2 Oct 2014
“… as true a lover, As ever sighed upon a midnight pillow” Shakespeare
Cushions predate sentience. Cushions , together with combs scupted humans .
Cushions have a high survival rating as they protect against parasites and insects ,while keeping both ears open .
It is unlikely that any fossil cushions would be found or recognized .
So , we make do with chimps :
American Journal of Primatology, 44:215-220 (1998)
A new type of tool use, leaf cushion, by wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Bossou, Guinea, was found. We report two cases: one is indirect evidence; the other is direct observation of a chimpanzee who used the tool. Both cases indicate that chimpanzees used a set of leaves as a cushion while sitting on wet ground. Chimpanzees at Bossou show various kinds of tool use, some of which are unique to the community. Most of these behavioral patterns are subsistence tool use for obtaining food, as at other study sites. The use of leaves as a cushion adds to the few instances of nonsubsistence, elementary technology seen used by wild chimpanzees.
2. But cushions made of leaves and twigs have a drawback : they tangle hair .
Until one smart mama figured out to make a cushion . The future was not the same afterwards .
3.Our smart ur-fashionista started carrying around her comfortable sleeping gear . Fashion reared its head for the first time .
4.Making the cushion involved weaving , already familiar from untangling hair .
The rope was born in all its evolutionary magnificence .
The comb was developed : see Appendix A (http://andreswhy.blogspot.com/2008/04/combs-andre-willers-24-april-2008_30.html )
Two critical inventions :
4.1 Ropes made man the master of his environment . Traps , snares , nets , lasso’s , bola’s etc .
4.2 Combs set individuals free from the group in terms of grooming .
5. Even today , the humblest human has a comb and a cushion .
The grandest cushion rightfully ended up with the dominant person in a group .
It then migrated to the top of the head , leaving the fists free to maintain said dominance .
It is now known as a Crown .
· In slang, a common sit-down toilet is also called a throne, or more formally the 'porcelain throne'.
The Throne originally was like MacGregor’s chair : it was the chair the crowned person sat on (usually with a footstool)
Only important people were allowed to have cushions in China , Rome , Catholic and Protestant churches , the local bazaar , etc .
A mark of status .
A rich man’s home is usually strewn with cushions everywhere in careless profusion . An unconscious dominance play .
7.This is the origin of the Office Chair as status symbol .
It is actually the cushion .
If you want to confuse the hierarchy , put a high-dominance cushion on a low-dominance chair (eg a richly embroidered , obviously expensive and high-class cushion on a typist chair) .Stand back and watch the fun . (Caution : monkeying with your superiors’ backsides is a fireable offence in any culture)
8.Aircraft seat cushions tell the same story .
9. Human territoriality
Mirrored in cats and dogs . Usually disguised as the master’s chair , but try moving the cushion , or worse , swopping it for yours and see what happens .
A good hostess scatters plenty of cushions about to reduce conflict . Unless , of course , she wants conflict , in which case she puts out too few cushions .
A game of musical cushions .
Offering an important man a chair without a cushion is taken as an insult. “He has no territory” is the unconscious message .
Bringing your own cushion is also an insult , and an aggressive one ,too . Try it and see . On par with going to an invited dinner and taking your own food .
10. Toilet cushions .
As old as toilets . But not very well preserved except at second hand .
For example , in “The New Mirror” newspaper of New York of December 16 , 1843 , a ship’s cargo includes “toilet cushions , some very rich”
1. Then there is Thoreau’s famous remark
2. “Think. also, of the ladies of the land weaving toilet cushions against the last day, not to betray too green an interest in their fates! As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
11.Cushions in space .
Apart from the usual air- , re-entry- and landing cushions , the new Orion design features a more traditional cushion :
“a reusable, 700-pound air-bag system that could inflate dur
ing launch and landing, deflate for storage purposes, and partially inflate to provide seating while the vehicle is in space. - See more at: http://thefutureofthings.com/4496-p”ersonal-cushion-of-air/#sthash.HEeY6Cci.dpuf
12 . The cushion as a personal statement :
And , of course , Alice Roosevelt Longworth, FDR’s daughter , with her famous cushion
Pillow talk with a difference , or is it ?
In a pillow fight both sides win .
24 April 2008
The oldest profession .
Hair Dressing and Grooming .
The time-traveller with hairdressing and grooming skills can get a job anytime back to hominid days . Beats plumbing any day .
This partially explains the queer gene : Faux-queer . A cunning stratagem to get close to females without the usual male chest-beating .
Grooming is built-in to the hair of mammals .
Hairs get tangled and knotted ( see Theory of Knots) . Your personal experience is that after day’s activity and a night’s sleep , your hair gets tangled and knotted . The theory shows that it is nearly certain that this will occur in any system with three degrees of freedom .
Tangled hair is a bit of no-no to our homonin . It shows that it cannot get a grooming partner . Parasites also have access to unprotected skin .
Chaos first did the weaving with knots and tangles .
Un-weaving was then invented .
Initially fingernails , then a sharp , hard pointed stick ( a one-toothed comb) to tease the knots apart ..
When a favourite stick was kept , it became a tool .
A one-toothed comb .
Found all over in old sites , but usually called something else .
Plaiting of hair followed . Then some unsung woman genius inverted it and plaited grasses and other fibrous growths . Ropes and nets were invented .
Physical strength became unnecessary .
Mk I humans followed .
MkII humans followed after Toba , when weaving was invented as insulation (clothes) . So was fashion , and the world was never the same .
From the evidence , fashion seems to be a more powerful driver than anything . I would like to put an “except” here , but from the Greenland evidence where people starved to death because eating abundant fish around them was “out of fashion” with some old bishop I cannot .
What is of interest is that un-weaving was invented first , then weaving .
Note the correlation of Peace being invented before War .
Multiple-tooth combs .
An invention so ubiquitous that every human on the planet today has one and uses it at least once a day .
It enables an individual to self-groom . You can comb out the tangles in your hair or pelt by your own , without help .
This had an enormous effect on the development of civilization . The very concept of individualism is predicated on the existence of combs .
It frees the individual from the tyranny of the group .
An unkempt individual is excluded . No ifs or buts . Look around you at the homeless people . Once grooming is lost , so is social acceptance and survival . Hence the large number of spaza-hairdressers . It is not an affectation , but sheer survival .
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “Super Refugee”
Note the insistence of disciplined groups like the military or police to hair grooming . Or the inverse , the trust civilians have for anybody with a taut haircut .
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “Old Age Markers”
Note the hairstyles of the Mandarin class in China : shaven in front , denoting wisdom from survival , and extravagant hair (plaits) at the back , denoting humanity .
Hence , a monk will shave his head denoting a divorce from human concerns .
If someone obviously not in a religious order shaves his head (like bouncers , etc) they signal an indifference to the grooming order . They are essentially doomed . An extremely interesting feedback cycle is initiated that ends in the marginalization of such individual . They tend not to have children .
It must be noted that these are universal hominin markers , operating at well below conscious perception .