My experiences as an American and my training as a cultural anthropologist have led me to one conclusion: People suck. It’s become custom among modern anthropologists to emphasize cultural relativism and downplay dogma-based assessments of morality and worthiness, but let’s face it: People suck. Human beings are notoriously selfish, overpreoccuppied with their own immortality, stuck in their heads to the point of complete exclusion from physical reality, and kill each other not for reasons of survival, competition over mates (usually), or food, but because of beliefs in abstractions.
So why study anthropology? Because it explains so much of human behavior, which, let’s face it, is usually perplexing even to the most open-minded and compassionate individual. Americans in particular are subject to perhaps the most damning of questions, “Who are we?” simply on account of our multiethnic history and our unprecedented reliance on technology and digital personas. So can honest self-exploration of our human flaws help us break free? That is the purpose of this blog. More to come….
The study of anthropology enables us to understand why people treat us the way they do, what we can do to be better, and what we can do to improve the world. Anthropology is, after all, in part, the pitting of neurosis against guilt. It is necessary for self-understanding, to understand the cultural sources of our behavior and the scope of our behavior in the grand scheme of human activity (hint: we tend to believe it’s more than we say it is).