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Ingenuity of the Inuit: The Tale of the 'S**t Knife' - Wade Davis

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Uploaded on Jan 26, 2010

Full video from the Long Now Foundation available at: http://fora.tv/2010/01/13/Wade_Davis_...

Wade Davis, author of The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World, contrasts Western perception of the Inuit as "savages" with the endless inventiveness he sees in their way of life. "The Inuit didn't fear the cold; they took advantage of it," he says.

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What does it mean to be human and alive?

The thousands of different cultures and languages on Earth have compellingly different answers to that question. "We are a wildly imaginative and creative species," declares Wade Davis, and then proves it with his accounts and photographs of humanity plumbing the soul of culture, of psyche, and of landscape.

The threat to cultures is often ideological, Davis notes, such as when Mao whispered in the ear of the Dalai Lama that "all religion is poison," set about destroying Tibetan culture.

The genius of culture is the ability to survive in impossible conditions, Davis concludes. We cannot afford to lose any of that variety of skills, because we are not only impoverished without it, we are vulnerable without it. - The Long Now Foundation

Edmund Wade Davis (born December 14, 1953) is a noted Canadian anthropologist, ethnobotanist, author and photographer whose work has focused on worldwide indigenous cultures, especially in North and South America and particularly involving the traditional uses and beliefs associated with psychoactive plants. Davis came to prominence with his 1985 best-selling book The Serpent and the Rainbow about the zombies of Haiti.

Davis has published popular articles in Outside, National Geographic, Fortune and Conde Nast Traveler.

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