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Deadly Powers: Animal Predators and the Mythic Imagination
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Deadly Powers: Animal Predators and the Mythic Imagination

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  22 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
In this illuminating and evocative exploration of the origin and function of storytelling, the author goes beyond the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell, arguing that mythmaking evolved as a cultural survival strategy for coping with the constant fear of being killed and eaten by predators. Beginning nearly two million years ago in the Pleistocene era, the first stories, ...more
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published November 7th 2011 by Prometheus Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Boria Sax
Jan 27, 2012 Boria Sax rated it liked it
In Deadly Powers, Trout argues that religious awe is ultimately a sublimation of terror, going back to the days when early human beings and their ancestors were easy prey for large carnivores. This makes the history of humankind an epic tale of our gradual ascent up the proverbial "food chain." We attempted to conciliate the powerful beasts of prey, as well as to partially identify with them. It is an exciting tale featuring gods, demons, serpents, and megafauna of the Pleistocene, and Trout ...more
Trekscribbler
Dec 29, 2011 Trekscribbler rated it it was amazing
DEADLY POWERS Explores Man’s Ultimate Relationship to Myth

I’ve never been one to believe in evolution. Now, before you tune me off, just hear me out for a moment. I’ve never believed much in it because I’ve never truly understood how man – as a modern creature – couldn’t psychologically have grown from, say, some earlier creature. Sure, I’ve seen the popularized picture – the ape to the upright man – but I’ve never grasped how the human mind – arguably the greatest instrument toward reason that
...more
Joseph F.
Aug 30, 2015 Joseph F. rated it liked it
Trout covers a neglected area in the study of our origins: that ugly fact that at one time in our early history, we were food. Before we learned to hunt, we were prey. The world during the Pleistocene was a scary place; predators were everywhere and they were bigger and badder than they are today. This of course led to the strong possibility that humans must have had a severe fear of being gobbled up and turned into shit. The book is an exploration of how early humans, with the help of myths and ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jun 23, 2012 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
As I always point out in 104, it is amazing small groups of humans survived at all against determined predators with teeth, claws and fangs--and Trout makes a convincing case that this fear was reliably encoded in mythology and folklore of snakes that eat the world, shamen who are swallowed by bears and trickster scavengers who steal children and eat them. Where it gets interesting is how we did survive and adapt, developing instincts to distrust things that loom or writhe, making distance ...more
Bc
Jan 05, 2012 Bc rated it liked it
Recommends it for: all humans
Recommended to Bc by: no one
A well written exploration of human behavior based on the fear of being eaten. Could be and should be basic reading in any number of disciplines.
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