Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Gerold Firl (
15 Aug 1996 00:56:29 GMT

In article <>, Shannon Adams <> writes:

|> Gerold Firl wrote:

|> > And lets look at a clear example of how a misunderstanding of the
|> > physical world leads to an erroneous belief about the spiritual domain:
|> > our old friend disease.
|> >
|> > In cultures which are ignorant of microbes, disease is commonly thought
|> > of as the work of malignant spirits. This is a fairly reasonable
|> > hypothesis for people who are ignorant of microscopy, but it's wrong.
|> > Smallpox was caused by a virus, not witchcraft or the will of god, and
|> > while vaccination has eradicated smallpox, all the praying in the world
|> > hasn't helped one bit.

|> But the important question for many people is not HOW the person became sick
|> (because of the spread of a virsus) but WHY that specific person became sick.
|> Evans-Pritchard is a good source for this arguement

If I recall correctly, E-P argued that the evil spirit school of
medicine operated as a social safety valve, where the calamity of
disease allowed people to air their grievences and settle their
differences. This is useful, but only in conditions where disease is a
comparitively rare occurance, and poses no real threat. Compare to the
situation of the old world epidemics among the amerinds, where suddenly
disease was cutting down huge numbers of people; now the spirits are
telling you that they want to get you out of the way, to make room for
the newcomers. This is not a healthy attitude. It actually worsened an
already bad situation. Not only were the indians fighting alien peoples
and their microbial allies, they were also contending with a belief
structure which sapped their will to resist.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf