In this chapter, the author discusses how structuralism became the perfect machine for seeking the truth of social life. It fit well with his previous training in linguistics. If you plugged in carefully collected sociocultural data—kinship and marriage practices, the symbolic array of non-Western art, and structural patterning of myths—the machine spat out universal principles that transcended culturally specific data. Once isolated through structuralist analysis, these pristine principles took us many steps closer to a systematic understanding of ritual symbolism. On a broader plain, this promised to give us a better understanding of the processes of human cognition and, by extension, a deeper comprehension of the human condition.
Keywords: structuralism, anthropologists, truth, social life, kinship, marriage, ritual symbolism, human cognition, human condition