Did Crazy Cavemen Make Those Cave Drawings?


Photos: otisarchives2 (left), modcult (right)

Are cave paintings signs of intelligence of ancient cave dwellers or are they just scribbles of crazy cavemen?

Take a look at the two photos above. The one to the left is a painting made by a patient at St. Elizabeth's hospital. The patient had a case of dementia praecox (eventually classified as schizophrenia) and used a pin or fingernail to scratch paint from the wall, creating pictures symbolizing past events in the patient's life and represent a mild state of mental regression.

Jeb of Modcult made this intriguing observation:

You know, everyone assumes cave paintings were made for some sort of vaunted religious or technical purpose, but maybe in olden times they just sent their crazy people into a cave. I mean, that’s basically what we do now.

Link - via Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival


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hey mother fuckers you guys are nerds why would you read this shit anyway i got better things to do like masturbate and fuck chicks all night long
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Interesting question. It's evident that there was a
good deal of energy expended on these, suggesting perhaps
they had some expendible energy and time to do so.

Some of it does look obsessive and repeatative and might
be the things done to stave off going stir-crazy or
out of boredom. If they were forced to stay in the
caves for some reason: something to do. The interest
in animals is intriguing.

I started searching the web on this topic for two
main questions: in some caves the paintings are out of
reach. How did they reach the ceilings conveniently?

And some are in very cramped crawl spaces. What fashion
of 'fat lamps' were used that could be held while
crawling and also having little soot or fumes
to prevent anoxia or suffocation while crawling
along?
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I had to comment on just how crackpot a theory this is. We know for a fact that natives used to do paintings and rock carvings everywhere. In many cases, they were part of a rite of passage for young men, during which they would get to the point of hallucination and start creating what came to mind. Hence a lot of sexual imagery. Cave paintings were done over a period of time, and not all at the same time by one person.

Extrapolating from this, we can assume that all people who doodle are schizophrenic.
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What an incredibly half-assed hypothesis (and "half-assed" is being generous).

I can't believe this merited a post on Neatorama.
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@Athon

There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.
-- Aristotle

I'm not saying this guy was made a hermit by the people of his tribe. If we don't know what the reason was behind these wall carvings, are you saying it's better to not look at possibilities with what we do know? I'm not saying it's the right idea, I'm just saying it's something worth pondering.
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