Protestos Iranianos contra Hassan Rouhani link
The myth of the noble savage had emerged from the accounts of the first French explorers of the Pacific, but in reality the South Seas were full of discord. At the time of Cook’s first expedition, Tahiti and its neighbours were in turmoil as the cult of ‘Oro spread from its temple on the island of Ra’eatea. There, bodies were used as rollers under the keels of sacred canoes and Captain Cook himselfvisited a coral pyramid where human bones crunched beneath his feet. Again and again he came across cannibals, although he was generous enough to note that their habit appeared ‘to come from custom and not from a Savage disposission’.
Savagery, inborn or through custom, began soon after people arrived in the Pacific. Two millennia ago it took just a few centuries for the first migrants to Mangaia in the Cook Islands to consume the local wildlife. In time they were reduced to eating rats (as the islanders still say, ‘It’s as sweet as a rat’). Then they began to devour each other. On Mangaia’s six square miles lived half a dozen tribes, who fought, fought and fought again, With evidence of forty-two separate wars over fifteen hundred years. Rousseau would not have approved.
Evolution Darwin’s ‘doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms’ is cruel, but can give the impression of being kind. Many creatures do appear to indulge in mutual aid.
CORAL: A Pessimist in Paradise Steve Jones