Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908 - 2009)

“The world began without the human race and will certainly end without it. What else has man done except blithely break down billions of structures and reduce them to a state in which they are no longer capable of integration?”

- Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes tropiques (1955)

On the one hand it would seem that in the course of a myth anything is likely to happen. […] But on the other hand, this apparent arbitrariness is belied by the astounding similarity between myths collected in widely different regions. Therefore the problem: If the content of myth is contingent [i.e., arbitrary], how are we to explain the fact that myths throughout the world are so similar?

- Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology

Claude Lévi-Strauss was a giant of modern thought (a bit about Structuralism). He died today at the age of 100. Here's a roundup of some of the better obits I could find.

N.Y. Times


Washington Post

Le Monde (french)