Navigation Menu
The Tribes of the Amazon Have No Sense of Time

The Tribes of the Amazon Have No Sense of Time

By on Jul 15, 2020 in Blog |

It has not been known for a long time about people living in the depths of the Amazon jungle. Travelers and residents of the area kept seeing the shimmering figures among the old trees, but those who were ready to find out the secret did not return.

In the 1960s, the search finally succeeded and a tribe that still is living in the Stone Age was discovered. Some research has shown that these people have no linguistic structures to express time and space, as a result, they are living just in the present moment. How is it possible in today world?

Nothing but The Present

Research shows that people of the Amondawa tribe understand something that happened at a certain time, but do not have any separate verbal linguistic structures to say it. While this is a contentious issue, further research has shown that this is common to many other Amazon tribes.

The Amondawa tribe first encountered the outside world in 1986. The researchers of Portsmouth and Federal universities in Brazil have begun to analyze the concept of time in Amondawa speech. Research has shown that these tribes can talk about events or sequences of events, but the whole flow of events is perceived quite differently.

In their speech, they lack the understanding of time as a separate phenomenon, they associate time only with one or another event. These people do not count the years, but every year a person is given a new name or other status in the tribe, as a result, these changes mark the age of a person. But the strangest thing is that the tribe does not recognize any relationship between time and space. There is no such thing as “yesterday” or “future” in the Amondawa tribe. However, when people of this tribe learn to speak Portuguese, they have no problem saying and understanding the concept of time also their number system is limited.

General Terms

However, some linguistic experts disagree with such findings and claim that tribal people are aware of the relationship between space and time. Small tribes like Amondawa use general terms to describe time or space in term of describing some important events. The Amondawa tribe does not want to limit itself in any particular time or space. Expressions such as “in water”, “downstream”, “upstream” are appropriate for a particular description. In this way, Amondawa understands that time passes and space changes.

Rules of Life

There is no leader in the tribe, and a leader is elected only when there is a problem. When it is resolved, everyone becomes equal again. Usually, families of the Amazon tribes are monogamous, but when the gender balance is disturbed, one woman can live with several men and vice versa. The locals do not see much difference between the physical and spiritual worlds. According to the locals, the dead are waiting for a meeting with a giant anaconda, and only those who lived righteously and honestly will avoid the bite. It is believed that shamans can become jaguars, so these animals are never hunted.

Rules of Life
Rules of Life