By Laurens van der Post
Publish yr note: First released in 1976
Presented jointly now for the 1st time, Laurens van der Post's amassed writings will demonstrate as by no means sooner than the fullness of his perceptive, clever and remarkably constant imaginative and prescient. In them all his proposal has been that of an adventurous pioneer exploring not only the outward features of a turbulent and bothered international yet, at a deeper point, the styles and paradoxes of human lifestyles, the myths and desires of the human brain, the values and cultures of other peoples, the elusive springs of our personal humans.
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Extra resources for A Mantis Carol
An old woman partly supported by her dead husband’s savings, partly by the earnings of two grown-up daughters, is raking out and cleaning her stove. Then the door is opened, the dust is thrown down the dust-shoot [sic], and a conversation is very audibly carried on by two female voices. Among other topics, is the favourite one of Mrs. ’s laziness in the morning—though Mrs. B. knows perfectly well that Mrs. A. has been up late at work, having indeed repeatedly complained of the noise of the sewing-machine at night, and though Mrs.
1 It is all very tidy and rational. Just what human life is not. The Person A–Person B models might make sense if the behavior to be explained is a telephone conversation between two colleagues who are attempting to consummate an important business deal under the pressure of time. But in more natural circumstances—like those in which our species evolved—the sender and receiver can see and hear each other, and they are frequently not alone. In many species, individuals live close to each other, and to their predators and prey.
We will see some interesting gender differences, to be sure, but these are not at all like those addressed in the other kinds of books. They are less obvious, and they run deeper. I have also worried that that an author who uses the word “eavesdropping” will be expected to deal with electronic surveillance of the type we associate with the FBI and criminal investigation. But where social eavesdropping is concerned, these sleuths are rank amateurs. They may know how to put a “bug” in a potted palm or hack into your personal computer but ordinary humans know how to tell when a friend is behaving unusually, an acquaintance is reluctant to share something, or a stranger is up to no good.
A Mantis Carol by Laurens van der Post