Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community

We have been discussing the 'Archaeology of Inequality' on the OAC and as usual some of the discussion was a little chaotic, some a bit elliptical, but there were some striking insights there it, or at least so it seems to me.

Two strands stood out.

1. The trend toward inequality is ongoing and inevitable. John argued that the trend toward hierarchy in human affairs is inevitable because Pareto-Barabasi style 'winner takes all' processes appear whenever networks form and arrive at a certain scale. In this view, regardless of human intentions, whenever a resource becomes available and begins to accumulate then a relatively tiny number of actors will acquire radically disproportionate access to that resource. More broadly, when we look across a whole range of phenomena from avalanches to evolutionary adaptation, to human economic activity, we find that, once elements are networked then a few nodes will attract most of the activity (or goodies) in the network (see Keith Hart on this).

I agree that we can observe these kinds of effects at work in different human domains -- for example the more that 'money' becomes a meta-symbol that can be deployed across very distinct scenes of human value then the more the Pareto-style effect seems to take hold -- greater and greater quantities of this abstract money commodity accumulate in the hands of a smaller and smaller number of actors. Piketty and others have commented on this in depth. 

If this effect is an ever-present potential in how social relationships organise themselves into networks then it is also a potentially very dangerous one. Money, for example, isn't just an abstract symbol, it works because of trust between people about how the abstract signifier and certain things in the world connect to each other -- in other words, it effects not only what the world means to the people who live in it, but also what their own lives mean to others around them. If, for example, by merely sitting on money, by way of compound interest etc., certain people can trap huge quantities of the money-signifier rather than redistributing it back into the network then this can have drastic effects on the economic activity of (and the meaning of the world for) most other people. Similarly, (we started by talking about Graeber's paper on Shilluk kingship) if the use of violence becomes concentrated in one person's hands in a society, then society itself starts to take the shape of something inherently arbitrary and violent. 

If all this is true, then, ideologically and practically there seem to be various ways that human beings can respond to it. For example, according to Pospisil, Kapauku Papuans are (or were in the 1950s) secularist business-minded (almost Ayn Randian) libertarians, but they could nonetheless see the dangers of hoarding money (shell money, cowries, in this case) for their individualistic economic set up. So they took a drastic approach: anyone who refused to redistribute their personal money-hoard in loans to new business ventures (business took the form of raising pigs) was taken out and shot. The money, now under the control of relatives, was reissued in loans to budding entrepreneurs.

However, the Kapauku don't have a monopoly on solutions to the dynamic of inequality. Four possible kinds of response (a quad borrowed loosely from Mary Douglas) would include the following practical philosophies:

1. variants of Fatalism, Stoicism, Buddhism: you may not like it but unequal distributions of capacities and goods are inevitable--get over it, radically accept it, look inward at what you can change in your own thought processes, not outward at events over which you have no control.

2. variants of Vitalism, Libertarianism, Individualism: be the hub of your own network, revel in your own uniqueness and the inequality and unevenness of things; take delight in specificity instead of looking for order; wallow deeply in the irrationality of human intentions and the chaotic arbitrariness of how the world manifests itself.

3. variants of Contractarianism, Communitarianism, Keynesianism: acknowledge the danger of incipient unequal access to good things, but act collectively and individually to change the dynamic by all means possible-- use rational and emotional forces to educate, inculcate shared responsibility, redistributive ethics etc.

4. variants of Epicurianism, Platonism, Hinduism etc: the world is by nature hierarchically ordered; invigorate and enjoy the values of a hierarchical society -- everything and everyone can occupy a fulfilling position in the social order from which they can come to understand themselves and the world.

This, it seems to me was the second strand of our discussion:-

2. Hierarchy means nothing without the human capacity for symbolisation and thence the creation of a cosmological 'outside' for human experience. In a series of dazzling interventions Lee pointed to the fact that before you can have the idea of hierarchy you have to have a cosmology. And he suggested that to understand the invention of cosmology you have to recognise the drug-induced, mind-altered state of the shaman who becomes the translator of the cosmos idea for what then becomes a community. We have in other words to start with cosmological awareness itself. Rather than summarising, here is one post by Lee from that exchange:

 Regarding the “lost space” of prehistoric hand stencils:

In one way or another the 'outside' is the cosmological shell. In that respect, and I don't think anyone has remarked on this to my knowledge, these hand 'prints' are quite revealing. They are created by spraying pigment across the surface of the hand, -- the hand creates a lost space around which the pigment falls on the cave surface. Suppose that what is at work here is a reflection on the subjective inside versus the cosmological outside.
    This is an important idea that leads into the depths of an inquiry into the nature of symbolization.  The image of a human hand, its representational form, is not a concrete thing but, as you say, a “lost space,” an absence.  For me this thought evokes the foundational argument of Eco’s semiotics: communication – meaning – is an absent structure.  Recall that the first version of Eco’s (ponderous and canonical) A Theory of Semiotics was a much less formal essay in Italian, La struttura assente.  Essentially the same idea surfaces in Leach’s classic essay on animal categories, in which he argues that the continuum of animal life is broken up by conceptual gaps – absences – that demarcate traditional categories of animal (pets, livestock, game, “wild” animals).  Mary Douglas on taboo also employs that kernel argument.  I pirated the idea in framing a theory of culture in Dreamtime:   

In the spirit of Galileo, if not with his rigor, I would suggest that the anthropocentric Cartesian cogitoholds only if, invoking the principle of cultural generativity, we conceive of humanity as an absence at the center of things, a cipher to be filled with meaning through the operations of an artifactual intelligence.  The fact that people think at all, that they are cultural beings who do things and effect changes in their surroundings, is due to the pronounced uncertainty, the relentless unclarity of their lives. 

 

    I’ve often wondered about those hand stencils in the caves.  They are among the earliest extant form of human symbolization, but how can we begin to reconstruct the meaning they held for their creators?  As well as their intriguing “lost space” composition, I wonder about: Why hands?  Why not say, feet, or even a stenciled head (produced by another artist as the subject pressed his head against the cave wall)?  A thought I had is that the human hand is an excellent sign of both human distinctiveness and – what folks now like to go on about – agency.  In a world populated by humans, animals, and totemic spirits, the human talent to make things, our artifactual intelligence, and thereby create a whole new class of beings (tools) was hugely important. 

    The only way to go beyond speculation about the hand stencils and other cave paintings and petroglyphs is to continue in the vein of Lewis-Williams and look closely at the subject matter, context (which drawings occur together), and location (which part of the cave) of images.  Even so, there remains a thick veil between the Upper Paleolithic mind and our own (and run the clock ahead twenty or thirty thousand years, and guess what?).  So, your thought that The Sorcerer may be a monkey god, a source of hilarity is as plausible as other interpretations (I like the idea because it’s so different from my own first impression: I found the image chilling – thinking, I guess, what if I’d seen that thing coming at me in my dreams?)  

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Kristian, could you tell us a bit more about how the book you are citing describes "the relative power of turning ones back on the group changes with its size"? Consider two situations, walking out on a bar conversation and jumping out of a lifeboat floating in the north Atlantic. How will group size alter the consequences of one action versus the other?

Admittedly I was thinking a bit too fast there; the authors do not explicitly discuss the significance of the quantitative size of the groups in question. A generalization they do make, however, is that: 

"Personal autonomy is maintained through the principle of “open aggregation,”in which all groups beyond the domestic family are loosely defined, ephemeral, and weakly corporate, and in which membership is fluid, elective, and overlapping."

If it really is so that these peoples don't have to worry seriously about social commitments beyond the domestic family, the web of social power relations surrounding them is definitely of a very different kind than what most of us are used to in terms of sheer quantity. 

The authors also add that this state of affairs is corroborated by living on provincial, ecologically harsh lands that are hard for states to administer (i.e. supporting political autonomy), and a reliance of subsistence techniques that do not rely on very much physical capital (i.e. supporting economic autonomy), aka emphasizing a series of supplementary pragmatic factors beyond the socio-political ones that contribute to the persistence of relative social equality in these societies.

As to your eristic bids, as with your Artemis, a lot more qualitative fictions would be necessary for me to make considerations that make credible human theorizing. Simmel's point stands: If they were only two; the consequence would be social death, if more, the social would live on. And (following your premise of all other qualitative fictions being the same), the more people in that bar talk or on that life raft, the less the social shudder of the loss of the individual.


John McCreery said:

Kristian, could you tell us a bit more about how the book you are citing describes "the relative power of turning ones back on the group changes with its size"? Consider two situations, walking out on a bar conversation and jumping out of a lifeboat floating in the north Atlantic. How will group size alter the consequences of one action versus the other?

Just to wave one of those referee flags,-- since we are now entering a discussion on the relationship of 'autonomy' with 'equality', and given how much difficulty we had with 'equality' (a still fundamentally unresolved floating sign, on this thread at least), then let us be honest in noting from the outset that 'autonomy' is at least as complicated.

Here it seems to be being used as some vaguely quantifiable measure of the ability to walk away from commitments to some socially recognised network of people. Boas pointed out long ago that Baffin Island Eskimos had a very highly developed sense of freedom (he uses that word; others writing on Amerindian life tend to use 'autonomy', Lee can maybe explain the sense in which he prefers 'freedom' too). Nonetheless, in a very practical sense, these people were entirely dependent on their historically shared culture for survival. He went as far as to make the debatable claim that freedom means being fully in tune with your own culture. What, then, does this ability to 'turn one's back' imply?

Huon, your likening of our joint activity here to sports I think is more accurate than we might often think. However, in pointing out that we might be braking the rules, you fall short of the responsibility to set the rules right. In this case, to offer an exemplary lead on how to deal with 'autonomy'.

As eluded in my previous post, the authors of Anarchic solidarity operate with a 4-tired definition of the equality-autonomy complex. To quote from its introduction:

Personal autonomy is maintained through the principle of “open aggregation,”in which all groups beyond the domestic family are loosely defined, ephemeral, and weakly corporate, and in which membership is fluid, elective, and overlapping. Political autonomy is maintained by occupying areas that are difficult for states to administer, such as mountains, swamps, and the open sea. Economic equality is maintained through the use of subsistence techniques that require little in the way of accumulated physical capital. Social solidarity, or fellowship, is achieved through the investment of considerable effort and material resources into voluntary social relations in the absence of coercion and structural constraints. In short, the members of these societies are characterized by a strong commitment to solidarity while simultaneously defending an extensive degree of personal autonomy.

Obviously, this conceptualization will encounter problems when tested other place. Still it seems like one of the best grounded attempts to explain contemporary forms of egalitarianism that the discipline currently has to offer. How can we build on and expand/modify it by case materials from elsewhere?



Huon Wardle said:

Just to wave one of those referee flags,-- since we are now entering a discussion on the relationship of 'autonomy' with 'equality', and given how much difficulty we had with 'equality' (a still fundamentally unresolved floating sign, on this thread at least), then let us be honest in noting from the outset that 'autonomy' is at least as complicated.

Here it seems to be being used as some vaguely quantifiable measure of the ability to walk away from commitments to some socially recognised network of people. Boas pointed out long ago that Baffin Island Eskimos had a very highly developed sense of freedom (he uses that word; others writing on Amerindian life tend to use 'autonomy', Lee can maybe explain the sense in which he prefers 'freedom' too). Nonetheless, in a very practical sense, these people were entirely dependent on their historically shared culture for survival. He went as far as to make the debatable claim that freedom means being fully in tune with your own culture. What, then, does this ability to 'turn one's back' imply?

 

Huon:  Boas pointed out long ago that Baffin Island Eskimos had a very highly developed sense of freedom (he uses that word; others writing on Amerindian life tend to use 'autonomy', Lee can maybe explain the sense in which he prefers 'freedom' too). 

 

    My preference is not complicated.  I think the desire to be free, the desire for freedom is a bedrock principle of Western society, certainly of American society.  It is a word and idea that figures prominently in the minds and actions of millions of people.  As a powerful, dominant symbol it must be approached by the anthropologist on its own terms, in situ among those who invest important meaning in it.  That said, I see no useful purpose served by substituting an arid, not to say antiseptic term such as “autonomy” for “freedom.”  Social-cultural analysis is not served by that, but the practitioners of that craft are: By deploying a technical vocabulary they can pretend to a rigor and accuracy that elude them.  Ask anyone on the street, “What do you think about freedom – is it important?” and you get an impassioned answer.  Ask the same question about “autonomy” and you mostly get blank stares.  Why should we continue to insulate ourselves from our subject of study, and thereby render what we do irrelevant (a fate which we then turn around and lament)?   

    However, if the reason for my preference is not complicated, the idea of “freedom” is extremely so.  In a nutshell, it’s one of those dialectical constructs Keith (and I) write about.  I’ve tried to get at some of those complications in a long essay, “By the Time We Got to . . . Visions of Freedom through American Decades: Two “Movements.”  If you’re interested you can find it in parts somewhere down the list of OAC Forums.  It’s probably more accessible on my website, www.peripheralstudies.org

 

Kristian: Lee, you apparently invest a lot of faith in counter-cultural forms and practices of ritual inversions. Much social theory, however, seems to conclude that the in the bigger scheme of things, the function of liminal expressions and activities is to patch together the pragmatic glitches between the lines of cultural conventions (e.g. Bakhtin, Turner). Hence it ultimately works to stabilize existing social orders. Can you specify cases where such phenomena have been, to borrow Keith's metaphor, "engines" in leveling out social systems? 

    This is so far removed from how I see things that I don’t know quite how to respond.  Let me take it in pieces:

Counter-cultural forms.  If by this you refer to my discussion of School Flicks in my last Comment, I indeed spend a lot of time on movies (and TV shows).  It’s not that I “invest a lot of faith” in them, but I find them extremely interesting because as popular culture they are, yes, popular: Huge numbers of people, not only Americans, like them, get involved in their stories, and apparently see something of their own lives in them.  As anthropologists we can adopt an elitist attitude and dismiss them out of hand as a meaningless diversion or approach them as significant parts of the society we hope to understand. 

Existing social orders.  Here we probably have very different assumptions about the nature of society.  I think any society is an inherently unstable combination of contradictory beliefs and behaviors, a day-to-day or year-to-year affair always teetering on the cusp of transformation.  Liminality, as Turner defined it is a “realm of pure possibility whence novel configurations of ideas and relations may arise.”  Its processes do not “patch together” things through a sort of Malinowskian charter but place the initiand outside normal social life.  And in Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors Turner applies his idea of ritual process to irreversible social change, such as the Mexican revolution. 

Can you specify cases where such phenomena have been, to borrow Keith's metaphor, "engines" in leveling out social systems?  Again, liminal processes (pop culture or otherwise) don’t “level out social systems;” they confront them, contradict them, twist them in unexpected ways.  My discussion of school flicks, cursory as it was, sought to establish that a primary “engine” of the “social system,” education – the means for the all-important goal of socialization (enculturation) -- meets with tremendous popular antagonism in movies that resonate with the very kids who have to sit through countless exams.  Also, a classic argument on this point is James Fernandez’s “Persuasions and Performances . . .” in which he discusses the importance of metaphors in the anti-war climate of Vietnam.   

 

    I guess it boils down to what, in bare-ass essentials we think society / culture is all about.  

Suppose that we agree with Lee's assertion that, "any society is an inherently unstable combination of contradictory beliefs and behaviors, a day-to-day or year-to-year affair always teetering on the cusp of transformation." We then confront the question, what are the circumstances under which an inherently unstable set of social arrangements endures, demonstrates resiliency, or, ideally perhaps, becomes what Nassim Taleb calls "antifragile."

History suggests that the sorts of social arrangements envisioned by the authors of Anarchic Solidarity are highly unstable and very fragile, indeed. Conversely, when we look for examples of societies that have endured for centuries or longer, we find the sorts of social arrangements that give egalitarians nightmares. Ancient Egypt? The Byzantine Empire? Imperial China? Here we find strong hierarchies, the divine rights of rulers, rampant patriarchy and male chauvinism, institutions sustained by extreme forms of violence exercised against those who challenge the system. Considering these facts, Marshall Sahlins' call to examine the peculiar conditions under which something like Scandinavian social democracy arise and may be able to endure takes on a special urgency.

Flying to the States tomorrow to see the grandkids. Before I go, here is another angle on our discussion of (in)equality.

Enjoy.


Kristian: 
the authors of Anarchic solidarity operate with a 4-tired definition of the equality-autonomy complex. To quote from its introduction:

Personal autonomy is maintained through the principle of “open aggregation,”in which all groups beyond the domestic family are loosely defined, ephemeral, and weakly corporate, and in which membership is fluid, elective, and overlapping. Political autonomy is maintained by occupying areas that are difficult for states to administer, such as mountains, swamps, and the open sea. Economic equality is maintained through the use of subsistence techniques that require little in the way of accumulated physical capital. Social solidarity, or fellowship, is achieved through the investment of considerable effort and material resources into voluntary social relations in the absence of coercion and structural constraints. In short, the members of these societies are characterized by a strong commitment to solidarity while simultaneously defending an extensive degree of personal autonomy.

 

Highly idealistic and nostalgic as this portrait is it does give us some kind of model for the interaction of equality and autonomy. But it projects equality and autonomy into a certain kind of past --it is really Tonnies' gemeinschaft with a few significant variations of emphasis -- and it doesn't tell us much about what equality and autonomy might mean now, for people who do not live in weakly corporate groups in marshes and swamps. Edmund Leach once commented of actual societies similar this that they were free and equal because of their political incompetence, not because of any intrinsic merit in their philosophy. And yet, as Lee points out, never have people in mass society talked more about freedom, equality etc. and they must  have some sense of what they mean when they do that as well as some hope that what they mean might be fulfilled.

Two issues arise, 1) whether there is any connection between what is hoped for and what can happen, or whether these hopes are essentially part of the illusion that culture is something coherent and that it can be bent to human aims. The second is that social scientists always underestimate the reflexive awareness of people about these kinds of issues.

Since we are onto pop culture, here is an example provided by my son who, at 13, is an actual inmate of a contemporary high school. Pop culture for 13 year olds isn't films or TV -- it is video games. For example, he has pointed me to an online article about a game that he and his fellows are deeply engaged with called Earthbound. Earthbound, he tells me is at the cutting edge of what people like him are interested in. It takes a minimum of nine hours to play and the plot has been compared to Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. The storyline begins with the fact that the Earth has been destroyed by inevitable man-made ecological disaster and a group leave for the only habitable place left, The Nowhere Islands, where they set up a gemeinschaft-style existence in a village called Tamzily. To do this they have to forget the mess of their previous existence and so they put all their memories in an egg and forget everything. And then they live happily until an immortal pig with the emotional age of a petulant 13 year old turns up and decides to reintroduce all the competitive consumerist features that existed on the earth before and that led to catastrophe including various new kinds of genetically modified monster. 

So, perhaps one point here is that we can't assume that social scientists are going to be able to pin down a specialised theory of these topics in a situation where they are the common currency of self-aware teenagers. 

Excerpt from review of Earthbound (by Pitchfork):

When we're first introduced to Tazmily, we find the villagers enjoying this [Tonnies-esque] kind of community spirit. The fact that everyone in town has a name and addresses Flint by his own is indicative of their fellowship—nobody is a stranger to anyone else—and the village-wide efforts to save Lighter and Fuel from the forest fire and then to search for Hinawa and the twins goes further in showing the extent to which the community is bound together by obligation and affection We also get a sense of the mutual understanding between thevillagers by observing how quickly Abbot and Ollie forgive Flint for lashing out at them. You wouldn't give someone a pass for socking you in the face or smacking you in the kneecap with a log unless it were somebody to whom you were especially close—and the villagers are exceptionally close. They're a family.

We can compare what we see here with the state of affairs in Tazmily three years later. We find the town full of people who have descriptors instead of names: "Man," "Girl," "Guy," "Lady," and so forth. with the creep of urbanism into village life, the people are no longer nearly so closely connected as they once were. (As per Louis Wirth, "urbanism" doesn't necessarily require a densely populated city.) When people in town suffer misfortune or indignity—like when Reggie's teepee gets blasted by lightning, or when Wess is dragged off like a stray animal by the Pigmasks, or when some nameless punker dude is thrown in jail for doing nothing but picking a doorknob up off the ground—nobody gives a damn. And we find that some of the villagers arestill holding a grudge against Duster for allegedly stealing Butch's money. Three years ago, they were willing to give Flint the benefit of the doubt; Duster enjoys no such kindness. We also see Jackie, whose once-humble Yado Inn is now the prosperous Yado Hotel, asking Lucas to stop coming around. It's nothing personal; but Lucas is widely recognized as an outcast, and having him on the premises is bad for business.

Concerns for such matters of business over personal relationships is the mark of a society guided by the pole star of Gesellschaft (Civil Society), the antithesis of Gemeinschaft. Tönnies explains:

The theory of Gesellschaft takes as its starting point a group of people who, as in Gemeinschaft, live peacefully alongside one another, but in this case without being essentially united—indeed, on the contrary, they are essentially detached. InGemeinschaft they stay together despite everything that separates them; in Gesellschaft they remain separate in spite of everything that unites them. As a result, there are no activities taking place which are derived from an a priori and pre-determined unity and which therefore express the will and spirit of this unity through any individual who performs them.

Gesellschaft thus forms a single aggregate, and must be understood as a mass or multitude or natural and artificial individuals. Their wills and spheres of influence interact with each other in manifold different ways, yet they remain independent of one another and lacking in deep intimacy.

Much of Tönnies's explication of Gesellschaft is heavily inflected with Marxism, and we do have to be careful if we're going to talk about capitalism in MOTHER 3. None of the turbines of the capitalist engine (stock markets, corporations, bourgeoise pigs, etc.) are actually present. (Well, except for the pigs.) But the social consequences of the capitalist order—namely the brittle social relationships of people living in Gesellschaft—are on full display.

Huon, I can't tell from Pitchfork's review whether the changes described are (1) inherent in the structure of the game,i.e., the goals of the players, (2) the impact of the deus ex machina, that immortal pig, or (3) supposed to be the result of the player's human nature. Can you, or your son, clarify a bit?

Well, I am antediluvian as far as video games go, but my understanding is that this one has the usual algorithmic elements -- reaching certain levels of play at which point specific features of how this world has come about are revealed to the player -- a mazeway if you like where particular vistas open once you have achieved a particular task-- as here, where a key character, Leder, reveals a crucial aspect of what is happening:

Well, I will take the lull as an indication that this thread has run its course. My interest here was to use the paintings in the cave as a metaphor for thinking about what equality and inequality currently mean. We threw out a number of ideas; Keith argued that inequality is a structural denial that two classes have the same nature and rights. Kristian, exploring the Norwegian case, argued that growing inequality in Norwegian society goes with the financialisation of, amongst other things, the education system: we should look at the historically specific forms of political autonomy that in the past sustained egalitarian politics to understand this latest phase. Lee pointed to how contemporary 'culture' has become an increasingly chaotic carrier of significance, perhaps decreasingly able to offer people tools for understanding the world they live in including its gross inequalities. I began with a contradiction akin to that between the two kinds of inequality Rousseau talks about in his Discourse on Inequality. These two kinds could, it seemed to me, be usefully distinguished as inequality and hierarchy -- though perhaps this just muddied the waters. To me, the question remains; what are we, or teenagers in a school, or indeed any of the globe's 7bn people to make of the relationship between inequality in its two senses as this distinction continues to give meaning to the pattern evident in today's world?

From Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality:

"I conceive that there are two kinds of inequality among the human species; one, which I call natural or physical, because it is established by nature, and consists in a difference of age, health, bodily strength, and the qualities of the mind or of the soul: and another, which may be called moral or political inequality, because it depends on a kind of convention, and is established, or at least authorised by the consent of men. This latter consists of the different privileges, which some men enjoy to the prejudice of others; such as that of being more rich, more honoured, more powerful or even in a position to exact obedience.

It is useless to ask what is the source of natural inequality, because that question is answered by the simple definition of the word. Again, it is still more useless to inquire whether there is any essential connection between the two inequalities; for this would be only asking, in other words, whether those who command are necessarily better than those who obey, and if strength of body or of mind, wisdom or virtue are always found in particular individuals, in proportion to their power or wealth: a question fit perhaps to be discussed by slaves in the hearing of their masters, but highly unbecoming to reasonable and free men in search of the truth."

 

Thanks for launching, animating and spinning this thread, Huon. For me it is highly appropriate to conclude with that generous quote from Rousseau. For him and his peers, nature was something you can't do anything about because it had become, rather than becoming. The privilege to command obedience was social and, in his view, usually arbitrary. So he sought to establish equality on the basis of what all human beings have in common, their nature, ditching along the way its historically arbitrary current foundation. This leads him in the essay to repudiate the unequal advantages of civilisation which had led to human deterioriation (we can beat them with our machines, but they are individually better than us). It's all very rich and I have learned a lot from this thread, especially from you. Btw I spent the Easter break in the Perigord -- lots of caves there, but that's a whole other story.

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