Sunday, December 5, 2010

Aimless Reading: The L's, Part 13.1 (Claude Lévi-Strauss)


Totemism
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Lévi-Strauss, Claude
Totemism


Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books, I think. There's a part of me the has a vague, very vague memory, of having purchased this at St. Mark's Books.

Anyhow, I bought it while I was in my Freud phase in 1999. I had just finished reading Totem and Taboo and I thought to myself that this was the obvious follow-up.

Apparently, I made it to page 58 or 59. My book mark is still there. Actually, it is not a book mark it is a movie stub. I went to a $4.75 matinee showing of "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" at noon on June 6, 1999. It played in Auditorium 14.

I'll bet I went alone. I spent almost that whole summer alone -- going to movies, taking walks over to LaSalle park and going to the gym. I would sit on a bench at the park looking out on Lake Erie, at just the point it feeds into the Niagara River, and I would read Freud and Nietszche. I did this every day. all summer. I hardly spoke to anyone. I was depressed, I think.

Yes, I'd say I was.

from page 58 of Totemism:

The problem is therefore doubly turned upside down: totemism is no longer a cultural phenomenon but "the result of natural conditions." By its origin and its manifestations it belongs to biology and psychology, not to anthropology. The question is no longer to know why totemism exists where it existis, and in different forms the observation, description and analysis of which offer no more than a secondary interest. The only question which presents itself--but does it?--is to understand why it does not exist everywhere...

Let us be careful not to imagine that totemism has vanished like a cloud at the tap of a fairy wand--

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