thank you ness
from peter freuchen’s book of the eskimo:
He thanked him. The man objected indignantly: “Up in our country we are human!” said the hunter. “And since we are human we help each other. We don’t like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs.
huge.. thank you ness
the last line is something of an anthropological classic.. and similar statement about the refusal to calculate credits/debits can be found throughout the anthropological lit on egalitarian hunting societies..
Rather than seeing himself as human because he could make economic calculations, the hunter insisted that being truly human meant refusing to make such calculations, refusing to measure or remember who had given what to whom, for the precise reason that doing so would inevitably create a world where we began “comparing power with power, measuring, calculating” and reducing each other to slaves or dogs through debt.
it’s not the he, like untold millions of similar egalitarian spirits throughout history, was unaware that humans have a propensity to calculate.. if he wasn’t aware of it, he could not have said what he did.. of course we have a propensity to calculate
we have all sorts of propensities.. that drive us in several diff contradictory direction simultaneously.. no one is more real than any other.. the real question is which we take as the foundation of our humanity and therefore, make the basis of our civilization
ie: hunter took offense when author tired to thank him .. after all.. humans help one another.. and once we treat something as a gift.. we turn into something less than human
gift here does not mean something given freely not mutual aid that we can ordinarily expect human beings to provide to one another . to thank someone suggests that he or she might not have acted that way , and that therefore the choice to act this way creates an obligation, a sense of debt – and hence, inferiority.
13\ not clear what language this was said in, considering that inuit did not actually have an institution of slavery.. it’s also interesting because the passage would not make sense unless there sere some contexts in which gift exchange did operate, and therefore , debs accrued.. what the hunter is emphasizing is that it was felt important that this logic did not extend to the basic means of human existence, such as food..
red flags we’re doing it/life wrong