated the paintings were not just pictures of everyday life, but they were about spiritual experiences in a trance state, a type of altered state of consciousness. There is also one inexplicable feature shared by both the San and European paintings: abstract patterns overlying the image. Scientists who study altered states of consciousness tell us that the brain creates these kinds of patterns—lines, dots, grids, etc—during trance state because the brain is hard-wired to see them.

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