Anthropologist Montagu seeks to explicate the Greek text that to be human is to be a social animal. To do so he produces an...

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ON BEING HUMAN

Anthropologist Montagu seeks to explicate the Greek text that to be human is to be a social animal. To do so he produces an essay in the realm of ""social biology."" The earliest life was collective life, he informs us, and even the simplest biological organism must cooperate with its fellows to keep its species alive. Cells are necessarily social phenomena since they must band together and work in harmony if life is to be preserved. Most beasts roam together. Few range, solitary, haunted by a drive to make their own individual fortunes. The men who do, like tortured animals, are driven by the burr of a past without love. Citizens Kane, we must deduce, are unnatural creatures, working against the main drift of society. Montagu offers the results of studies of parentless or unwanted children to show how the drive for personal rather than social welfare has its roots in lovelessness. (All of his evidence appears to be sound.) Only by teaching to a new generation the importance of love in social relations can we keep our civilization from the abyss, Montagu concludes this odd, didactic piece. Somehow, perhaps by the force of his idealism, he overcomes the nagging quality of his suppositions to make his little book an ingratiating creation.

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hawthorn

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1966