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The single most important human insight to be gained from this way of comparing societies is perhaps the realization that everything could have been different in our own society – that the way we live is only one among innumerable ways of life which humans have adopted. If we glance sideways and backwards, we will quickly discover that modern society, with its many possibilities and seducing offers, its dizzying complexity and its impressive technological advances, is a way of life which has not been tried out for long. Perhaps, psychologically speaking, we have just left the cave: in terms of the history of our species, we have but spent a moment in modern societies. (..) Anthropology may not provide the answer to the question of the meaning of life, but at least it can tell us that there are many ways in which to make a life meaningful.

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