Saturday, April 7, 2012

Selective memory

According to Hobbes, life in a state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Modern anthropology and archaeology have entirely debunked the Hobbesian account of “primitive” human existence. None of his five adjectives have even remote application to foraging lifestyles past or present.

What is interesting to me is that most people only remember the last three: nasty, brutish and short. And I wonder whether that’s because the first two are too easy to apply to life within the alienating embrace of civilization.

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