The Wayfinders – Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

Just because people don’t have the written word, or machines of destruction, doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything to offer the world.  This is the lesson I learned while reading a fascinating book call The Wayfinders by Wade Davis.

Anthropologist Wade Davis has traveled the world and lived with many of its indigenous peoples.  He has chronicled their wisdom, their spirituality, and the diversity of the human spirit as they navigate the changing landscape in a world where progress is more important than living in harmony with nature.  To continue on the path we have set ourselves is to poison the world with toxins that will eventually mean the destruction of everyone.  But perhaps being a diverse species we will be able to find the answer that will save our world before it is too late.  I think that if we are to survive we need to find a way to learn from these indigenous peoples what is really important for our survival.  We need to be respectful of all cultures, pool our knowledge instead of competing with each other or overthrowing those we see as weak or lesser than ourselves, and learn live in harmony with nature.

In today’s technological landscape it seems we have drifted further and further away from each other and from our connection to nature.  While technology is a wonderful thing, it isn’t the only answer.

Imagine if you will how the Polynesians managed to travel across vast oceans in search of land without a compass or any of our current technology.   They used the stars to guide them. But the stars are in constant motion, so it was also necessary to study the weather, the waves, and the location any type of birds, in order to get a bearing.  To do this the navigator had to stay awake for twenty-two hours of the day because at every moment he/she was calculating all of this information and making adjustments in their heading.

And what about the Inuit?  Have you ever noticed that while traveling by dog sled, one foot is always in contact with the snow?  This is to help him find his way.  He is in touch with nature.  But much of his world is slowly melting.  Without the ice and snow, their culture slowly dies in much the same way many cultures have died or been systematically destroyed for the good of progress.

In reading this book I have come to appreciate that there many another ways of looking at and living in this world we call home.  As North Americans we think we have the greatest country in the world and in many ways we do.  But it isn’t the only way to live or think or be.  By reading this book you will learn that there are many so called primitive people who carry the wisdom of the ages and that is something we can all learn from.

Categories: Book Talk, Uncategorized

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