Jul 2, 2005

"Our ability to conceive of abstract concepts" [LINK]

A short item in The Week, a digest of the international press:

In the 1950s, a chimpanzee named Congo captured the British public's imagination when he learned to paint on a popular TV show. He eventually produced some 400 works of "abstract" art. Now, more than four decades after Congo passed away, three of his pieces have been sold by the London auction house Bonhams for $26,352. The proud owner is Howard Hong, a California telecommunications consultant. "On a purely artistic level, when I saw the paintings they struck me," he said. "The style looks like an early Kandinsky." Hong added, "It is said that what makes us human is our ability to conceive of abstract concepts. This totally contracts that theory."
Another sure sign of intelligence is to have just enough wit to misinterpret the evidence of your senses.

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