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Hispanic civilization

3 September 2011

The story is told of some European scholar who was asked what he thought of American civilization.

“I think it would be a good idea,” he is said to have replied.

Quipu

But here is a story which shows how it can backfire. It is the story of an encounter of Europeans with American civilization.

Hat-tip to fellow-blogger Clarissa, who teaches literature at a university somewhere in America. In the course of her lectures on Hispanic civilization she introduces her students to the object on the right.

Quipus | Clarissa’s Blog:

This legacy of the quechua people is one of the fascinating things I discuss in my series of lectures on Hispanic Civilization. I usually ask the students to guess what these are. They start offering suggestions, and the excitement in the classroom grows.

When I finally reveal that this is the quechua equivalent of a book, the students all gasp in amazement.

Her blog post provoked a few comments and questions about how one “reads” quipus. It seems that no one really knows. “When the conquistadors arrived, they thought this was just garbage and simply burned most of quipus.”

I think Hispanic civilization would be a good idea too.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cici permalink
    5 September 2011 2:40 am

    The current employment crisis with 15% people on foodstamps has yet to prove the American civilization intensity: as people lose their houses due to mortgage defaults (4 months is the average), they cannot rent due to impaired credit scores. (By the way the rents are up 40% for the past year everywhere in the US.) So the light speed of falling from
    self-sufficiency to homelessness is an example of the soul’s trajectory: heaven or accelerated Gehenna. Can anyone break the vicious circle of capitalist banking or are you Greek Orthodox their accomplices?

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