nil.enroll(aetheric_username, quantum_class_id) (adric) wrote,
nil.enroll(aetheric_username, quantum_class_id)

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Anth, 11 Mar 2002

exam II handed back: multiple guess + essay + bonus = grade

start in on Belief Systems

Functions of Belief Systems:

  1. Answer big questions:

    • origins of men and beasts, world(s)

    • how to live

    • What happens when we die? Where does sickness come from?

    • Middle Ages Europe: authority [Catholic] Church

    • Modern Western society: and scientists

    • functions not isolated to any single institution

  2. Define world view:

    • How people view other aspects of the natural world?

    • Christian: man is to dominate the other living things

    • Native Americans: man in partnership, cohabitant with other life

    • domination idea begins with domestication of crops and animals, alteration of land (damming rivers)

    • hunter-gatherers more likely to support equality of all living things

  3. Provide means of dealing with the metaphysical:

    • metaphysical: existence beyond the physical world

    • heaven, soul, in west: supernatural, paranormal

    • westerners divide physical from metaphysical

    • many other cultures do not acknowledge a division

    • many cultures see a dual aspect to illness

    • epileptics and schizoprenics as shamans...

    • no taboo against mental illness in traditional societies

  4. Provide means of exercising control:

    • rituals ( *shudder* parallelism to Reciprocality M0)

    • ..Mayan civilization deserted when rituals failed to end droughts over several years

  5. Provide common set of values and promote social cohesion:

    • traditional cultures: rules come from family, kinship

    • Western: rules from Biblical tradition

How do these functions intertwine?

Link 3 (metaphysical) and 5 (values):
If the aunts and uncles don't get you, the gods will


  • part time specialist (as opposed to full time specialists)

  • compensated by family only for success

  • intermediary with spirit world

  • ritual generalist:

    • blessings for newborn

    • bless new house

    • rituals for success in war

    • tremendous knowledge of [local] botany, pharmacology

  • trance:

    • self-torture

    • hypnotic rhythms: (rapid pattern demonstrated 7 beats/second)

    • enforced sleep deprevation

    • (slit drum and rattle)

    • some shamans use hallucinogens in ritual

    • descriptions of rituals performed under trance (piercing, hot coals, etc)
    • video: Amazonian (Yanomami? ) shaman

      • in the center of the village with all present

      • tree bark (1/350 plants used), hallucinegic seeds

      • use blowpipe, inhaled into nostrils

      • channels ..

      • drew out evil spirit from sick woman into himself

      • detected tracks of enemy shaman

      • channels rainbow daemon, delivers diagnosis

      • disease spirit is driven into shaman

      • hopefully his powers and assistants will help him through

  • shamans are called: survivors of disease, dreamers

  • use of spirit helpers

  • may assume different forms

review Haiti, Baseball, body rituals, skip aborigines for now

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