Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908–2009)

What makes a steel ax superior to a stone ax is not that the first one is better made than the second. They are equally well made, but steel is quite different from stone. In the same way we may be able to show that the same logical processes operate in myth as in science, and that man has always been thinking equally well; the improvement lies, not in an alleged progress of man’s mind, but in the discovery of new areas to which it may apply its unchanged and unchanging powers.

Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908–2009), “The Structural Study of Myth” (1955)
Claude Lévi-Strauss, 100, Father of Modern Anthropology, Dies (New York Times)

comments: 4

Crayons said...

Hi Michael,
I was reading along thinking what a clever writer and thinker you are, only to discover that it was the great and brilliant Claude Levi-Strauss. Oh well, you still are a clever writer and thinker.

Michael Leddy said...

Well, thanks. I thought the post title was a giveaway, but maybe I should try to figure out how to put a text box around block quotations. [A pause to think realistically.] Or maybe not.

Matt Thomas said...

This reminded me of Alan Kay’s great line “Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.”

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Matt, and thanks for the link. Wikiquote has a page of Alan Kay’s observations. I like this one: “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.”