Thursday, June 12, 2008
Ethnobotanist Wade Davis believes that the "Ethnosphere"-"the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness" is the greatest legacy of humanity. The renowned anthropologist revers the exquisite complexity and power of the customs and rituals of cultures worldwide, in the same way that an artist stands in awe over an impressive landscape. The human process is his art. For Davis, even language transcends - beyond vocabulary and grammatical rules language becomes "an old-growth forest of the mind."
His love for humanity and the unique nature of our origins is motivation for all his work. Davis serves on the councils of Ecotrust and other NGOs working to protect diversity. He also co-founded Cultures on the Edge, a quarterly online magazine designed to raise awareness of threatened communities. Perhaps his best-known work is The Serpent and the Rainbow, an international bestseller about zombification practices in Haiti. Wes Craven adapted the book into a 1988 film, which Davis denounced as a betrayal of the book's spirit. His latest book is The Clouded Leopard: A Book of Travels.
Here is an inspired and fascinating presentation on the "Worldwide Web of Ritual and Belief" courtesy of TED