Anthro Ticker

Seeing Is Believing: Visual Culture and Ancient Aliens

The Geek Anthropologist

For centuries, humans have stared at the heavens, attempting to scry a pattern from the stars scattered across the night sky. As a species, it is my belief, and the belief of other anthropologists like Claude Lévi-Strauss, that we crave order, and, subsequently, we create stories that categorize and organize the chaos and contingencies of the universe. Indeed, the word pareidolia means the creation of meaningful or significant shapes from otherwise abstract forms. Cultures have mapped out constellations from the stars, composing stories that accompany the shapes they distinguish in the bulbs of light that glimmer across the Milky Way. The designs that different cultures create are shaped by the culture in which they’ve been raised. The differing ways that cultures across the centuries have mapped the stars and celestial bodies serves as an apt demonstration of the ways in which culture shapes and primes the way we see and…

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