Primitive People Are Smarter Than You Think

We have a very primitive but wise group of Asians living amongst us around here called Hmong. This is a Chinese minority group that has moved down into Laos in the last 300 years. They did not even have a written language until the 1950’s and they have always lived quite a primitive life in the jungles.

Nevertheless, they are quite wise. I read an ethnography on them one time. It said that the Hmong believe that women who get pregnant before 19-20 are more likely to have problems in childbirth. The people who figured this out had no knowledge of modern medicine. But we now know that females continue to develop until age ~18-19. Pregnancies before this age are more problematic because the female’s hips are not wide enough to carry a baby yet. The final widening of the hips sufficient to carry a baby does not occur until age ~19.

You will notice this if you see 16-18 year old girls with killer curves and skinny bodies. They look incredibly hot but their bodies are not natural. It’s not normal to be skinny and curvy. You want curves, you got a bigger woman. You want thin, you get a stick. These girls look this way because the body in a formal sense is fully developed by age 16 in the sense of sex drive, full breast and pubic hair development, menarche and the full curvy body shape with narrow stomach, wider hips and a projecting butt is present by age 16.

Except for one thing. The hips have not yet widened to full adult proportions. So the 16-18 year old girl look is not natural or normal. It is a phase of incomplete development and makes little sense biologically. Since it is not biologically correct, there are increased pregnancy issues at this age range.

When I learned that the Hmong have a traditional belief that females should not get pregnant until 19-20, I was stunned. These humans had learned this via trial and error over the centuries. They didn’t need modern medicine to tell them the facts. They figured them out on their own.

Similarly, the Hmong have a traditional belief that one cannot learn a new language after age 40. This has been a problem in my area because non-English speaking Hmong in this age group simply refuse to enroll in English classes and so never learn to speak English much at all. The men often pick up a bit of English anyway because they are often working, but the women tend to stay at home, so older Hmong women are often Hmong monolinguals.

I told my mother of this Hmong belief and she said, “Aha! See? They figured that out on their own. And they are probably right. By age 40, it will be awfully hard to pick up a new language.” And studies in formal linguistics are showing this to be true.

23 Comments

Filed under Anthropology, Applied, Asians, Biology, Cultural, Girls, Health, Hmong, Hmong, Hmong-Mien, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, Medicine, Race/Ethnicity, SE Asians

23 responses to “Primitive People Are Smarter Than You Think

  1. SHI

    They figured that out on their own. And they are probably right. By age 40, it will be awfully hard to pick up a new language.” And studies in formal linguistics are showing this to be true.

    Which means I have another 6-7 years. I always wanted to be fluent in another language. It’s likely going to be a toss between Spanish and some other European/Med language.

    Except I don’t really speak any Spanish beyond “Por Favor” and “Gracias”. But, no doubt it’s a very useful language in the Western hemisphere.

    French is a more likely option. I am able to read Le Monde’s online website and watch French movies without translation especially if there are subtitles in French. I do enjoy reading French. Alexandre Dumas and Jules Verne are my favorite authors. I have been to Francophonie France and was totally at home with announcements in that language. I have memorized La Marseillaise. It’s my favorite patriotard anthem. Most other national anthems suck but the French anthem really stirs up the anarchist soul. It’s a revolutionary anthem after all.

    Sadly, I still cannot speak French. The problem can be cured by cultural immersion. I have noticed that an excellent command of French positively improves your English. The languages are more interrelated than the Anglos would like to admit.

    In today’s world, however, French has barely any use beyond ordering your wine-cheese pairings and strut around in a design studio. Almost all native Frenchmen and Frenchwomen are absolutely fluent in English. In fact, the only monolingual French speakers you might run into are the sons and daughters of Maghrebi immigrants.

    I met this beautiful Tunisian girl near Versailles who could not speak a word of English. So, this gave me my first opportunity to practice French. She would patiently correct my every entence. I experience a lot of grammar difficulties while transitioning from “voux” to “tu”.

    The only other people who speak French are the Quebecois in Canada. And very few are monolingual.

    Maybe I should evolve to Sanskrit. I did study it for five years in school. I can recite a lot of mantras and shlokas in Sanskrit but there’s no one to practice it with so I am really tongue-tied. Still, knowing some Sanskrit would mean earning others’ respect.

    I also love Persian which is a very sweet language. Also fascinated by Turkish. Unlikely to learn them.

  2. Orclops

    Primitives are superior, for they are still in their natural state.

    • EPGAH

      Do you realize what a hypocrite you are for typing that on the computer?
      And I bet you don’t want to die of preventable diseases–the Natural State–so you’ve had your shots, right?

      • Orclops can be right. Humans have progressed to a point where they are opposite of what nature intended humans to be. Orclops’s point of view is that primitive human beings living in harmony with nature is more superior that the artificial and unsustainable environment that modern humans constructed. Natural selection is natural.

        • NL

          The reason why some people think aliens built the pyramids lol – because we have been so removed from nature/natural things, and we rely so much on technologies that the idea of an ancient culture built the pyramids without modern technology is unreal to some of us hah

  3. IQ is an abstracted thing & i doubt few truly understand what “being smart” really is. This is why you can have a brilliant brain surgeon who believes pyramids were ancient grain silos (coff coff #bencarson).Its theorized that the same mental faculties used by a modern phd student are the same faculties used by a hunter gatherer. One has applied these faculties to learning academics the other to learning his or her landscape & the natural study of the flora & fauna they hunt. In other words the nomadic herder is just as smart (or smarter) as the urban techie they just have applied their brain power to learning different things. Giving the nomadic herder a modern iq test is like giving a software writer a car mechanics quiz. The material just doesnt apply to his/her life & area of study. We dont respect these simple societies but one wouldn’t say the astrophysicist is smarter than the psychologist because we respect both areas of study but dump any one of them (or us) in the Amazon jungle or the arid Sahara & you’d see how much a learning curb we’d have. In fact you have scientists who feel our intelligence peaked when most humans were hunter gatherers thousands of years ago. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-intelligence-peaked-thousands-of-years-ago-and-weve-been-on-an-intellectual-and-emotional-8307101.html

    Again this is theory & although I gravitate towards believing it Im interested in seeing solid studies on it.

    • You have no clue what IQ is.

      • so explain to me what IQ “is” oh short winded sage….or shall we say “your” understanding of it. Also I will clarify by IQ i mean intelligence in general. You may think you know what it is but i’d bet 20 to 10 your explanation is from your cultural understanding the validity of what is being questioned here

        • IQ means intelligence like you said. A high IQ nomadic herder would probably ace an IQ test if it is explained to him or her how it works and in the herder’s native language.

    • Phil78

      “IQ is an abstracted thing & i doubt few truly understand what “being smart” really is.”

      I would substitute “IQ” with intelligence itself because the former is a complex yet tangible used measure of “intelligence” while intelligence itself is more challenging to pinpoint.

      “This is why you can have a brilliant brain surgeon who believes pyramids were ancient grain silos (coff coff #bencarson). Its theorized that the same mental faculties used by a modern phd student are the same faculties used by a hunter gatherer. One has applied these faculties to learning academics the other to learning his or her landscape & the natural study of the flora & fauna they hunt.”

      That’s rather doubtful seeing, at least by IQ, those those task would involve different faculties of subtests themselves. This could be argued for Intelligence being subjective, but not the same across different demands.

      ” In other words the nomadic herder is just as smart (or smarter) as the urban techie they just have applied their brain power to learning different things. Giving the nomadic herder a modern iq test is like giving a software writer a car mechanics quiz. The material just doesnt apply to his/her life & area of study.”

      An IQ test wouldn’t be focused on material, or at least there are now tests that does control for that.

      If there isn’t a discrepancy with natural faculties themselves, some variant of an IQ test or proxy could display that.

      “We dont respect these simple societies but one wouldn’t say the astrophysicist is smarter than the psychologist because we respect both areas of study but dump any one of them (or us) in the Amazon jungle or the arid Sahara & you’d see how much a learning curb we’d have. In fact you have scientists who feel our intelligence peaked when most humans were hunter gatherers thousands of years ago. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-intelligence-peaked-thousands-of-years-ago-and-weve-been-on-an-intellectual-and-emotional-8307101.html

      While the idea itself would indeed conform to previous empirical findings with trade offs in diseases, body fitness, and behavior it likely supports the same in demands for intellect itself . However, to phrase it as a decline seems arbitrary with out context of possible trade offs or longitudinal measure of a specific faculty.

      • I agree,intelligence was what I was more or less speaking to. By material i mean the IQ test subject matter & the way its presented.
        Testing for the use of these faculties across these two very different lifestyles & cultures is difficult but things like organization, memorization & task prioritizing cut across both lifestyles. A resesrch question would be “what common mental faculties are used in a modern society & hunter gatherer societies” in other words what common mental muscles are being used. Im sure the area of brain power used for something like software writing is being used in simpler societies for another task that may seem dissimilar to lay persons. What i do know from experience is that the way a subject is presented can have a huge effect on how well a person does in the subject. In high school for some reason I’d do the math in physics equations far easier than even in my algebra classes. Technically the same or similar math but where one had X’s & Y’s the other had angles of orbit,speeds & distances

        • No clue what you are babbling about.

        • either you questioned my understanding of what “iq is” or you questioned someone else’s understanding & I mistakenly assumed your comments was directed at me being that it was in my thread….or your just shitting me (or a little of both)

        • Phil78

          I see where you are getting at. However, your example are somewhat different and could lead to different answers.

          Your first one, being a modern and ancient set of task that uses the same region is consistent If the tasks both clearly shows parallels in a specific cognitive function.

          By a “function”, a specific cognitive action or actions involved in a task. For example, both a modern and ancient task would need to display similar sets of function like types of spatial reasoning, verbal, numerical, etc.

          As for your math example, while you may have a point in terms of presentation having an effect, technically different math subjects have different finer sets of function involved. But on a anecdotal level I agree that from my experience science formulas in general were quicker to grasp for me than most math equations despite even being match for complexity.

          That doesn’t mean you are wrong, however this shows a few confounds to consider when testing such.

          One thing, though, that most human probably lost in association with Brain size is that this resulted in smaller cerebral arterial diameters thus our brains have less energy compared to our larger brain ancestors.
          Also information storage as I’ve read some papers comparing brain to be closer to being an “expert” rather than IQ itself.

          http://www.human-existence.com/publications/Skoyles%20Human%20evolution%20expanded%20brains%20expertise%20not%20IQ.pdf

          Basically it deals people having a capacity to becoming “perfect” through practice, so we may’ve had more of that ability in the past,

        • The link you provided has alot of interesting information. Im still digesting it but I see the writer makes a distinction between expertise & intellect. I will admit I would’ve tended to conflate the two prior to reading this. This is one reason I love these threads. The open mind always gets filled

      • Phil, what do you think of someone who has a 150 verbal IQ and 80 spatial IQ?

        • he’d probably think that was highly unlikely #anomaly

        • Phil78

          While uneven IQs themselves aren’t rare, at THIS level would indeed be an anomaly for sure if by Normal variation.

          While no professional, I’d would certainly consider this being attach to somesort of Savant syndrome.

          A 140 Verbal and a 100 would work itself in the mid 120s, so I would guess that the overall score would be about 110-115? Too high to be Savant Syndrome who I’ve read typically are below average.

          Would you happen to know this person’s overall score?

        • Phil it is hypothetical. It is very rare for someone to have a 150 verbal and 80 spatial. I am just trying to pick your brain and see what you can come up with. It is more realistic for someone to have a verbal IQ of let’s say 110 and and spatial IQ of 90. Which I believe someone here is.

    • A nomadic herder would process information similar to the urban techie with similar IQ. A car mechanic and software coder can have the same IQ but that doesn’t mean that the software coder knows how to fix a car. A higher IQ car mechanic can figure complex issues faster and better than a lower IQ car mechanic. A higher IQ software engineer can write complex code and solve problems faster than a lower IQ software engineer.

      • ok easily agreed to but the further question can that herder develop high iq or lets say high intelligence equivalent to a person in our modern society. Is simply knowing what a thumb drive is make you smarter than that yak herder? It assumed by most (& understandably) that modern people are “smarter” than tribal & nomadic peoples. Would the village shawmans brain be turbo wired the way a medical dr’s would? Can the same mental muscles used by a mathematician be exercised by a tribal farmer or other member of simpler societies?

        • Sigh… Either you are trolling or you are not quite there.

        • The guy who posted an insult & low key sneak dissed me(twice) is accusing me of trolling? Im “there” enough to read through that & tactful enough to still attempt a non combative conversation. I think some one on here doesn’t realize they’re swimming in the deeper end of the pool…or cant admit they are

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