The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

A Healthy Human Being

Ashley Montagu (1905–99) was a British-American anthropologist. Seventy-five years ago, he published Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race.  The most recent 1997 edition remains in print. Apart from COVID-19, much of the world is debating issues of race, gender, identity and human development.

For Montagu, a healthy human being requires much more than satisfaction of physiological needs in childhood.

Here are some of the things he thinks contributes to a sense of fulfilment:

The need for love; friendship; sensitivity; the need to think soundly; the need to know; the need to learn; the need to work; the need to organise; curiosity; a sense of wonder; playfulness; imagination; creativity; flexibility; experimental-mindedness; resilience; a sense of humour; joyfulness; laughter and tears; optimism; honesty and trust; a desire to explore; compassionate intelligence; dance and song.

It is a large basket of hope and of vision and if we can pass some of these things onto our children, I think we have done well as parents.  

But I cannot help thinking of the millions of children in our world who are fortunate if they can have even one meal a day and/or fresh water. What is their future? And what about the millions of children in the affluent world who for one reason or another are nowhere near most of these visionary hopes?