Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Year of Darwin 6/3/2014: Living in harmony in Tahiti

 Charles Darwin
"After leaving the Galapagos, that land of Craters, we enjoyed the prospect, which some people are pleased to term sublime, of the boundless ocean for five and twenty entire days. At Tahiti, we staid 10 days, & admired all the charms of this almost classical Island. -The kind simple manners of the half civilized natives are in harmony with the wild, & beautiful scenery." Charles Darwin, letter to sister Caroline, December 1835

I'll have to dig to find more letters from the Galapagos. I know there's an online Darwin correspondence project but there's something about books that I prefer. Maybe it's the feeling of moving forward you get as you page through and not the perfunctory skimming feeling of the internet. 

So he's off to Tahiti where the natives are in harmony. I'm wondering if there has ever been a culture that hasn't transformed the land or over exploited the resources. Even in the Pacific islands, we know the natives killed off scores of endemic organisms. So it goes. 

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