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Editorial: An unnatural situation

Noted anthropologist Margaret Mead was once asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student was expecting to hear Mead say something about a fish hook, grinding stone or some other tool.

But no. The first evidence, she said, was a human femur that had been broken and then healed. In the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get a drink of water or hunt for food. A broken femur that had healed is proof that someone stayed with that person, bound up the wound, and kept that person safe through recovery.

“Helping someone through difficulty is where civilization starts,” Mead said.

We now find ourselves in the midst of a most unnatural situation. We are being called upon to help each other through a difficult time by staying apart from one another. It goes against our innate instincts, against human nature. When someone is in need, we reach out to help. We give them a shoulder to lean on. ...

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