Even in civilized communities, the embryo man passes through the hunter stage of development.

What did Henry David Thoreau mean by:

Even in civilized communities, the embryo man passes through the hunter stage of development.


This quote by Henry David Thoreau suggests that even in the most sophisticated and advanced societies, individuals still go through a primitive or ‘hunter’ stage of development. The ‘hunter’ stage is a metaphor for a phase of life where one is primarily focused on survival, competition, and personal gain, much like early humans who had to hunt to survive.

Thoreau’s statement is a reflection on human nature and our evolutionary roots. Despite our societal advancements and cultural sophistication, we still carry within us the primal instincts of our ancestors. This ‘hunter’ stage is not necessarily a negative phase. It is a time of learning, exploration, and self-discovery. It can shape our resilience, resourcefulness, and tenacity.

In today’s world, this ‘hunter’ stage can be seen in various aspects. For instance, in the corporate world, individuals often start their careers in a competitive environment, hunting for opportunities, striving to outperform others, and seeking personal advancement. Similarly, in the realm of personal development, one might go through a phase of intense self-focus and individual growth before reaching a stage of maturity where the focus shifts to collaboration, empathy, and collective progress.

Furthermore, this ‘hunter’ stage is not strictly linear or confined to early stages of life or career. Individuals may oscillate between this ‘hunter’ stage and more collaborative stages throughout their lives, depending on their circumstances or personal growth trajectory.

In conclusion, Thoreau’s quote is a reminder of our primal instincts and the evolutionary journey of mankind. It underscores the importance of acknowledging this ‘hunter’ stage as a part of our development, both at an individual and societal level. It prompts us to consider how we can navigate this stage with awareness and intention, using it as a stepping stone towards growth and maturity.

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