Gary Snyder on attention, awareness, stillness…

…our earlier ways of self-support, our earlier traditions of life prior to agriculture, required literally thousands of years of great attention and awareness, and long hours of stillness.  And anthropologist, William Laughlin, has written a useful article on hunting as education for children. His first point is to ask why primitive hunters didn’t have better tools than they did. The bow of the American Indians didn’t draw more than forty pounds; it looked like a toy. The technology was really very simple – piddling! They did lots of other things extremely well, like building houses forty feet in diameter, raising big totem poles, making very fine boats. Why, then, does there seem to be a weakness in their hunting technology? The answer is simple: they didn’t hunt with tools, they hunted with their minds.

– – – Gary Snyder,  The Real Work,  p.107   (interview w/ Peter Barry Chowka,  summer 1977,  East West Journal )

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