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The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (2009)

by Wade Davis

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4081248,623 (3.98)5
Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? In The Wayfinders, renowned anthropologist, winner of the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures. In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true lost civilization, the Peoples of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the earth really is alive, while in Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive. Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.… (more)
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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A really lovely reflection on what indigenous cultures have to offer Western civilization. ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Oct 2, 2021 |
Very convincing argument for elevating the pre-modern cultures. The first half or so dealing Polynesians gives light to what remarkable skills they developed, and how Orientalist treated what they couldn't understand.

It doesn't shy away from what we may find troubling in some practices in ancient traditions, and why we may want to not always jump to "fixing" it. ( )
  raheelahmad | Mar 22, 2020 |
A bit meandering, but full of interesting stories about people and cultures from out-of-the-way places. ( )
  richardSprague | Mar 22, 2020 |
Big and deep, too much for one reading. I think I need to buy this one. (Got it out of the library - always my first choice) ( )
  ChrisNewton | Mar 18, 2016 |
i found these essays fascinating and informative and appreciated that davis' speaking style translated well into print. ( )
  JooniperD | Oct 16, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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For David Maybury-Lewis
1929-2007
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One of the intense pleasure of travel is the opportunity to live amongst peoples who have not forgotten the old ways, who still feel their past in the wind, touch it in stones polished by rain, taste it in the bitter leaves of plants.
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Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? In The Wayfinders, renowned anthropologist, winner of the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures. In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true lost civilization, the Peoples of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the earth really is alive, while in Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive. Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.

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