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Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures Paperback – February 7, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
From the high Arctic, to the Amazon, to Africa, Tibet, Haiti, Peru and Sarawak, Davis turns his camera and his intelligence. In his travels, the sciences of ethnobotany and anthropology have served him well. As an explorer he takes in the whole glorious panoply of data about people and plants, medicine, language, landscapes, history, custom, and creation myths. He records it painstakingly. Then, he deftly makes sense of it. The motifs of an astonishing array of human cultures dazzle with colour and clarity. Intricate patterns of thought, belief, myth and tradition emerge. Davis calls this body of knowing the "ethnosphere."
The ethnosphere is about those peoples of the earth whose essential humanity has been defined by the landscapes in which they are nurtured. For these people of the ice, the forests, the river deltas, the jungle, the desert sands, and the high mountain plateaus, daily life is both a precise and a fully variant exercise of knowledge and understanding - a long-accumulated wisdom that this world stands much in need of.
"When asked the meaning of being human they respond with ten thousand different voices. It is within this diversity of knowledge and practice, of intuition and interpretation, of promise and hope, that we will all rediscover the enchantment of being what we are. . .Read more ›
From 25 years worth of photographing and traveling worldwide, Davis sees each language as showing how changing and endless are our imaginations. For example, the Micmac name trees by the sound the winds make in the branches, the hour after sunset, in the fall. Native peoples of the Amazon believe that each plant sings in a different key. They've found a way of grouping, by figuring out the keys from talking with the very plants! This works as well, for them, as what botanists have come up with.
Healers, taken from all non-industrialized parts of the world, get food and healing from 40,000 species of plants. This know-how is so great that healing has always meant power. But it wasn't always used kindly.
Healers in West African countries, around the Equator, made sure their patients kept whatever laws were supposed to be followed. They used all their know-how to make rule-breakers take deathly amounts of plants. And to think that I had thought this hardly ever happened, other than the famous cases of the deathly drinks that were forced on Socrates and Tchaikovsky.
But this killing style is still around today, not too far away from the industrialized world, in Haiti. There, sorcerors give outcasts tetrodotoxin. It's a nerve poison in the skin and organs of the tetraodontiformes order of sea fishes. A pin-head size of the poison kills. Sorcerors give enough to make the outcast look dead.Read more ›
Never has the eye of the beholder held more meaning. As I gaze into the depth of his photos and ride with the resonance of his images, I am transported around the globe, immersed into the past and the future of our world. " Light at the Edge of the World " is Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and Rudyard Kipling all wrapped into one epic poem.
Even Herodotus would be provoked to wonder with envy at the worlds Wade Davis illuminates. T.E. Lawrence would ride into the desert night with adventurous hunger over this new book " Light at the Edge of the World " is a living treasure of our deepest and most cherished understandings of humanity, the stewardship of the planet, and a visionary quest for poetic diversity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This writer is amazing and also a poet. You will love his books.Published 3 months ago by E. Baskin
I was introduced to Wade Davis and his work through his colossus Into the Silence, and went looking for more. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Patrick Warczak, Jr
Wade Davis is an amazing intellectual. This book argues that all cultures are relevant and that modern ones are not "better", just different. Read morePublished 15 months ago by S. Katz
A little beat up, but I did know it would be used when I bought it.Published 17 months ago by Norma