Man's Way: A Preface to the Understanding of Human Society

Man's Way: A Preface to the Understanding of Human Society

Man's Way: A Preface to the Understanding of Human Society

Man's Way: A Preface to the Understanding of Human Society

Excerpt

MAN'S WAY examines both the manner in which men live and the route that man has traversed through time. The dual meaning of the title is intentional, illustrating in a single phrase the central theme of this book. In order to understand man's cultural development, one must also understand the way he lives, and in order to understand his ways, one must know the road he has traveled.

Man's way, in the first sense, is to live in a society of fellow men, according to established custom. Man's commitment to social existence has consequences, and in this book we set forth the general features of all societies. While custom -- culture, in modern anthropological parlance -- sets down the details of proper social behavior in any one time and place, custom is itself shaped by these requirements of social life.

Man's way, in the second sense, has been an evolutionary development involving the greater and greater mastery of the physical world. This has enabled him not only to spread into all quarters of the globe, but also to increase in numbers and to live in ever larger aggregates. This, in turn, has created new and different problems in the organization of society, and has required different ways of living.

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