Best 199 of Anthropology quotes - MyQuotes
Casi no hemos teorizado en el Perú porque siempre otros han pensando por nosotros. El traslado de esquemas de otras realidades no ha hecho sino impedir nuestro propio desarrollo intelectual
What we mean when we say that something is "cultural" is that it is roughly similar to what we find in other members of the particular group we are considering, and unlike what we would find in members of a contrast group. This is why it is confusing to say that people share a culture, as if culture were common property. We may have strictly identical amounts of money in our respective wallets without sharing any of it!
The story of our human lineage is continually enlarged, almost daily, by discoveries from physical anthropology, archeology, and genetics.
Anthropology at that time was in transition, moving from the study of men dead and gone to the study of living people, and slowly letting go of the rigid belief that the natural and inevitable culmination of every society is the Western model.
Anyhow, many people in the soft sciences are prone to be wrong because they’re crazy* * some are dumb, too, but that’s another story.
Since the dawn of time, several billion human (or humanlike) beings have lived, each contributing a little genetic variability to the total human stock. Out of this vast number, the whole of our understanding of human prehistory is based on the remains, often exceedingly fragmentary, of perhaps five thousand individuals. You could fit it all into the back of a pickup truck if you didn't mind how much you jumbled everything up, Ian Tattersall, the bearded and friendly curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, replied when I asked him the size of the total world archive of hominid and early human bones. The shortage wouldn't be so bad if the bones were distributed evenly through time and space, but of course they are not. They appear randomly, often in the most tantalizing fashion. Homo erectus walked the Earth for well over a million years and inhabited territory from the Atlantic edge of Europe to the Pacific side of China, yet if you brought back to life every Homo erectus individual whose existence we can vouch for, they wouldn't fill a school bus. Homo habilis consists of even less: just two partial skeletons and a number of isolated limb bones. Something as short-lived as our own civilization would almost certainly not be known from the fossil record at all. In Europe, Tattersall offers by way of illustration, you've got hominid skulls in Georgia dated to about 1.7 million years ago, but then you have a gap of almost a million years before the next remains turn up in Spain, right on the other side of the continent, and then you've got another 300,000-year gap before you get a Homo heidelbergensis in Germany and none of them looks terribly much like any of the others. He smiled. It's from these kinds of fragmentary pieces that you're trying to work out the histories of entire species. It's quite a tall order. We really have very little idea of the relationships between many ancient species which led to us and which were evolutionary dead ends. Some probably don't deserve to be regarded as separate species at all.
Es característico de la mala crítica imponer a las teorías que se revisan el cumplimiento de promesas que ellas no han hecho, en lugar de revisar la consistencia interna de su discurso
It was difficult to hold Broca's brain without wondering whether in some sense Broca was still in there—his wit, his skeptical mien, his abrupt gesticulations when he talked, his quiet and sentimental moments.
Yuval Noah Harari
One of history’s fews iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it. Over the few decades, we have invented countless time saving machines that are supposed to make like more relaxed - washing machines, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, telephones, mobile phones, computers, email. We thought we were saving time; instead we revved up the treadmill of life to ten times its former speed and made our days more anxious and agitated.
Try seeing, feeling, and tasting the water you swim in the way a land animal might perceive it. You may find the experience fascinating -- and mind-expanding.
A culture, like an individual, is a more or less consistent pattern of thought and action. [...] Each people further and further consolidates its experience, and in proportion to the urgency of these drives the heterogenous items of behaviour take more and more congruous shape. [...] Such patterning of culture cannot be ignored as if it were an unimportant detail. The whole, as modern science is insisting in many fields, is not merely the sum of all its parts, but the result of a unique arrangement and interrelation of the parts that has brought about a new entity. Gunpowder is not merely the sum of sulphur and charcoal and saltpeter, and no amount of knowledge even of all three of tis elements in all the forms they take in the natural world will demonstrate the nature of gunpowder.
But because humans are intensely social animals, they also faced a recurring set of crucial social evolutionary challenges. These evolutionary challenges include (1) evading physical harm, (2) avoiding disease, (3) making friends, (4) gaining status, (5) attracting a mate, (6) keeping that mate, and (7) caring for family.
One could imagine that a group of anthropologists and scientists sent off to study a previously uncontacted Amazon tribe today might be bound by similar strictures [not to reproduce with natives]. But suppose some of them disagreed? Suppose some of them "went native"--as used to be said of colonialists in the days of the British Empire who allowed themselves to get too close to indigenous populations they interacted with. Is that perhaps what happened to the troop of two hundred "Watchers" on Mount Hermon? Somewhere around 10,900 BC, did they break the commandments of their own culture and "go native" among the hunter-gatherers of the Near East? And were the first chance encounters with the fragments of a giant comet a century later in 10,800 BC--encounters that devastated the world--somehow blamed upon their moral lapse?
Both commensality, the act of eating together, and the sharing of food are powerful means by which human beings create, express, and solidify feelings of mutual trust, intimacy, and kinship.
I then tell myself that the result is pitiful but the struggle worth it because I looked at color and I looked at the night and the river like I never had before and saw what I take so for granted with new eyes. Is there any activity that so rewards failure? These are toads that become flowers.
In totalitarian anthropology man is not defined by thought, reason or judgment, because, according to it, the overwhelming majority of men lack just these very faculties. Besides, can one speak in terms of man altogether? Decidedly not. For totalitarian anthropology denies the existence of any human essence, single and common to all men. Between one man and "another man" the difference is not one of degree but of kind, says that anthropology. The old Greek definition of man, distinguishing him as the zoon logicon rests on an equivocation: there is no more necessary connection between reason and the word than there is between man, the reasoning animal, and man, the talking animal. For the talking animal is above all the credulous animal, and the credulous animal is by definition one who does not think. Thought, that is, reason, the ability to distinguish the true from the false, to make decisions and judgments—all this, according to totalitarian anthropology, is very rare. It is the concern of the elite, not of the mob. The mass of men are guided or, more accurately, acted upon, by instinct, passion, sentiments and resentment. The mass do not know how to think nor do they care to. They know only one thing: to obey and believe.
The inevitable result of any search for authenticity is that you always end up with something completely modern in intent, since the purpose of the performance lies in the present, not the past.
- Hai parlato con qualcuna di loro? La vecchia chinò il capo, quella Irani vedeva lontano, sarebbe stata la prossima Madre. Questo la rasserenò un poco. - Sì, ho parlato con una donna. - E cosa ti ha detto? - Le ho chiesto cosa fosse successo al suo popolo. «Ha dimenticato», mi ha risposto. «Ha dimenticato che la vita viene prima della morte, che le donne vengono prima degli uomini, che la natura viene prima ancora». Le ho chiesto da quanto tempo avesse dimenticato. «Alcune migliaia di anni», mi ha risposto. «Può la tua gente recuperare la memoria?» le ho chiesto. «Certo, quelli come me non l’hanno mai persa». «Perché non glielo insegni?». «Lo faccio, ma è difficile. L’abbiamo sempre fatto, ma è stato difficile. Tante donne, meno uomini. Siamo stati isolati, perseguitati, uccisi, bruciati, ma l’abbiamo fatto e continueremo a farlo». «Chi ha fatto perdere la memoria a tutta questa gente?». «La paura, la violenza, la pigrizia, l’abitudine. Ci furono uomini che hanno pensato di poter possedere altri uomini, anzi prima di tutto di poter possedere donne e bambini, e se li presero con la forza bruta. Gli altri protestarono ma finirono col subire. Persino le donne accettarono, non tutte ma la maggioranza. La storia è lunga ma vedi tu stessa come viviamo adesso». «State vivendo alla rovescia. Come fate a vivere alla rovescia?». «Con molta sofferenza, rincorrendo la felicità, cercando la gioia anche dove sembra ci sia solo dolore, affannosamente, sapendo in qualche modo che tutto potrebbe essere diverso». «La Dea ha permesso tutto ciò?». «Gli umani l’hanno permesso. La Dea è stata scelta dagli umani. Ora è pieno di Dei maschi». «Come andrà a finire?». «Ritroveremo la memoria, ma non basterà, dobbiamo inventare un nuovo modo di vivere». «Non è sufficiente rimettere semplicemente le cose a posto, come sono per il mio popolo?». Mi ha sorriso e ha scosso la testa. Poi mi sono svegliata.
The Greenland fjords are peculiar for the spells of completely quiet weather, when there is not enough wind to blow out a match and the water is like a sheet of glass. The kayak hunter must sit in his boat without stirring a finger so as not to scare the shy seals away. Actually, he can only move his eyes, as even the slightest move otherwise might mean game lost. The sun, low in the sky, sends a glare into his eyes, and the landscape around moves into the realm of the unreal. The reflex from the mirror-like water hypnotizes him, he seems to be unable to move, and all of a sudden it is as if he were floating in a bottomless void, sinking, sinking, and sinking.... Horror-stricken, he tries to stir, to cry out, but he cannot, he is completely paralyzed, he just falls and falls.
You are not Flesh & Blood – You are the Master of It” - Drø the Finder –
Belonging, after all, is a particular kind of relation, one that arises amidst subjective experiences of mutual connection.
What's it mean; are you determined To make modern all mankind? If so, you should be be-sermoned And brought back to healthy mind.
A geneticist is a geek who claims to have proven through regression analyses that a Neanderthal had sex with your great-grandmother 50,000 years ago.
J. M. Coetzee
Alle äußeren Feinde und Widerstände ermangelnd, eingesperrt in unterdrückende Enge und Ordnung, hat der Mensch schließlich keine andere Wahl, als sich selbst zu einem Abenteuer zu machen.
Thomas Henry Huxley
It appears now to be universally admitted that, before the exile, the Israelites had no belief in rewards and punishments after death, nor in anything similar to the Christian heaven and hell; but our story proves that it would be an error to suppose that they did not believe in the continuance of individual existence after death by a ghostly simulacrum of life. Nay, I think it would be very hard to produce conclusive evidence that they disbelieved in immortality; for I am not aware that there is anything to show that they thought the existence of the souls of the dead in Sheol ever came to an end. But they do not seem to have conceived that the condition of the souls in Sheol was in any way affected by their conduct in life. If there was immortality, there was no state of retribution in their theology. Samuel expects Saul and his sons to come to him in Sheol.
Freuchen tells how one day, after coming home hungry from an unsuccessful walrus-hunting expedition, he found one of the successful hunters dropping off several hundred pounds of meat. He thanked him profusely. The man objected indignantly: "Up in our country we are human!" said the hunter. "And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs. ... The refusal to calculate credits and debits can be found throughout the anthropological literature on egalitarian hunting societies. Rather than seeing himself as human because he could make economic calculations, the hunter insisted that being truly human meant refusing to make such calculations, refusing to measure or remember who had given what to whom, for the precise reason that doing so would inevitably create a world where we began "comparing power with power, measuring, calculating" and reducing each other to slaves or dogs through debt. It's not that he, like untold millions of similar egalitarian spirits throughout history, was unaware that humans have a propensity to calculate. If he wasn't aware of it, he could not have said what he did. Of course we have a propensity to calculate. We have all sorts of propensities. In any real-life situation, we have propensities that drive us in several different contradictory directions simultaneously. No one is more real than any other. The real question is which we take as the foundation of our humanity, and therefore, make the basis of our civilization.
When Jesus says to Simon, "Follow me," the response is a single act of faith and obedience; there is no gap between a mental action of believing and a bodily action of following. The human person is not a mind attached to a body but a single psychosomatic being.
The classical anthropological question, What is man?—"how like an angel, this quintessence of dust!"—is not now asked by anthropologists. Instead, they commence with a chapter on Physical Anthropology and then forget the whole topic and go on to Culture.
I am an anthropologist who lost faith in her own method, who stopped believing that observable activity defined anthropos.
In a real sense, the important question is never one of validity or truth. Truth exists in the realm of mathematics and in the philosophy of logic, not in perceptions of reality. For those who would understand the world about them, the question is not one of truth, but of utility. Do our investigations deepen our understanding, further our ability to ask more refined questions, and lead to better predictions of events? If so, then the research is justified. If not, it remains but sophistry.
All social interactions require some loss of freedom.
Globalisation creates a world where causes are remote form effects, and the connections between them are often hidden or obscure.
If we wanted home truths, we should have stayed at home.
[T]here are in fact no masses, but only ways of seeing people as masses.
It was a big mistake for me to take a degree in anthropology anyway, because I can't stand primitive people — they're so stupid.
And then the lights came on and suddenly it was all as usual - I don't mean really as usual, but we were ourselves again, not just - people in the dark. People in the dark are quite different, aren't they?
What is even more astonishing is that the entire science of wayfinding is based on dead reckoning. You only know where you are by knowing precisely where you have been and how you got to where you are.
For me, a bit of anthropology in the evening is always better than staying and watching the telly.
A bare two years after Vasco da Gama’s voyage a Portuguese fleet led by Pedro Alvarez Cabral arrived on the Malabar coast. Cabral delivered a letter from the king of Portugal to the Samudri (Samudra-raja or Sea-king), the Hindu ruler of the city-state of Calicut, demanding that he expel all Muslims from his kingdom as they were enemies of the ‘Holy Faith’. He met with a blank refusal; then afterwards the Samudra steadfastly maintained that Calicut had always been open to everyone who wished to trade there… During those early years the people who had traditionally participated in the Indian Ocean trade were taken completely by surprise. In all the centuries in which it had flourished and grown, no state or kings or ruling power had ever before tried to gain control of the Indian Ocean trade by force of arms. The territorial and dynastic ambitions that were pursued with such determination on land were generally not allowed to spill over into the sea. Within the Western historiographical record the unarmed character of the Indian Ocean trade is often represented as a lack, or failure, one that invited the intervention of Europe, with its increasing proficiency in war. When a defeat is as complete as was that of the trading cultures of the Indian Ocean, it is hard to allow the vanquished the dignity of nuances of choice and preference. Yet it is worth allowing for the possibility that the peaceful traditions of the oceanic trade may have been, in a quiet and inarticulate way, the product of a rare cultural choice — one that may have owed a great deal to the pacifist customs and beliefs of the Gujarati Jains and Vanias who played such an important part in it. At the time, at least one European was moved to bewilderment by the unfamiliar mores of the region; a response more honest perhaps than the trust in historical inevitability that has supplanted it since. ‘The heathen [of Gujarat]’, wrote Tomé Pires, early in the sixteenth century, ‘held that they must never kill anyone, nor must they have armed men in their company. If they were captured and [their captors] wanted to kill them all, they did not resist. This is the Gujarat law among the heathen.’ It was because of those singular traditions, perhaps, that the rulers of the Indian Ocean ports were utterly confounded by the demands and actions of the Portuguese. Having long been accustomed to the tradesmen’s rules of bargaining and compromise they tried time and time again to reach an understanding with the Europeans — only to discover, as one historian has put it, that the choice was ‘between resistance and submission; co-operation was not offered.’ Unable to compete in the Indian Ocean trade by purely commercial means, the Europeans were bent on taking control of it by aggression, pure and distilled, by unleashing violence on a scale unprecedented on those shores.
History and man made each other.
In many cultural contexts, shared emotion is a potent medium through which people come to feel connected and, over time, to see one another as kin.
I'm not an anthropology buff, but I've read enough of it to know that the Zuni don't think that their way is the way for everyone, and that the Navajo don't think their way is the way for everyone. Each of them has a way that works well for them.
Dreadful as all these processes may seem, they are only the resolution of certain carbon-based compounds into certain other carbon-based compounds. Carbon is the element of life and death. We share it with diamonds and dandelions, with kerosene an kelp. While we may wrinkle our noses at some of its manifestations, we ought also to remember that this element comes to us from the stars, which wheel over us forever in silent, glittering array, pure fires obeying celestial laws.
Respect is love in action.
These people know the reality and laugh at it. Such laughter has little concern with what is funny. It is often bitter and sometimes a little mad, for it is the laugh under the mask of tragedy, and also the laughter that masks tears. They are the same. It is the laughter of people who value love and friendship and plenty, who have lived with terror and death and hate." - , Return to Laughter (1954)
The soul is a mystery. Scientists and Theologians constantly butt heads on the soul’s definitive and can’t come to grips with its purpose and actual existence. Yet, the basic framework taught in a High School physics class helps with an explanation of the latter - the existence of the soul.
From a historical point of view, restricting the availability of addictive substances must be seen as a peculiarly perverse example of Calvinist dominator thought - a system in which the sinner is to be punished in this world by being transformed into an exploitable, of his cash, by the criminal/governmental combine that provides the addicitve substances. The image is more horrifying than that of the serpent that devours itself - it is once again the Dionysian image of the mother who devours her children, the image of a house divided against itself.
Cooking gave us not just the meal but also the occasion: the practice of eating together at an appointed time and place. This was something new under the sun, for the forager of raw food would have likely fed himself on the go and alone, like all the other animals. (Or, come to think of it, like the industrial eaters we've more recently become, grazing at gas stations and eating by ourselves whenever and wherever.) But sitting down to common meals, making eye contact, sharing food, and exercising self-restraint all served to civilize us.
Studying anthropology tends t change the way you look at the world. It leaves a distinctive chip in your brain, or lens over your eye. Your mind-set becomes instinctive: wherever you go to work, you start asking questions about how different elements of society interact, looks at the gap between rhetoric and reality, noting the concealed functions of rituals and symbols, and hunting out social silences. Anyone who has been immersed in anthropology is doomed to be an insider-outside for the rest of their life; they can never take anything entirely at face value, but are compelled to constantly ask: why?
I am not speaking strictly of slavery here, but of that process that dislodges people from the webs of mutual commitment, shared history, and collective responsibility that make them what they are, so as to make them exchangeable--that is, to make it possible to make them subject to the logic of debt. Slavery is just the logical end-point, the most extreme from of such disentanglement. But for that reason it provides us with a window on the process as a whole. What's more, owing to its historical role, slavery has shaped our basic assumptions and institutions in ways that we are no longer aware of and whose influence we would probably never wish to acknowledge if we were. If we have become a debt society, it is because the legacy of war, conquest, and slavery has never completely gone away. It's still there, lodged in our most intimate conceptions of honor, property, even freedom. It's just that we can no longer see that it's there.