Human existence

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Posted · Report post

More to the point of my wondering is how/when/why did any of these considerations make the scene?

Something of the nature of the beast, so to speak, made a quantum leap, or the process broke.

The fact that it did so is to me the interesting observation.

Corollary question:

Why aren't there say at least two species that wear clothes?

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Posted · Report post

Because all/most other warm-blooded creatures have fur, humans only have hair on their heads so we need to keep warm more than the other species.

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Posted · Report post

Well, my dog shivers when she's outside and it's anything less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit :P

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Because all/most other warm-blooded creatures have fur, humans only have hair on their heads so we need to keep warm more than the other species.

<tmi>* Phaze begins to suspect he has lycanthropy*</tmi>

Edited by phaze
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Posted · Report post

Well why don't any other species have the internet? :P Humans do seem to have a higher brain capacity for like, technology (even simple ones like making thread...or fire for that matter!)

The question of clothing is an interesting one, from a social evolutionary perspective. However it's inextricably intertwined with the evolution of culture/society as a whole which in turn is inextricably intertwined with history, and as much as I find evolutionary sociology/psychological fascinating, I am too lazy to tackle that question atm (although I've considered parts of it).

From a practical perspective, it's much simpler. There's the whole' maintaining heat so that you can hunt/gather farther/longer' issue as has been brought up. There's also like the protective qualities of clothing. And not just, like heavy hides and whatnot. Even thinner fabrics can protect from cuts and scratches, which, although in themselves not life-threatening, can be infected, especially before the invention of, like, penicillin ;).

And there's the whole terror of women's fashions in particular...the rib and organ malforming corsettes in Europe, those neck elongating rings in Africa, and the practice of bandaging feet to prevent them from growing in Asia...it's almost like society was saying 'the harder it is for you to run away/protect yourself from men, the more attractive you are'...*whistling*

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Posted · Report post

Can anyone explain how it went from semi practical reasons (status, protection) for wearing clothing to an embarrassing situation (usually for both parties) if someone is accidentally caught clothing compromised?

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I'd love to...but I have go to a dentist appt so I don't have time atm...

I'd like to point out that it's interesting to note that in earlier cultures, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc, there was actually less 'social awkwardness' at nakedness than in later cultures, like the Victorian era, which suggests that it didn't go from practical to embarrassing, but rather there was an evolution that went along with culture/historical movements (and religious movements).

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Posted · Report post

Unfortunately it is hard to verify with an ancient Greek, Roman or Egyptian that there was an acceptable/unacceptable state of attire. We really need is some input from someone who has grown up in a traditionally clothing minimalist culture about if there remain socially accepted rules about what is worn/not worn.

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Posted · Report post

Lol well personally I'd trust an analysis of, like, the culture based on many artifacts (art, tablets, etc) over what one person testifies to...especially after they've been paid off in Oreos by phaze (yes, it is truly the food of the gods)...;P

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Posted · Report post

Lol well personally I'd trust an analysis of, like, the culture based on many artifacts (art, tablets, etc) over what one person testifies to...especially after they've been paid off in Oreos by phaze (yes, it is truly the food of the gods)...;P

Have you been to a modern art gallery? It is that just based on paintings one gets the impression that there is no 'social awkwardness' at having unexpected company whilst being sans clothes. Victorian era religious based art being possibly the worst offender in this misunderstanding. For this reason I'd rather some recent portrayal that is not from the cookie monster.

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Posted · Report post

Lol well personally I'd trust an analysis of, like, the culture based on many artifacts (art, tablets, etc) over what one person testifies to...especially after they've been paid off in Oreos by phaze (yes, it is truly the food of the gods)...;P

Have you been to a modern art gallery? It is that just based on paintings one gets the impression that there is no 'social awkwardness' at having unexpected company whilst being sans clothes. Victorian era religious based art being possibly the worst offender in this misunderstanding. For this reason I'd rather some recent portrayal that is not from the cookie monster.

Wait, whaaaaa??? First off, how is modern art related to Victorian art? And show me examples of these so called Victorian era religious art that you speak of...do you mean like the depictions of Jesus on the cross? I don't think anyone would 'misunderstand' an emaciated figure of christ dying or any sort of depiction that gives a naked figure a dark, 'punished' tone as suggestive of social freedom in clothing...

I have been to art galleries, thank you very much, although I dislike modern art. I.e. the Tate Modern was not to my taste, but the British Museum, the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsay, etc I adored.

And it's not 'the cookie monster' making this analysis based on the artifacts (including, but not limited to the art) from those eras, it's archeologists, anthropologists, etc. For example, in Egypt, the top hem of women's dresses could be worn below the breasts, i.e. revealing the breasts...would that have been acceptable in the Victorian era?

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The cookie monster was a reference to your oreos quip for a real life testimony. I am quite sure that being an fictional unclothed muppet his views would be quite distorted. His probable reply would be "Cookie?" By Victorian era religious art I was not referring solely to depictions of the cross. If they were as influential in producing the 'social awkwardness' you describe surely they would have demanded that the ceiling in the Sistine chapel be appropriately defaced and depictions of "Madonna and child" be hidden in the basement.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

And now for something completely different.

What part of the evolutionary process involved wearing clothes?

The more I think about it clothes apart from being protection against cold or a display of status (helps us stand out) are more of a mask that allows us to fit in with what we think society deems noteworthy (a mark of conforming to expectations). This is most evident in the realm of womens fashion. This means that your question can be adapted to "What part of the evolutionary process involved us being insecure about our appearance?"

Edited by phaze
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Posted (edited) · Report post

I made no such claims about art influencing 'social awkwardness', my claim was that based on artifacts (including but not limited to art...there was corroboration from tablets, descriptions, etc), archaeologists anthropologists and the like could make some pretty good analysis of what was considered socially acceptable clothing in the ancient world. I.e. in Egypt, bare breasts were not considered immodest for women, and in Greek, there was even a mandate that male athletes participate naked. I think it was the olympics but I don't remember exactly. The exact reason for the mandate is not so clear, but a popular theory is that there was a woman who dressed in male athletes garb who won once and so to avoid the "embarrassment" of having a female win. Having a female win was considered more embarrassing than being naked...what does that tell you?

Um...did you see my previous post about women's clothing? I would say society, which has been dominated by men make women insecure/weak...to keep them docile and home-makers. This makes senses from an evolutionary perspective, as if the female you mate with is having children and taking care of them (so they survive), your genes are more likely to be passed on.

Edit: Oh yeah, there's also the whole hygienic benefits of clothing, i.e. protection from diseases transmitted by bodily fluids...clothing is protective in many ways.

Edited by Yoruichi-san
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For my theories to hold true (that we use clothing or the lack thereof is a social mask) I do not need to compare our current standards of dress with another culture who has different standards. All I need to do is establish if they have their own standard of dress. I cannot do this by examining artefacts as this could just be telling me that their standards are different to ours rather than implying a complete lack of standards. I believe if you look into Greek culture a bit further you will see that although athletes participated naked that only the gents were allowed to attend ( http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/olympics/f/080708OlympicWo.htm). I believe this is an indication that even in this environment there was some dress code. It is also interesting to note that while in Egypt while breasts were depicted as being exposed that they still wore clothes. The reason why I would prefer talking to someone contemporary is that it is hard to get an indication from artefacts if these fashions were considered prudish, enlightened or they were genuinely uncommitted about the way they dress. This said however if artefacts show that they had a similar style of dress it may be an indication of a dress standard. Not knowing the culture of the time we cannot be assured that a dress standard change shows different classes (statuses) or that they felt that others would be so accepting of them that their style of dress did not matter. If the style of dress didn't matter then and only then can you state that clothing solely serves rudimentary functional purposes (such as being a physical protective covering for hygiene or protection against the cold).

What I was attempting to prove with art is that artefacts on there own are not going to provide enough cultural information to know what people are thinking therefore I tried showing you that a misunderstanding could easily be achieved via the artefacts of Victorian art because of the following quote

there was actually less 'social awkwardness' at nakedness than in later cultures, like the Victorian era, which suggests that it didn't go from practical to embarrassing, but rather there was an evolution that went along with culture/historical movements (and religious movements).

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Um...Sisteine Chapel was Renaissance, not Victorian art ;P. Yes your argument only took account art, whereas my statement was meant to mean "art taken in conjunction with other artifacts (such as descriptions on tablets, etc)"...that's why I put the "art" in parenthesis, along with "tablets,etc", rather than just saying "based off art" :P. I agree with you that art is obviously not always an exact depiction of reality, but I trust the ability of archeologists to be able to tell the difference b/w, like, that a drawing of a man with a jackal's head with corresponding hieroglyphics that say "Anubis, god of [whatever he was god of...I forget]" does not mean ppl at the time had jackal's heads, just as they can tell a statue of the Madonna with child is not representative of the normal society, but drawings of a pharaoh and his servants who are bare chested, with the corresponding corroborating written evidence suggests that the men of that period went about bare-chested.

It is common agreement among archeologists/anthropologists (again I emphasize they base their conclusions off corroborating written evidence, not just the art) that bare breasts were not considered immodest in ancient Egypt. I never stated that clothing served only for protective purposes (stop putting words into my mouth :P), I agreed with flame that it had status purposes as well, I was just adding the protective qualities no one else had brought up yet. What I disagree with is that there exists innate human "embarrassment" at nakedness in itself.

Even if modern day sports only allowed men viewers (or victorian era sports), there would still be social awkwardness if the athletes turned up naked. As a contemporary living at this time, I can attest to this ;P.

If you choose not to accept the conclusions of archeologists/anthropologists etc, that is your choice. But for those who do, my assertion holds: the historical record suggests that there was not an innate human 'social awkwardness' at nakedness, but rather one developed over time in societies over the course of human existence. I haven't done enough research, but I suspect that it corresponded to the rise of mono-theistic religions ;).

Edited by Yoruichi-san
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I haven't done enough research, but I suspect that it corresponded to the rise of mono-theistic religions ;).

Be sure to include in your research an explanation for Japans attire along with their predominant animistic Shinto/Buddhist beliefs.

Then as a practical sideline would you feel awkward about going to a major event without make-up?

My quest is not to discover that we feel embarrassed about nakedness but feel embarrassed about our self-image and so conform to what we believe to be an acceptable dress/undress for a culture or situation.

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I don't wear make-up...that should answer your question ;P.

Being conscious of our self-image seems like it makes perfect evolutionary sense...being aesthetically pleasing to the opposite sex increases chances of mating. Those who spend extra time, effort, and/or resources on being more attractive are giving themselves an advantage, i.e. for those who are naturally equally attractive, the ones who are more attentive to their looks are more likely to be evolutionarily successful.

From a evolutionary psychology/sociology point of view, insecurity is an interesting beast. Insecurity makes you try harder, i.e. if you're insecure in your job, you will give it 110%, while, on the other hand, if you know you're irreplaceable, you're more likely to take long lunch hours ;). An insecure female is more likely to double/triple check her appearance at every opportunity and also more receptive to the attentions of the opposite sex, i.e. more likely to 'jump in bed' with a man who pays them compliments ;).

I discussed other reasons for female insecurity previously. Male insecurity I suspect has to do with power, as well as how hard they try to attract mates, mate, etc. Making someone insecure is a good way to control them, and males do exhibit the whole 'alpha male' dynamic.

I don't really like the term, but I'm going to use it: 'memetically' speaking, insecurity does make sense. It reminds me of the tortoise and the hare...the hare, feeling 'secure' in his superior speed slacks off and ultimately loses, while the 'insecure' tortoise keeps on plowing through for the win :).

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Posted · Report post

From a evolutionary psychology/sociology point of view, insecurity is an interesting beast. Insecurity makes you try harder, i.e. if you're insecure in your job, you will give it 110%, while, on the other hand, if you know you're irreplaceable, you're more likely to take long lunch hours ;). An insecure female is more likely to double/triple check her appearance at every opportunity and also more receptive to the attentions of the opposite sex, i.e. more likely to 'jump in bed' with a man who pays them compliments ;).

But the multi-million dollar question is if it affects our attire any more than status does...

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Why is that the multi-million dollar question? I do not think they are mutually exclusive. In fact, I would say they are very much inter-related in cultures. Dressing in an expensive fitted suit, for example, increases your perceived status as well as your physical attractiveness. People who are most concerned with their status in societies also tend to be those most concerned with their self-image...

Also I don't think the ones most concerned with their self image are necessarily the most likely to conform. I think a lot of the most concerned try to get 'nouveau' or 'cutting edge' fashions, try to be the trend-setter rather than the conformist.

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Comical Interlude

Friend of the family on the phone: It is just going to be a quick visit so there is no reason to tidy your house

Later Conversation:

Wife: Oh, he is coming over, we need to tidy up.

Husband: But he said there is no need to tidy up.

Wife: {pause} We need to tidy up.

Husband: :huh:

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Speaking of comical interludes...somewhat back on topic...(Warning: Proceed with a sense of humor)

Sometime a long long time ago in a place not that far away...
Caveman Grog: Mmm...meat...gooood...gooood we make rocks pointy to kill animals
Caveman Bob: And gooood we make hot orange-y stuff to make meat brown...brown meat gooood...mmmm...
Caveman Grog: Yes, hot orange-y stuff make Grog warm, but white wet stuff fall from sky that make Grog shiver :(
Caveman Bob: But animal not shiver...maybe soft brown stuff they have on skin make animal warm?
Caveman Grog: Hmm...if we take animal skin and soft brown stuff from kill, maybe we warm too...
Caveman Bob: And we use fire to make animal skin not wet so not get stinky.
Caveman Grog: Have oppo-sa-ble thumbs to make stones sharp and hold stones to cut off animal skin :).
Caveman Bob: Yes, oppo-sa-be thumbs gooood...hehe...
...and thousands of years later, their descendants adopted the names Abercombie, and Fitch
Edited by Yoruichi-san
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Was my comical interlude off topic?? (Maybe you need to think about it longer)

How do we know that ancient cavemen spoke Buffy Speak?

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Um...unless "tidy up" is an euphemism for something, I don't see what it has to do with clothes or the lack of... :huh:

Only the fashion-forward ancient cavemen spoke Buffy speak ;P.

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@ Ysan had to do with feelings of inadequacy (the state of the house). While you approaching this issue top down by noticing actions and establishing motives I am approaching it bottom up by noticing motives and seeing if they would explain actions.

The Nightmare

Zim was in the middle of a hunt. Crouching in the long grass the hunting party had spied their prey. The hunt leader turned and saw Zim. He then wordlessly pointed to where his grass skirt should have been. Zim realising that he was not wearing a grass skirt awoke to see that the fire had gone out.

What was the source of Zims embarrassment?

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