Homo, that is.


Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Continue reading “Sapiens”


the Globalisation of Addiction

a Study in Poverty of the Spirit.


the Globalisation of Addiction – a Study in Poverty of the Spirit by Bruce K. Alexander

Part I – Roots of Addiction in Free-market Society

Chapter 1 – Vancouver as Prototype

Despite enourmous efforts, the same great institutions of modernity could not, and still cannot, prevent alcoholism and other forms of addiction from growing and spreading. Neither legal prohibition, moral medicine, scientific medicine, psychoanalysis, Alcoholics Anonymous, counselling, compassionate love, tough love, behavioural managment, acupuncture, case management, therapeutic communities, civil commitment, eastern meditation, behavioural genetics, neuroscience, sophisticated advertising, antagonist drugs, psychedelic drugs, motivational interviewing, community reinforcement, treatment matching, harm reduction, nor any combination of these techniques has come close to overcoming alcoholism or any other type of addiction. Continue reading “the Globalisation of Addiction”

the Savage Mind

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

1 the Science of the Concrete

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. Continue reading “the Savage Mind”

the Tribal Imagination

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


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. Continue reading “the Tribal Imagination”