Anthropological Musings.

Please Select Your Freedom

– You May Have Choice A or Choice B

Have you heard the story about the fish?

A woman cooked a fish for her family every week. The same recipe, handed down for generations. Her mother had cooked it the same way every week. And her mother before her.

It was a delicious recipe but one thing puzzled her husband. The fact that a great chunk of the fish – from the tail end – was always cut off and thrown away.

“That’s the recipe.” He was told. “That’s how its always been done. Mother taught me to follow grandmother’s recipe exactly.”

And that was correct. Generations of women had in fact cut a great chunk from the fish and thrown it away. That was the way. The women before them had done it like that. That was the recipe.

One day, they were having dinner with one of the wife’s great aunts. She also cooked the fish. But lo and behold, no great chunk was cut off!

When both husband and wife expressed their shocked surprise, the great aunt looked at them both like they were mad. “Why on earth would you waste a good chunk of fish?” She exclaimed. “My poor old Great Granny only did that becuase the blasted fish would never fit in her only baking pan!”

Monkey see. Monkey do. No disrespect to monkeys intended. But what if what you’re seeing and doing is nonsense?

Leonardo Da Vinci acknowledged that what we perceive as ‘external’ truth and fact actually originates in our own perceptions, through our own filters.

Claude Levi-Strauss, the Anthropologist observed that most of our perceptions are binary – good/bad, black/white etc.

We are usually most comfortable when surrounded by others with the same binary opinions.

Binary perceptions work very well for people in power, namely governments and religions. Think saints and sinners. But also think how democracy works – predefined choices, usually fairly similar. Please select your freedom – you may have Choice A or Choice B.

What do you think? Are you truly free? How do you define your own freedom?

S.S. Delaunay

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