What do you think?
Rate this book
480 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1973
A cultureless human being would probably turn out to be not an intrinsically talented though unfulfilled ape, but a wholly mindless and consequently unworkable monstrosity. Like the cabbage it so much resembles, the Homo sapiens brain, having arisen within the framework of human culture, would not be viable outside of it.Do we think this is really the case?
What, after all, is one to make of savages? Even now, after three centuries of debate on the matter—whether they are noble, bestial, or even as you and I; whether they reason as we do, are sunk in a demented mysticism, or are possessors of higher forms of truth we have in our avarice lost; whether their customs, from cannibalism to matriliny, are mere alternatives, no better and no worse, to our own, or crude precursors of our own now outmoded, or simply passing strange, impenetrable exotica amusing to collect; whether they are bound and we are free, or we are bound and they are free—after all this we still don’t know.It’s all part of trying to make sense of our existence, which is why I think I’ll continue to read more books in this discipline. It’s likely I’ll never reach a conclusion.