“Just to know that Jaguar shamans still journey beyond the Milky Way, that the myths of the Inuit elders still resonate with meaning, that the Tibetan pilgrim still pursues the breath of the Buddha, is to remember the central revelation of anthropology, and that is the realization that our particular cultural world does not exist in some absolute sense, but rather is simply one model of reality; the consequence of one set of adaptive choices that our particular intellectual and spiritual lineage made, albeit successfully, many generations ago. The Penan in the forests of Borneo, the Vodoun acolytes in Haiti, the Tuareg nomads in the searing sands of the Sahara - all these peoples reveal that there are other options, other means of interpreting existence, other ways of being. This is an idea that can only inspire hope.
Together the myriad cultures of the world make up an intellectual and spiritual web of life, an "ethnosphere" if you will, that envelops and insulates the planet. You might think of the ethnosphere as the sum total of all thoughts, beliefs, myths, and intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of conciousness. The ethnosphere is humanity's greatest legacy. It is the product of our dreams, the embodiment of our hopes, the symbol of all that we are and all that we have created as a wildly inquisitive and astonishingly adaptive species.”