Republicans are our Pirahã

The Pirahã are an Amazonian tribe whose language doesn’t contain numbers or references to time, other than the present. They are hunter gatherers and don’t make things designed to last. In other words, they don’t process to preserve. Preservation, of course, implies an awareness of the future which these people don’t have. They don’t have a sense of numbers (similar things arranged and ordered) and they don’t have a sense of time. That they sleep for only 15 minutes at a time every couple of hours day and night may be accounted for by the fact that their cognitive and memory functions are minimal or lacking and so the cognitive brain does not require either the time or energy to process new information.

It’s telling that the Pirahã call themselves the straight ones and consider other languages to be crooked. That makes sense if a person perceives reality as being composed of pairs and the space between them as a straight line. In other words, the Pirahã seem to be binary folk. And it may well be that they are a uniform tribe because children who process information and perceive numerical difference eventually move away. It seems telling that albeit extremely simple, the language has one word for stepchild, favorite child, orphan — i.e. the concept of adoption is well established and adopted children may well be preferred to one’s own, if those that exhibit “crooked” behavior are shunned. “Birds of a feather flock together” because those that don’t look or fly right are chased away.