Would you giggle as Grandma fell off the cliff and met a cruel fate as she skimmed along the mountain side during her descent? Would you wake up early in the morning to survey the water pools near your residence in search of leopard tracks so that you knew where to leave your starving infant the next night?
The renowned anthropologist Colin Turnbull didn’t think he would either. But then he got to know the Mountain People. And when he did, he became aware of circumstances totally outside his prior moral frames.
Could you kill your child? Are you sure? The October 19, 2014 New York Magazine has a chilling account of a family experience far outside your and my experience, or at least I hope so. The result was attempted murder. As you try to put yourself in the mother’s place, you start to wonder about the range of behavior of which we are each capable.
Brutal circumstances are hardly neutral in shaping norms.