Miss Montesquieu and the Weavers of Ur

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Posted by Alan Nagel on November 24, 1998 at 08:11:25:

In Reply to: Re: How Did We Miss Montesquieu? posted by Jerry Silverman on November 24, 1998 at 00:22:07:

: Sorry, folks. I just can't buy this entire thread. ....
: I know brain chemistry is pretty complex, but I'll bet $10,000 right now that this theory is never substantiated and that there is no "ur-weaver."
: -Jerry-
If there are too many claimants, Jerry, I'll join in with your bet. (details to be negotiated)

Again, are we missing what the facts of making a weaving with warp and weft constrains us--ur- and now-weavers--to do as simple exploitations of a limited repertoire of design possibilities?

The "ur-weavers" can [must?!] come up with some simple regularities according to what designs get made out of--the material--and with--the tools, like our fingers, tensioning devices, ways of spinning, joining, and abutting yarns, etc.

We can always speculate, and sometimes with truth values, that cultures use memory to pick up certain basics and to repeat, elaborate, and privilege them. But the place of ur is always also a condition of material constraints. And good ol' Occam offers enough for us to argue that the simplest explanations of the simplest phenomena aren't to be discarded without great care.

Memory is, after all, not an origin so much as the way we locate, stake out, and value origins.


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