“A Great Arc” of Possibilities

  • Alwyn Scott


In June of 1883, a fledgling German physicist sailed from Hamburg to spend a year on Baffin Island, between mainland Canada and Greenland. The purpose of his trip was to live with the native people and study their relationship to the surrounding geography. During the year, he came face to face with the subject of this chapter: the nature of a cultural configuration, and upon his return, he wrote:

After a long and intimate intercourse with the Eskimo, it was with feelings of sorrow and regret that I parted from my Arctic friends. I had seen that they enjoyed life, and a hard life, as we do; that nature is beautiful to them; that feelings of friendship also root in the Eskimo heart; that, although the character of their life is so rude as compared to civilized life, the Eskimo is a man as we are; that his feelings, his virtues and his shortcomings are based in human nature, like ours. (quoted in Herskovits, 1953)


Modern Life Complex Culture Burgess Shale Glottal Stop Human Flesh 
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© Springer-Verlag New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alwyn Scott

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