Anthropology

dictionary with letter A

Anthropology: (n) the comparative study of human societies and cultures

There is an abiding, if not persistent, inclination to believe that intelligence invokes individuality.

In other words, because the human race possesses greater brain power than, let’s say, the duck, we are segregated into a multitude of clumps that not only differentiate us from one another, creating chasms of separation, sprouting suspicion.

Anthropology would do a great service to humankind if it pursued the premise that we are much more like the duck. No one sits around and discusses how ducks from the south are different from ducks from the north. (Maybe it’s because they fly south for the winter and north for the summer. Of course, most of our aging human population has similar travel plans.)

It is ironic to me that a scientific community which fastidiously places us within the animal kingdom as brother and sister to our jungle family suddenly decides to separate us from that kingdom when it comes to matters of race and culture.

Is it possible that we would be better off if we punctuated our similarities instead of showcasing our differences?

  • For instance, does someone born in Siberia who is transplanted right after birth to Southern California still prefer to wear parkas?
  • Would a native of Africa, born in the Serengeti, if translated to London-town, constantly find him or herself pining to hunt with a spear?

Can we really continue to take the attributes that are engrained and nearly beaten into us by our families and pretend that they’re a part of our natural desire?

Very few people ever consider the personality profile of an individual chimpanzee. Yet in some sort of “Homo sapien silliness,” we think that each and every one of us is a snowflake falling from the heavens, with our own particular jagged edges.

Yes, I believe anthropology would provide a salvation to humans if the science explained how much we share in common.

We would certainly be more like the duck, and realize that our particular quack … is not that special. 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

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