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Author Montagu, Ashley, 1905-

Title Man in process [electronic resource].

Published [New York] : New American Library, [1962, c1961]


Location Call No. Status
Physical description 278 p. ; 18 cm.
Series A Mentor Book
Summary "Anthropologist Ashley Montagu discusses man's rational nature--how it is inhibited by outmoded traditions, dangerous myths, and social illusions"--Cover.
"Man in process of evolution, of development, physically and culturally, constitutes an object lesson in the method of trial and error. He has established a mastery over nature which is unique in the three billion years of this earth's history. He has not, however, established anything like a comparable mastery over himself. This has been so often remarked in recent years that it has become something of a clichě. The danger of a truth too often repeated lies in the fact that it may become wearisome, a bore, something to avoid and evade. Like a hackneyed melody it palls upon the ear. The truth, like the melody, nevertheless lingers on. To learn to understand ourselves we need to pay more attention to the illuminating variety of ways in which human nature expresses itself in different societies. We need to do this in order to understand to what a major extent human nature is custom-made, tailored according to the specifications and requirements of a particular society. It is in this way alone possible to learn that what we so often take to be biologically determined differences in the expression of human nature are, in fact, only socially determined differences. It is important to arrive at a sound view of these matters in a rapidly shrinking world in which peoples who are just beginning to emerge from nonliterate tribalistic cultures are increasingly going to demand an equal role with other peoples in the government of world affairs and in their relations with other human beings. Human societies may roughly be divided into two kinds: those which attempt to solve the problems of real existence by absconding from them, and those which attempt to solve those problems by mastering them. As members of civilized societies we differ from the members of nonliterate--the so-called "primitive"--societies to the extent only that we have developed the ability to weigh the evidence critically for ourselves. This book is concerned with man's educability. It shows man in process--in process of learning to be a more rational human being. Is man innately a bestial creature? Shall war always be with us because man is innately warlike? Is man innately depraved, as our Victorian and earlier ancestors told us? Is man a cannibal? What is "race"? Do varieties of man differ from one another to such an extent as to render it necessary to deal with them differently as human beings? What are the facts? What are the fancies? What can a rational man believe? The chapters of this book are so designed as to cause the reader to rethink the foundations of some of his own most taken-for-granted beliefs. Finally, I am concerned with showing the reader how rational some of the seemingly irrational beliefs of nonliterate peoples are; that they are not as irrational as they may appear to be, but at least as rational as the majority of our own rational beliefs. The difference between the "savage" and ourselves is only skin deep. Mankind has yet some distance to travel before it achieves the fulfillment of genuine humanity. Perhaps these essays may clarify the way." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Reproduction Electronic reproduction. Washington, D.C. : American Psychological Association, 2005. Available via the World Wide Web. Access limited by licensing agreement. s2005 dcunns.
Other formats Also issued in print.
Subject Ethnology -- Addresses, essays, lectures.