Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Caveman Principle

This interview with a physicist talking about the future makes for a fascinating read for a geezer like me. The following paragraph really jumped out:

Take the paperless office. Futurists predicted that the computer would make paper obsolete. Now, however, we use more paper than ever. Techies overlooked what Mr. Kaku calls "the Caveman Principle": the fact that "our personalities haven't changed for 100,000 years, since modern humans emerged from Africa." The scientist likes high tech, "but the caveman likes high touch," he explains. "People don't feel comfortable with all the electrons on their PC screen." With the flip of a switch, those electrons disappear, worrying our inner caveman. "We want a hard copy."

Lately I've been thinking, for a number of reasons, that live music in various non-standard formats is a niche waiting to be filled by musicians. This quote suggests one I hadn't thought about, that on an evolutionary level we're not that different from our distant ancestors and that maybe live music supplies us something that will always be absent from recorded music. Maybe something about the way we like live music is sort of like our appreciation of the hard copy Mr. Kaku uses to explain our connection to our pre-historic selves.

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