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The myriad voices of humanity are not failed attempts at being us; they’re unique answers to that fundamental question: what does it mean to be human and alive?  ~ Wade Davis

When it comes to worldviews, there is perhaps no better perspective than that of Wade Davis, a pioneer in the world of anthropology, not to mention an ethnobotanist, National Geographic photographer and best-selling author of The Serpent and the Rainbow. Davis has seen more of this world and experienced more of its cultures than most of us could ever hope to.

In this 19-minute TED talk, he discusses the relationship between belief, ritual and humanity, using examples from around the world, each with a message that we can intimately connect with and apply to our daily lives. These concepts are the very foundations of anthropology. Davis sees the value of individuals and cultures as they are, not clouded by the ethnocentric filters of science and capitalism. If all marginalized and Indigenous groups were viewed in this manner, we would be living in a very different world.

“You’re living through a time when virtually half of humanity’s intellectual, social and spiritual legacy is being allowed to slip away,” he says in this talk. “These are dynamic, living peoples being driven out of existence by identifiable forces. That’s actually an optimistic observation because it suggests that if human beings are the agents of cultural destruction, we can also be, and must be, the facilitators of cultural survival.”

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