I was listening to Wade Davis' Long Now talk about the wisdom of ancient cultures. Like all Long Now talks, it got me thinking. One thing that Wade said that stuck out was that other cultures are not failed attempts at being us, but other interpretations of what it means to be human.
He did mention one thing that rubbed me a bit the wrong way. When mentioning Amazonian indians who have a hallucinogen that is made from two parts from two plants, he cited the usual disbelief from our culture of how this came about. He did mention that the indians reply that the plants speak to them. But I feel he failed to say that these indians are as scientific and explorative and systematic about their world as we are and that what was figured out generations ago is now part of how they interact with nature - the plants indeed do speak to them.
He also mentioned Songlines, the songs indigenous Australians sing when traversing the outback. The songlines are an interesting mix of information and culture used to navigate the world.
That got me thinking: Are songlines a form of augmented reality? Indeed, thinking about how the plants "talk" to Amazonian indians, might culture, our encoding of information and norms and etiquette and stories, just be an augmentation over the world, and augmented reality?
By the way, the rest of the talk was mind-blowingly awesome. Listen to it.
Image from StormyDog