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The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? JDiamond (2012)

January 7, 2013

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“While social scientists can thus surely draw conclusions of academic interest from studies of traditional societies, all the rest of us may also be able to learn things of practical interest. Traditional societies in effect represent thousands of natural experiments in how to construct a human society. They have come up with thousands of solutions to human problems, solutions different from those adopted by our own WEIRD* modern societies. We shall see that some of those solutions — for instance, some of the ways in which traditional societies raise their children, treat their elderly, remain healthy, talk, spend their leisure time, and settle disputes — may strike you, as they do me, as superior to normal practices in the First World. Perhaps we could benefit by selectively adopting some of those traditional practices. Some of us already do so, with demonstrated benefits to our health and happiness. In some respects we moderns are misfits; our bodies and our practices now face conditions different from those under which they evolved, and to which they became adapted.

*Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (societies)”

[From the Prologue; via @PCMagalhaes]

Manuel J. Matos‘s insight:

Sounds very interesting, specially in line with my current bedtime reading (Antifragile, Taleb (2012))

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