Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World from Wade Davis, Canadian anthropologist and ethnobotanist.
"Cultures at the far edge of the world" (YT) and "The worldwide web of belief and ritual" (YT). Two TED talks by anthropologist and explorer Wade Davis (previously) on the diversity of the world's indigenous cultures and their beliefs, and the richness of the "Ethnosphere," which he describes as "the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness." [Via Mind Hacks]
Wade Davis, on "Death and life in the Ethnosphere - The Naked Geography Of Hope" : "In Haiti, a Vodoun priestess responds to the rhythm of drums and, taken by the spirit, handles burning embers with impunity. In the Amazon, a Waorani hunter detects the scent of animal urine at forty paces and identifies the species that deposited it....On an escarpment in the high Arctic, Inuit elders fuse myth with landscape, interpreting the past in the shadow of clouds cast upon ice.....Just to know that such cultures exist is to remember that the human imagination is vast, fluid, infinite in its capacity for social and spiritual invention." The death of the Ethnosphere was Margaret Meade's great concern up to her death, says Harvard ethnobotanist Wade Davis of Serpent and the Rainbow fame and student of Richard Evans Schultes, founder of Ethnobotany : "The surprising results obtained from treating psychoactive plants allowed their users to communicate more directly with the unseen world which they believed to exist." Davis coined the concept of the "Ethnosphere" and has worked for it's preservation through Cultural Survival