GRE Reading Comprehension

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Throughout human history there have been many stringent taboos concerning watching other people eat or eating in the presence of others. There have been attempts to explain these taboos in terms of inappropriate social relationships either between those who are involved and those who are not simultaneously involved in the satisfaction of a bodily need, or between those already satiated and those who appear to be shamelessly gorging. Undoubtedly such elements exist in the taboos, but there is an additional element with a much more fundamental importance. In prehistoric times, when food was so precious and the on-lookers so hungry, not to offer half of the little food one had was unthinkable, since every glance was a plea for life. Further, during those times, people existed in nuclear or extended family groups, and the sharing of food was quite literally supporting one's family or, by extension, preserving one's self.

Question List: 1 2

If the argument in the passage is valid, taboos against eating in the presence of others who are not also eating would be likely in a society that

  • A had always had a limited supply of food
  • B emphasized the need to share worldly goods
  • C had a nomadic rather than an agricultural way of life

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