Tristes Tropiques

Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes and Bruce Chatwin

As mentioned elsewhere here, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the countryside in Virginia, at the family home where most of my books are kept. This library, consisting of books read between high school and my life in Tokyo, which spanned 1998-2003.
One of my deepest pleasures of the last year has come from opening the storage boxes filled with books and tucking into familiar old titles. This weekend, I read large chunks of these three, each very different, but all of them favorites. A very brief excerpt from Lévi-Strauss follows. I’ll return to the other two titles in a future comment.
“Freedom is neither a legal invention nor a philosophical conquest, the cherished possession of civilizations more valid than others because they alone have been able to create or preserve it. It is the outcome of an objective relationship between the individual and the space he occupies, between the consumer and the resources at his disposal. And it is far from certain that an abundance of resources can make up for a lack of space, and that a rich but overpopulated society is in danger of being poisoned by its own density, like those flour parasites which manage to kill each other at a distance by their toxins, even before their food supply runs out.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *