Saturday, August 16, 2008

What We Say and What We Do

Here are two quotes that I think sum up the difference between how we civilized folks live our lives compared to how people from indigenous cultures live their lives.

“Religion is in reality of living. Our religion is not what we profess or what we say or what we proclaim. Our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think, all these things, 24-hours a day. One’s religion then is ones life and not merely the ideal of life, but the life that’s actually lived.” Jack Forbes

"Our moral syntax has no predicate. Hence we speak of doing good, good for its own sake, or evil. We convert each to a pure substantive, beyond experience, abstract. That is what [anthropologist] Paul Radin meant when he observed that the subject (or object) to which love, remorse, sorrow, may be directed is regarded as secondary in our civilization. All have the rank of virtues as such: they are manifestations of God's if not of Man's way. But among primitives . . . the converse holds. Morality is behavior, values are not detached, not substantives; the good, the true, the beautiful or rather, the ideas of these things, do not exist. Therefore, one does not fall in love, one loves another; and that is an intricately learned experience, as hate, in a certain sense, also is." Stanley Diamond

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