Historical Events

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Stefansson marvels at the morality of the Dolphin and Union Straits Eskimo and concludes the morality of the Golden Rule came from evolution instead of a religion.

May 15, 1910

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My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 12

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Pre-civilization races
Religion
Evolution
Eskimo

May 15, 1910, was the third day after our discovery of the Dolphin and Union Straits Eskimo. For two days they had entertained us with warm hospitality, and had already grounded firmly in my mind the impression which a year of further association with them was destined to do nothing to weaken —that they are the equals of the best of our own race in good breeding, kindness, and the substantial virtues. They were men and women of the Stone Age truly, but they differed little from you or me or from the men and women who are our friends and families. The qualities which we call “Christian virtues” (and which the Buddhists no doubt call “ Buddhist virtues”) they had in all their essentials. They are not at all what a theorist might have supposed the people of the Stone Age to be, but the people of the Stone Age probably were what these their present-day representatives are: men with standards of honor, men with friends and families, men in love with their wives, gentle to their children, and considerate of the feelings and welfare of others. If we can reason at all from the present to the past, we can feel sure that the hand of evolution had written the Golden Rule in the hearts of the contemporaries of the mammoth millenniums before the Pyramids were built. At least, that is what I think. I have lived with these so-called primitive people until “savages” and all the kindred terms have lost the vivid meanings they had when I was younger and got all my ideas at second-hand; but the turning blank of this picturesque part of my vocabulary has been made up to me by a new realization of the fact that human nature is the same not only the world over, but also the ages through .