The Value of Limitations

“Among the San Bushmen of southern Africa…the hunt for game with poison-tipped arrows depends on moving rapidly across the veld, first to approach the quarry then to follow for several days as the poison does its work. When men become too old to participate in the hunt, they become the makers of arrows- and tradition ascribes to the arrow maker the primary credit for the kill…Similarly, only when women are too old for childbearing are they permitted to become shamanic healers, a translation of the love and care they have given their children to the health of the wider community. In both cases, an appropriately limited effort is recognized as having a profound value.”

-Mary Catherine Bateson in Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom, p 16


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