are (or at least, most of us are) individually primitive. I don’t
know how to make my clothes and shoes, how to gather food, how to
build a shelter. I buy paintings, I watch on TV how other people do
so many things and explore other worlds. Maybe ‘societally
disabled’ is more appropriate then ‘individually primitive’?
as we are upon modern technology, what may interest us most about
ancient Pacific Islanders is how they accomplished so much with so
little. We may call them ‘stone age’, for they had no metals. We
may call them ‘pre-literate’, for they had no alphabet. The
Arabic system of numbers and the invention of the wheel did not
reach them On islands without clays, the pottery skill of their
Proto-Polynesian ancestors was forgotten. Yet without much of what
we regard as essential to modern life, with only the meager material
resources of their environment, they explored Earth’s largest
ocean and progressed beyond mere survival to build a culture of
surprising affluence and complexity. [...]
spaceship was the voyaging canoe. Built with tools of stone, bone,
and shell, assembled with lashings of braided fiber, and powered by
sails of plaited matting, it was the finest product of any culture
that knew no metals.
Kane: Ancient Hawaii, Kawainui Press, 1998.