Claude dit:

The truth of the matter is that the principle underlying a classification can never be postulated in advance. It can only be discovered a posteriori by ethnographic investigation, that is, by experience.

The Savage Mind 58

Moreover, the “ethnographer cannot interpret myths and rites correctly, even if the interpretation is a structural one … without an exact identification of the plants and animals which are referred to or of such of their remains as are directly used.” (p. 46)

One thought on “Claude dit:

  1. It is also important to explore substitutions. For example, the proper way to dot the eyes of an idol and bring the god to life requires blood from the comb of a white cock. In the absence of the cock, cinnabar ink dissolved in alcohol may be used instead, said my Daoist master. Red and _yang_ are, it appears, the essential distinctive features. The prototypical white cock, however, adds numerous additional associations: male, crowing to greet the rising sun, taking the place of the phoenix, the mythical bird associated with the South, the direction of fire, where _yang_ reaches its apogee in the diurnal cycle.

    The lesson here is, once again, the importance of what Rex calls connoisseurship to analysis of symbols, in ads, I would add, as well as in rituals. Obsessive, geeky concern with detail is the very heart of the art. Without it, analysis spins off into vacuous generalities.

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