Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
The Origin and Persistence of the Trickster Figure Evidenced by the Self-reflective Abilities of Early Humans
Nancy R. Bottoms
There is much scholarly research on the trickster figure. Scholars of mythology, folklore, and psychology find this ubiquitous folk character fascinating. Jung almost gives the figure archetypal status as he contemplates the possibilities for its origin. This paper presents a theory that adds elements from the disciplines of physics, biology, anthropology, and archeology. In studying the work, ideas, and theories of scholars in these fields this paper explores the possibility that the telling of stories in which a character deliberately disrupts the expected but leaves opportunity for re-ordering could help early humans survive in a world where things turn upside down without warning. Furthermore, because the stories exist and because the insight needed to create such stories requires self-reflective thinking coming from observation and memory, trickster stories signify the emergence of the modern human brain.
keywords: balance; chaos; complexity; order; survival.