Over a hundred years ago, Marcel Mauss devoted his teaching to the Inuit, namely those of Canada, then still hunters and gatherers, animists and semi-nomadic, for whom the dualist cycle of the seasons shaped the social, economic and moral life. He spoke of these people as representing a form of ‘primitive communism’. This nineteenth century utopia fascinated him and provided a counter-model for the rise of individualism and capitalism which dominate the world today, including the Inuit, since the West now has a hold on their bodies (through medicine), their minds (education), their spirituality (through conversion to Christianity and the rejection of shamanism) and their natural resources. Face with the risk of the disintegration of this people (suicide of youths, addiction problems...) and that of its values, this article proposes to invert our gaze and show how Inuit cosmology and thought, far from being irrational, are in fact intuitively and empirically in tune with recent discoveries in neurosciences and astrophysics. The West should inspire itself from their worldview in order to rethink its own societal problems.
Bernard Saladin d’Anglure
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