the Savage Mind

31 March 2016

the Savage Mind [la Pensée sauvage]
by Claude Lévi-Strauss

1 the Science of the Concrete

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There still exists among ourselves an activity which on the technical plane gives us quite a good understanding of what a science we prefer to call ‘prior’ rather than ‘primitive’, could have been on the plane of speculation. This is what is commonly called ‘bricolage’ in French. In its old sense the verb ‘bricoler’ applied to ball games and billiards, to hunting, shooting and riding. It was however, always used with reference to some extraneous movement: a ball rebounding, a dog straying or a horse swerving from its direct course to avoid an obstacle. And in our own time the ‘bricoleur’ is still someone who works with his hands and uses devious means compared to those of a craftsman.* The characteristic feature of mythical thought is that it expresses itself by means of a heterogeneous repertoire which, even if extensive, is nevertheless limited. It has to use this repertoire, however, whatever the task in hand, because it has nothing else at its disposal. Mythical thought is therefore a kind of intellectual ‘bricolage’ – which explains the relation which can be perceived between the two. Read the rest of this entry »


the Tribal Imagination

30 March 2016

Fox, Robin. The Tribal Imagination: Civilization an d the Savage Mind. Harvard University Press. Cambridge. 2011.

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Chapter One – Time out of Mind – Tribal Tempo and Civilized Temporality

Familiar Time

Our chronomyopia—our fixation on the present and familiar—leads us to overvalue the period of time we label “history” to the point of relegating more than 99 percent of human existence to “prehistory”—a mere run-up to the real thing. We casually refer to the beings inhabiting that huge percentage of time as “early man.” It would be more logical to label hominids up to, say, the invention of tools, as “past man,” those from thence until the Neolithic revolution as “present man,” and ourselves as “late man.” Whether there will be a “future man” remains an open question. The coming, significantly, of “post-historic man” has been forecast, and Francis Fukuyama, following Hegel, has announced The End of History and the Last Man, to quote his book title. … The “history” referred to is of course this blip at the end of human time—the last few thousand years of a very warm interglacial period, characterized by unusual population growth and frenetic socio-cultural activity in its later years. We shall never understand the significance of this blip until we understand that it is indeed a blip—a blink of the temporal cyclid—and not the Greenwich Mean Standard by which all human time must be judged. Read the rest of this entry »


Year 3 Wheel of the Year

20 March 2016

Wheel-of-the-Year


Year 3 Month 3

14 March 2016

y3m3


Year 3 Moon 3

9 March 2016

Y3L3