I think every once in a while, we need to revisit the Noble Savage myth linked to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (though it is now said that Rousseau never actually used the term, just discussed the idea). The idea is an underlying fairy tale that can screw up one’s view of history as well as get one killed when making future plans for a vacation.
It seems we all have made the embedded idea of how virtuous and noble the detached savage was and it. We concocted this.
In short, the generic Noble Savage Theory – “in literature, is an idealized concept of uncivilized man, who symbolizes the innate goodness of one not exposed to the corrupting influences of civilization.” says Britannica.
So, let’s pick one. Tarzan. Raised in the jungle by apes. He has the value system of a old, trained zen master. Let’s pick another, the whole American Indian/one-with-nature-hippy-thingy. A popular theme in the hippy days of the 60s and 70s. I was always struck by the related “peacenik” artwork back than. “If we could could just live in peace like the Native Americans, man.” Peace? Ever really study this subject?
Peace? A real, unbiased study of indigenous peoples of any country will uncover a lot of mass murder, torture, ambush and theft, and a whole scale of violent acts that the educated zen masters would not do. How many people did the Incas sacrifice? Not just adults but Children too? Accidentally land on a South Pacific Island? Dude, you are lunch. When the local resources were scavenged? They moved on.
If you will read “The Better Angles of our Nature” by Pinker (and it’s BIG) you can see the S..L..O..W development of mankind on a better path of nobility.
How many times does this noble savage theme appear in novels, comics, TV and movies?