11/1/07

Linton, Aryans and Aristocracy

Yogi said "you can see a lot by looking".  Yes, you can. 
I've been looking in a book.  I don't know why I didn't take anthropology in college, but I didn't.  And even if I did, I probably would not have noted the same things that i am taking note of now.
The book is "The Tree of Culture" by Ralph Linton, Vintage, 1958.  I bought it on Amazon.  The library didn't have a copy. 
I got hooked on this by reading a science fact article by L. Sprague de Camp "The Breeds of Man", Analog, April 1976.  Here is the paragraph:

"True. The late anthropologist Ralph Linton thought that certain Aryan attitudes had survived in the aristocratic code of medieval and baroque Europe.  He sited the European aristocrat's reverence for the military virtues, his casual attitude toward sex and religion, his fondness for hunting, fighting and gambling, and his contempt for honest toil.  In pre-Revolutionary France, a nobleman caught earning money by any means so shameful as trade or manual labor was held to have forfeited his rank."

Mr. de Camp goes on to doubt the connection between people of "noble" lineage and the Aryans of 1500 BCE. 

However, linkage or not, the fact remains regarding the life philosophy of people who hold themselves to be "noble" or otherwise in a higher social class.  Dr. Linton, and his wife who completed the book after his death in 1953, provides further details in the book.  They mention the love of horsemanship, for example.  An aristocratic person in Europe would rather have his morals impinged than his riding ability.  So when use of horses gave way to the automobile, there was a certain transference to the auto.  Hunting and sports were held highly, and this sort of thing continues. 
I read this material, and it rang the bell for me.  Because I am a very different sort of person than the aristocracy.  I don't think that honest labor is demeaning nor does it lower one's social status. I am oh-hum regarding all sorts of sports and hunting.  And one's car does not delineate one's social status.  Of course, I am wrong.  That is the eye-opener for me.  For a great many people, this aristocratic image holds.  Cars and sports and business killings are everything. 
That explains a lot.  For example, boyhood friends that made such a fuss over sports.  I just couldn't see the value.  But to them, their linkage to sports was not just for the games, although there was a lot of that, but it also proved their social standing to their peers.  To say that "look at me, I am important, I have sports memorabilia."  That is also why players are so important.  And in real life, the people who have this self-image are also the ones that tend to be the ones in control, in management, or owners. 
I have found myself now filtering my image of the world through this lens.  When I see a celebrity or government official on the news, I think of how this Aryan culture is affecting them in their actions or statements. This attitude is instilled in them from a very young age.  Linton explains how, until recently (1953 in his case) that the upper crust aristocracy, that attended the very best private schools like Eton, actually received a relatively poor education.  However, they were instilled with "character".  That is, they knew their rightful place in life and society.  They learned to be brave, and outwardly honest, at least to peers.  Of course they could lie through teeth to commoners.  They received instruction to have (according to Linton's description) a "...casual attitude toward sex and religion... fondness for hunting, fighting and gambling, and...contempt for honest toil..." is instilled.  By the word "character", they don't mean a Boy Scout.  

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