Andaman Video Site


Young Andamanese

Commentary: " What we can learn from the Andaman Negritos"

By Yves Balmer

My wife, Connie, and I can no longer remember how or when it was, but most definitely ever since we first learned about the Andaman Natives from George Weber's website, we have not stopped thinking about them. They impressed us, touching us deeply. Theirs is a culture on the simplest technological level possible, which they have been able to maintain over thousands of years, sticking proudly to their way of life, uninfluenced by the achievements of modern civilization.

In my job as a psychologist, life advisor and professional counsellor for disabled people, I have often wondered to what extent our own culture is responsible for the ailments of modern man. Learning about the Andamanese culture has taught me that many of the problems that beset us today are purely self-made. A simple way of life also implies a simple mind, and the connotations of "simple" as I use it here is highly positive. In psycho-therapeutical processes, healing often involves following a road away from deviated complexity and moving towards sound simplicity. Though we are mostly unaware of it, the way our culture functions today depends on basic concepts that are supposedly the stuff of the human mind. The Andaman Negritos teach us that this is not so. Let us take, for instance, the notion of property, of hoarding or of trade. Without these fundamentals, no modern economy could exist. In the Andamanese culture, the notion of property is negligible and pertains only to certain basic personal requirements. The notion of hoarding is almost nonexistent, as is the notion of trade. The exchange of goods is a concept that does indeed exist in the Andaman culture, but it is not carried out in the usual manner that trade takes place in a market society, dominated by the idea of paying as little as possible for as much as possible. In Andamanese groups, the exchange of goods is more an exchange of gifts and works along completely different lines. The lack of any sense of property among the Andamanese is not limited to material goods but even extends as far as to include one's own progeny. Anyone who deals with child pathology will confirm how harmful the notion of property towards one's own children can be (including the projection on children of one's own unfulfilled ambitions). Giving offspring up for adoption is not a problem for the Andamanese, as in exchange, they may be able to acquire the children of another group! The Andamanese have solved the problems that stem from consanguinity in a radical and very creative way! continued>>>



The Negrito tribes of the Andaman Islands (click on picture)

Great Andamanese


The survival of the tribes is highly threatend by civilization






Andaman Islands




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