One key difference between Leavers and Takers is that Leavers have never undergone what I called in The Story of B “The Great Forgetting.” What was forgotten in The Great Forgetting is that humans weren’t BORN agriculturalists and civilization-builders.
Leavers, by contrast, know this very well; as far as their knowledge goes, they have lived this way from the beginning of time. I must assume that the people of Loetschental were just as surprised as the rest of us were when it finally became clear in the nineteenth century that humans were not in fact born as agriculturalists and civilization-builders.
This being the case, I myself wouldn’t call them Leavers. But what counts is not what I call them (or what anyone calls them). What counts is that, if your information is to be relied on, they’ve evolved a healthy, balanced, admirable, and sustainable way of life that should stand as a model for all of us.
If they can do it (even though they were as much victims of The Great Forgetting as any of us), then there’s hope for the rest of us.
updated: 17 Oct 2003