The Other Side of Eden
Hunters, Farmers and the Shaping of the WorldBook - 2000
Part memoir, part adventure story, part intellectual voyage, The Other Side of Eden begins in the High Arctic of the 1970s. This was where Hugh Brody first lived with hunting peoples and where, as he explains, he first encountered a way of being that would transform how he saw the world. In this marvellous new book, Brody's travels take him through exquisite landscapes of ice and snow with companions who know the land as a part of themselves. He also travels through time and space as he explores the divide between hunters and farmers that lies at the core of human history.
Shaped with a compelling mix of order and intuition, The Other Side of Eden draws on the author's personal experience, on the words of the hunter-gatherers he comes to know and on the work of linguists, anthropologists and historians. Why did the farmer triumph over the hunter-gatherer? He seeks and finds the answer in a variety of places, among them the book of Genesis, the great Biblical creation myth at the centre of the agriculturalist view of the world.
Finally, Brody poses questions about the mind itself, arriving at a compelling and profoundly hopeful conclusion. Something exists, he suggests, that is neither heaven nor hell, neither modern nor ancient, neither civilized nor primitive: a place within each of us where we can be beyond the dichotomies and ultimately more fully ourselves.
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Hugh Brody lives with and studies hunter-gatherer peoples of North-America and makes comparisons between theirs' and agrarian cultures and attempts to draw conclusions as to how society has developed as a result of these two societies divergences and common ground and to determine our society's future. Drawing on unique experiences with different peoples from groups and tribes right here in Canada Brody discusses his feelings and the history of these peoples. Brody has played an important role in Aboriginal Rights and in shaping governmental opinion and policy.
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"To move around with safety, to hunt with success, to make the land's resources available and nourishing, the hunter works with a mass of details and the names of many, many places. Nothing could be better, for there could be no alternative: to know this particular territory is to prosper; neither the land nor the knowledge of the land can be replaced. A territory is made perfect by knowledge. Inugu was revealing his profound conviction that this was his only imaginable home." (35)
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