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Human Evolution: Where Are We Now?
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 18:45
During the past year, there have been so many stunning new discoveries in the field of human origins that some of our most cherished and long-standing assumptions have been thrown into chaos . Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum is the the world's foremost expert on human origins and will be bringing us up to date.
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In the Batek’s forest, laughter and mockery are often subject to taboo, and inappropriate laughter or mockery can cause storms, madness, ill-health, or even death. However, although these taboos are viewed and described with utmost seriousness, people also find great pleasure in laughing together and making jokes. In fact, this pleasure is often intensified when the laughter or joke is forbidden and risks catastrophe. This sets up a dynamic whereby it is largely up to individuals whether they choose to follow the taboos, or to ignore them and succumb to the pleasure of sharing in subversive laughter. Speaking to debates on power and ethics, this paper therefore both outlines the Batek’s laughter taboos, and asks how managing the conflicting demands of laughter shapes people’s ethical values, particularly in relation to power, authority, and egalitarianism.