Davor Rostuhar: “The Jungle”



During a four year period, the author lead seven expeditions to the most secluded jungles of the world. He discovered a previously unknown cave in Guatemala that contains archeological remains from the Mayan civilization. On two of his expeditions along the Bolivian part of the Amazon River, he stepped foot into impenetrable regions of the jungle, where he followed tracks of the jaguar and leads for the search of the mythical Toromona tribe. During four expeditions to New Guinea he penetrated into unexplored regions of Terra Incognita, where he searched for the unknown Wolani tribe and observed cultural changes in the Yali tribe, who have just recently been contacted by civilization. In his last expedition into the wilderness of New Guinea, the author discovered and spent time with the Banggatung, an absolutely authentic clan who still live as Stone Age hunters and gatherers, far from any contact with outside civilization whatsoever.

These exciting adventures and discoveries are enriched with numerous facts from ethnology, anthropology, geography of the unknown, history of discoveries, as well as philosophy, religion and ecology. Nevertheless, this all serves as just a framework for another deeper, introspective search. By diving deeper into his thoughts and revealing the veils of his own illusions, the author searches for universal answers to the questions asked by all travelers. By noting the myths of the primitive tribes he meets in his journeys, the author finds answers to dilemmas burdening societies and cultures throughout the world.

Mythology is actually the underlying realm of the book 'The Jungle'. For the theoretical aspect the author consulted with psychoanalysts and renowned scientists, including Joseph Campbell, Mirce Eliade, and Karen Armstrong. Through reference to their works, myths are explained to the readers as manifestations of a society’s collective unconscious, just like dreams are manifestations of an individual’s unconscious. Their content is irrelevant in comparison to the importance of their structure and symbolism. Just as a skilled psychoanalyst can read what bothers a person on the basis of symbolism in that person’s dreams, a skilled explorer can read the symbols from a culture’s myths and discover what problems bother the society that has created these myths. And not only that! Since the structures of myths are the same in all societies, their messages reveal universal trans-cultural human values.

Nowhere else in the world is the mythical world view as strong and alive as it is among those several hunting and gathering societies still thriving in the twenty first century, virtually in isolation from modern society. The author finds an example of such a society among the Banggatung clan, and in their myths he finds answers to questions presented throughout the book; questions concerning man's destiny, existential questions we continuously ask ourselves.

'The Jungle' contains 150 000 words and 225 authentic photographs.