Citações Claude Lévi-Strauss

„I hate travelling and explorers.“

—  Claude Lévi-Strauss
Context: I hate travelling and explorers. Yet here I am proposing to tell the story of my expeditions. But how long it has taken me to make up my mind to do so! It is now fifteen years since I left Brazil for the last time and all during this period I have often planned to undertake the present work but on each occasion a sort of shame and repugnance prevented me from making a start. Why, I asked myself, should I give a detailed account of so many trivial circumstances and insignificant happenings? Adventure has no place in the anthropologists profession; it is merely one of those unavoidable drawbacks, which detract from his effective work through the incidental loss of weeks or months; there are hours of inaction when the informant is not available; periods of hunger, exhaustion, sickness perhaps; and always the thousand and one dreary tasks which eat away the days to no purpose and reduce dangerous living in the heart of the virgin forest to an imitation of military service … The fact that so much effort and expenditure has to be wasted on reaching the object of our studies bestows no value on that aspect of our profession, and should be seen rather as its negative side. The truths which we seek so far afield only become valid when we have separated them from this dross. Ch. 1 : Setting Out, p. 17

„The truths which we seek so far afield only become valid when we have separated them from this dross.“

—  Claude Lévi-Strauss
Context: I hate travelling and explorers. Yet here I am proposing to tell the story of my expeditions. But how long it has taken me to make up my mind to do so! It is now fifteen years since I left Brazil for the last time and all during this period I have often planned to undertake the present work but on each occasion a sort of shame and repugnance prevented me from making a start. Why, I asked myself, should I give a detailed account of so many trivial circumstances and insignificant happenings? Adventure has no place in the anthropologists profession; it is merely one of those unavoidable drawbacks, which detract from his effective work through the incidental loss of weeks or months; there are hours of inaction when the informant is not available; periods of hunger, exhaustion, sickness perhaps; and always the thousand and one dreary tasks which eat away the days to no purpose and reduce dangerous living in the heart of the virgin forest to an imitation of military service … The fact that so much effort and expenditure has to be wasted on reaching the object of our studies bestows no value on that aspect of our profession, and should be seen rather as its negative side. The truths which we seek so far afield only become valid when we have separated them from this dross. Ch. 1 : Setting Out, p. 17

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„The first thing we see as we travel round the world is our own filth, thrown into the face of mankind.“

—  Claude Lévi-Strauss
Context: The order and harmony of the Western world, its most famous achievement, and a laboratory in which structures of a complexity as yet unknown are being fashioned, demand the elimination of a prodigious mass of noxious by-products which now contaminate the globe. The first thing we see as we travel round the world is our own filth, thrown into the face of mankind. Chapter 4 : The Quest for Power, p. 38

„While I complain of being able to glimpse no more than the shadow of the past, I may be insensitive to reality as it is taking shape at this very moment, since I have not reached the stage of development at which I would be capable of perceiving it.“

—  Claude Lévi-Strauss
Context: While I complain of being able to glimpse no more than the shadow of the past, I may be insensitive to reality as it is taking shape at this very moment, since I have not reached the stage of development at which I would be capable of perceiving it. A few hundred years hence, in this same place, another traveller, as despairing as myself, will mourn the disappearance of what I might have seen, but failed to see. Chapter 4 : The Quest for Power, p. 43

„The entire village left the next day in about thirty canoes, leaving us alone with the women and children in the abandoned houses. [Le village entier partit le lendemain dans une trentaine de pirogues, nous laissant seuls avec les femmes et les enfants dans les maisons abandonnées.]“

—  Claude Lévi-Strauss
Notes in an early work, often cited as an extreme example of androcentrism, even among leading anthropologists, " Contribution à l'étude de l'organisation sociale des Indiens Bororo http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/jsa_0037-9174_1936_num_28_2_1942?_Prescripts_Search_tabs1=standard&" (1936) p. 283

„We can understand, too, that natural species are chosen not because they are ""good to eat"" but because they are ""good to think.“

—  Claude Lévi-Strauss
Totemism (1962), [Le Totémisme aujourd'hui, as translated by Rodney Needham], p. 89 Often paraphrased as ""Animals are good to think with"".

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