The Many Faces of Happiness; September / October 2011; Scientific American Mind; by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski; 6 Page(s)
Lankasana, a 23-year-old Maasai warrior, sports long, ochre-stained, braided hair extensions and carries a bow and arrow, a short sword and a steel-tipped spear. He spends his days raiding neighboring villages and protecting his own tribe from attacks by wild animals. For fun, he wrestles fellow tribesmen and practices his aim by tossing spears at tree trunks. Lankasana once killed a lion armed with only a sword, but not before the lion clawed his shoulders, leaving huge scars.
Living in remote villages in East Africa, the Maasai build simple homes out of mud, dung and sticks. These hunter-gatherers have no running water or electricity and minimal exposure to Western society and media. They engage in rituals that may seem unappealing to Westerners, such as adolescent circumcision, branding and bovine blood drinking.