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May 11, 2023Liked by David Livingstone Smith

Yes.. this is so vital to our understanding of human nature and how people cope with killing living things - and, ultimately how they cope with executing other humans when they feel that these are “not human”. When I was in the Kalahari, I eventually asked Ragai, a Kua “healer”, to tell stories - essentially origin myths - to the crowd assembled for a dinner in my camp. One of the stories he told was truly amazing as it contained elements of similar stories that Megan Biesele had collected almost a thousand miles away from San speaking other languages. These myths concerned the fate of wives in inter-species marriages, for example. In Ragai’s telling, it was “the buffalo wife” and Megan recorded it as “the elephant wife” but both stories seemed to emphasize the sacred circle of life that demanded reverence for the sacred kinship between living things, and stipulated a prayer of thanks for the role of the one killed - a prayer that indicated that the spirits of the killed and the killer would eventually be reunited in another dimension after death. My recounting his here: https://anthroecologycom.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/when-the-sacred-circle-is-broken/ and I also did it for a recording here at the evening seminar at the Anthropology department in the University College London: https://vimeo.com/703668006

Megan then was asked to do a followup talk, which was recorded too: https://vimeo.com/776639178

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