On Nov. 1, Wade Davis, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society spoke to students and staff during the Tanner Forum on Social Ethics in the Grand Theatre at Salt Lake Community College.
Davis is an ethnographer, photographer, writer and filmmaker for National Geographic. His lecture was on “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in a Modern World.” Davis showed images of photographs that he took on his journeys to accompany his lecture.
“Anthropology never calls for the elimination of judgment,” said Davis. “Anthropology simply calls for the suspension of judgment.”
Davis said that the cultures of the world make up a web that creates an ethno sphere and that this ethno sphere is “humanities great legacy”.
Davis spoke about the Buddhist, Polynesians, the Anaconda and other cultures from the Amazon, the Andes and the Inca, Haiti and the Caribbean and about the Voodoo in Africa.
Davis shared that there are Industrial intrusions, such as a bulldozer taking out a forest versus men with darts and spears defending their forest home. He also shared that there are Ideological intrusions, such as cultures telling others that they are less intelligent because they don’t have the same interpretation of life.
“Storytelling can really change the world”
Davis said that science has proved by DNA that all humans are traced to a single ancestral history from Africa and how mankind are all brothers and sisters in the way that they all share the same ancestry and therefore the same capacity for intellectual knowledge.
According to Davis the difference between each person is simply the way in which each culture has chosen to apply that capability, some by storytelling and memory and some by science and record keeping.
“Storytelling can really change the world,” said Davis. “Change is one person. Change is storytelling.”
A book signing concluded the event. Davis is the author of 13 books, with two more to be released in the next year. He is the recipient of many awards and was recently given the David Fairchild Medal which recognizes achievements botany exploration.
Funded by the O.C. Tanner Company, the Tanner Forum on Social Ethics brings world renowned guests to SLCC to speak on important topics regarding social ethics within the community.