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#598#599#600#601 Episode #602 - Ancient Languages of The Future (1)
(The Piraha, Non-Violent Communication)


The inner Jackal and the inner Giraffe...

This is a choice episode Fri 4 May 2012  Daniel Everett, Marshall Rosenberg
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we take two very distinct looks at human communication. Firstly we hear half an hour from a recent talk from Professor Daniel Everett on Language, Culture and Being Human. Next psychologist and negotiator Marshall Rosenberg, describes NVC (Non-violent communication).
We start the show this week with Daniel Everett, the linguist whom Charles Eisenstein describes in Chapter 2 of Ascent of Humanity, which we read in episode 465. We hear the first half of a talk he gave in March of 2012 at LSE in London, entitled 'Language, Culture and Being Human'. He describes the Piraha language and culture, noting that the language has no system of numbers and its users talk neither about the distant past nor the distant future. Is this why they appear to be so happy? Or is that linked to the fact that they have to spend only about 16 hours a week hunting and gathering to provide for themselves and their families? Or the fact that after any key life events they change their name and take on a new identity? (For a speculation about their brain chemistry, see episode 652). We hear the first half hour of Everett's talk this week, concluding with the observation that most people, most of the time, are imitators not innovators, and that this is how it should be - but that in times of great change, the human species has shown it is capable of quick adaptation as more people become innovators in an effort to quickly create ways of coping with the failure of traditional behavior patterns. For the rest of the show we hear from Marshall Rosenberg. Rosenberg is a psychologist and negotiator with expertise in resolving violent conflicts. Emerging out his work with civil rights activists in the early 1960s, Rosenberg created Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a communication process to help people exchange the information necessary to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully. This is the focus of his talk which continues into our second hour, and is aimed at introducing NVC. Rosenberg emphasizes the importance of 'natural giving' - altruistic giving which flows from our big-hearted ('giraffe') nature. This he contrasts to our 'Jackal' nature, which would have us play "Who's Right?", a moralistic game which inspires us to perpetuate violence by trying to punish wrongdoing and reward those who behave as we would like them to. In this recording he is working with NVC novices to help them clarify their real needs, and how they can express them their needs in ways that cannot be understood as efforts to control others' behavior. Efforts to control others he says, create scarcity in an abundant world very quickly.
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