A Feral Boy Proves Pain, Fear are a Learned Myth
I wrote about feral children in an earlier blog. Feral children are children who have been abandoned in a natural setting, usually a forest, who somehow manage to survive without adult protection, communication with human beings, or shelter. One of the children I researched was a little boy named Victor who spent the first 12 years of his life abandoned in a woods near Averyon in France. Victor was found wandering the woods near Saint-Sernin-sur-Rance, in 1797 and was captured but he managed to escape until January 8, 1800, when he simply left the woods and returned to the village. His lack of speech, as well as his food preferences and the numerous scars on his body, indicated he had been in the wild for the majority of his life. Of course the child soon became the subject of scientific interest: a philosophy during the Enlightenment Age was of the noble savage. Some believed a person, existing in nature, would be “gentle, innocent, a lover of solitude, ignorant of evil and incapable of causing intentional harm.” watch Victor of Aveyron
Victor didn’t display human emotion, nor did he seem inclined to socialize with anyone. He was unable to bond with other human beings and he appeared oblivious to this fact. While Victor did not learn to speak language, it seems that Victor did make progress in his behavior towards other people, demonstrating familiarity and some empathy. He was also accustomed to cold and when he went outside in the snow, Victor threw off his clothes, and started playing, rolling around in the snow, and running nude. Our perception of cold and warmth is mostly based on the experiences we have and the knowledge we are taught, so it seems that Victor was used to cold weather and spent his life outside.
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