Westendorp, Grard

The late Dr. Grard Westendorp, an independent scholar and researcher, was a social scientist, who specialized in the study of human behavior from an evolutionary point of view. He studied social sciences at the University of Amsterdam. Dr. Westendorp wrote seven books about the evolutionary development of man as a conscious being.

From Language as Speech to Language as Thought
2006 0-7734-5682-1
What sets mankind apart from all other species is not the naked skin, the upright stance, the use of tools or the capacity for thought and emotion. Not even the ability to speak makes the difference. The true ‘sapiens factor,’ the element which turned ape into man, was the transition from verbal communication to verbal thought.

Our forebears started out like any other great ape. Even the development of speech did not help to improve life much compared to that of other hominoids. But around 40,000 years ago, human cultural evolution exploded. Something very impressive takes place within a time span that would normally pass unnoticed. Compared with the preceding pace of evolution, there is an explosion of innovation. A new factor is at play here – what is the ‘sapiens factor’? Available data strongly indicate that what moved our forebears away from all other mammals, including other hominids, was not their use of words to communicate, but that they used them in a new way. Our ancestors moved the handy denominators for reality, which words are, from the realm of communication into the realm of thought.

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