October 27, 2014

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“Self-Interest As We Know It Is A Loss Of Humanity:” Marshall Sahlins

“Natural self-interest? For the greater part of humanity, self-interest as we know it is unnatural in the normative sense: it is considered madness, witchcraft or some such grounds for ostracism, execution or at least therapy. Rather than expressing a pre-social human nature, such avarice is generally taken for a loss of humanity. It puts in abeyance the mutual relationships of being that define a human existence. Yet if the self, the body, experience, pleasure, pain, agency and intentionality, even death itself are transpersonal relationships in so many societies, and in all likelihood through so many eons of human history, it follows that the Western concept of man’s self-regarding animal nature is an illusion of world-anthropological proportions.”

Sahlins, Marshall. The Western Illusion Of Human Nature. Prickly Paradigm Press, Chicago: 2008.

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