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[xmca] primitive language, primitive thought

It appears that the God of Serendipity has intervened in recent discussions
of cultural difference,
primitivism, etc.

For reasons extraneous to this discussion, I have been reading *Mutiny on
the Bounty*. The crew has made it to Tahiti and the young narrator who is
there officially to write a dictionary for purposes of facilitating future
trade, is put under the guardianship of one of the Tahitian nobility,
Hitihiti. The narrator, eager learner that he is, makes the following
observation concerning his host.

"Hitihiti spoke the Tahitian language as only a chief could, for the lower
order, as in other lands, possessed
vocabularies of no more than a few hundred words. He was interested in my
work and of infinite use to me, thought, as with all his countryman, mental
effort fatigued him if sustained for more than an hour or two."

Its as if the authors writing in the 1920's were encaptulating the late
19th century armchair anthropologists.

That this kind of thinking persists to the present day as the everyday
ideology of European Americans strikes me as significant.


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