March 28, 2012

"It’s not simply a brutal killing. This act of violence at the heart of it is really sacrifice of a very striking kind."

After violent murder and mutiliation, they "then drink the juices the decomposing body releases, after which they retrieve parts of the body to kill their next victims."

60 comments:

rcommal said...

On the face if it, sounds like a metaphor for mob psychology. Very current events, if you ask me.

Scott M said...
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vet66 said...

Interesting that Jim Jones succumbed to his own brand of shamanism in the massacre of his flock at Jonestown in 2003. A different take on consuming your victims putrefaction, Jones couldn't wait so he substitued kool-aide. Wonder what Rousseau would say about man's natural state?

Scott M said...

While the other two qualifications involve charming and healing, the Kanaimas are known for violently killing and mutilating their victims. They then drink the juices the decomposing body releases, after which they retrieve parts of the body to kill their next victims.

The term Kanaima represents the practice itself and the people who use it. They do not choose their victims at random, but stalk victims who they view as threatening for years at a time.

Whitehead explained that Kanaima and other kinds of shamanism are spiritual and political systems, like Christianity, through which people deal with their world.


Like Christianity? Tenuous link at best? A back door setup into explaining Islamic jihadism? I wasn't aware that Christianity was a political system.

Given that Christianity is currently the most violent religion in the world, with it's billion-plus membership constantly and vocally strident in their support of acts of violence to further their sect, I can see where he makes the connection.

purplepenquin said...

Or not-as-current events as well. Some people seem to forget that our county was founded on terrorism and violent revolution.

Speaking of...lots of folks say that they can no longer support teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc, simply because of the "violent" way some of 'em have been protesting at the Capitol. Would it then be logical to think that those same people would have been Tories during the Revolutionary War? After all the Sons of Liberty did a lot more than just chant slogans and hold up signs.

Keep in mind that the actual Boston Tea Party caused far more property damage than the protesters did at the State Capitol...safe to assume that today's Tea Party members (if they were around at the time) would have looked at the events of Dec 16 1773 and decided they were siding with England because of those actions?

gerry said...

He didn't want to diminish the "culural power" of the ritual killings, so to prevent that he recognized that power as "real."

Now that we know Margaret Mead was largely a fraud, and that she published research that conveyed not the truth, but what she wanted to be true - I am suspicious of anthropods who become what they study, rather than observers of what they study.

He was awfully young. There's a Stephen King novel in here, somewhere.

bagoh20 said...

Is there anything vile in the world that college professors do NOT associate with Christianity? Talk about blinded by your own reference group. I doubt that either the Kanaima or Christians see the connection he did, unless they are professors too.

gerry said...

Perfessor - your liberal harpies have become crazy.

Robert Cook said...

Scott M and Bagoh20, don't be so parochial. He's not suggesting Christianity is similar to Kanaima in its particular practices, but in that these are all overarching belief systems that shape the way in which the believers perceive and make sense of the world. They see portents and meaning in the places and events around them according to the frame of reference and mythology of their respective belief systems.

traditionalguy said...

The offering of a human sacrifice to propitiate spiritual powers is as old as mankind itself.

The Priest of that god is authorized offer the human sacrifice. The fluids/blood are evidence of the death of the sacificed human soul and make claims to powers over nature and other tribes.

Ann Coulter sees abortion as that human sacrifice that empowers the priests in the Progressives Church.

We are approaching Easter week at our meek and mild PCUSA church where we will celebrate the offering of a God-Man's body and blood as a substitute for us to propitiate his Father's wrath towards our depravity. We see Easter morning resurection as the proof that The Father accepts us as justified children by Jesus's sacrifice of Himself for us being accepted.

And that stuff still works.

Historically the Reformed Christianity used to ridicule Catholics over their doctrine of real body and real blood drinking done at every Mass, but we are not far removed from basing our faith on exactly that.

bagoh20 said...

Cook, That's perfect. I wish I wrote that instead. You make my point much better. Thanks.

You obviously are much more educated than I.

wyo sis said...

Is it sacrifice if you are killed against your will? Or is the sacrifice in the drinking of the fluids? In any case nothing could be further from Christianity. What one person calls religion another calls culture. They are not the same thing.

Scott M said...

RC

Don't be so parochial. I wasn't suggesting he was was linking Kanaima an Christian practices. I was sarcastically making the point that there is a very real, tangible example of a major religion, other than Christianity, whose adherents DO support violence as a means to both religious and political ends. No mention of that religion, though. Why?

Robert Cook said...

I doubt I'm better educated than you bagoh20, but perhaps I just try to read more for what's actually being said, and less to find something at which to take affront.

bagoh20 said...

Look at that carpenter working with with hammer. He reminds me of that guy who brutally murdered his family with a hammer.

Genius

bagoh20 said...

Cook, I just asked a question: Is there anything vile in the world that professors somewhere are not associating with Christianity, and teaching that association?

Care to take a stab at it?

Robert Cook said...

"I wasn't suggesting he was was linking Kanaima an Christian practices. I was sarcastically making the point that there is a very real, tangible example of a major religion, other than Christianity, whose adherents DO support violence as a means to both religious and political ends. No mention of that religion, though. Why?"

You're focused on the picayune, on the fact of the violence of the Kanaima. He is talking about the overall mental landscape that the respective belief systems provide their believers.

Also, you obviously suggest Islam is an innately violent religion--(it being the unnamed belief system you think is a better equivalent to Kanaima, still reflecting your parochialism)--based on the actions of a few violent Muslim extremists. Using that metric, Christianity--especially if examined over the ages--can certainly be compared with Kanaima, or with Islam.

What you fail to acknowledge is that the actions of the violent Muslim extremists are political in nature, rather than religious.

Robert Cook said...

bagoh20, you're still showing your provincial thinking. In his statement, the professor wasn't making value judgments about the respective practices of Christians or Kanaima, but simply underlining the similar functions they served for their respective cultures: providing meaning and coherence to existence.

Robert Cook said...

I'll add...if he were a Muslim, or speaking to a Muslim reporter, or an academic in a Muslim country, he probably would have made the comparison to Islam. As we are predominantly a Christian culture, his analogy is more apt if it is between the prevailing belief system of the Kanaima with that of the audience he was addressing.

Scott M said...

What you fail to acknowledge is that the actions of the violent Muslim extremists are political in nature, rather than religious.

Ah, yes, the religion of peace angle. We're not comparing "over the ages". This guy's study is contemporary and we're dealing with the world as it is today. In that sense, I'll acknowledge the parochial view as being one of the facts on the ground as they exist...today.

Aside from that, I will not acknowledge that Islamic violence is political in nature. Surely some of it is, but you seem to think there's no religious aspect. That's awfully parochial.

traditionalguy said...

Muslims not having the atonement part in Mohammed's rip off of Judeo-Christianity including its Law of Sin and Death, must turn to offering their Allah god human sacrifice from the list of infidels, apostates, Jews, Christians and bad women in their family.

TosaGuy said...
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TosaGuy said...

Yes, by all means compare a very specific practice of a very small group of people in a very remote place to one of the world's dominate cultures.

It can be done, but the methodology and explanation better be very precise and demanding. If not, then it is mere academic hackery disguised as academia.

edutcher said...

Actually, these shamans sound a little like Thuggees (sp?).

The line, "It doesn’t matter whether you believe in it, it doesn’t stop what’s happening from happening", is probably one of the more perceptive lines you'll ever hear. Most people don't understand that it makes no difference how logical it is to them, it only makes a difference if it's logical to the practitioner.

Robert Cook said...

"Yes, by all means compare a very specific practice of a very small group of people in a very remote place to one of the world's dominate cultures."

Why not?

bagoh20 said...

Cook, your reading of his stuff is even more insulting to him than mine. What you just wrote is so obvious of any religion, or virtually any institution that's it's meaningless.

It's basically: stuff in a culture means stuff to the people in that culture. Well, no shit.

At least I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was at least trying to say something substantive, even if it was lazy.

And you are completely missing my point, that there is nothing so parochial as college professors and these anti-Christian connections that so many make all the time on everything. In fact, I can tell something is written by a PhD or a wanna be just by that tell in their opinions. It's proof of graduate school exposure, and ultra-parochial.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Professor found that violence is universal

Next....Academic realizes the sun rises in the east.

After that...he finds his ass with both hands.

t-man said...

The fact that humans love violence and conflict is not a novel or insightful observation.

The ways in which cultures can channel that instinct to limit its destructive power and harness conflict for actual gain is the more interesting area of inquiry.

bagoh20 said...

I'm not even a Christian, and I find it offensive. Would the professor think of linking these violent cultural behaviors to thug life in LA or Detroit. I doubt it, even though the similarity is striking. Why is that missed, but Christianity pops right into his head? It's lazy group think, but the safe route to credentials and publication.

t-man said...

Tangential point

In my daughter's class, they are learning to diagram sentences. Overall, the school is very PC about bullying and any hint of violence whatsoever. But the teacher allows the kids to come up with their own sentences to diagram, and they are all really gruesome. My favorite was "The nice jail is next to the gallows."

Crimso said...

Can you substitute "Dahmer" for "Kanaima" and still feel the same about either the observations made in the article or the professor's views? If not, why not? Because Dahmer was "crazy?" Because if you think Dahmer was crazy (and I think he was by definition) then so are the Kanaima.

traditionalguy said...

Query: When the god Mammon institutes his Death Panels for human sacrifice to him of the disabled, too old, and various politically chosen scapegoats, who will stop that approach?

It will have to be stopped by Jews and Christians who have the cultural context to understand what is going on. Atheists will just bean count and weakly nod their approval.

~N. said...

Because if you think Dahmer was crazy (and I think he was by definition) then so are the Kanaima.

Well, ingesting decomposition fluids of human bodies probably makes you crazy. Or crazier than you were when you first thought, hey, let's drink this stuff!

When you read of barbaric practices like this, however, it's hard to believe the Christian belief that we're created in God's image, that we all have God's call written on our hearts, blahblahblah.

As much as anthropologists like to find rational explanations for these kinds of practices, all they ever amount to is a bunch of excuses derived by whatever the human-to-human version of anthropomorphism would be.

Robert Cook said...

"It's basically: stuff in a culture means stuff to the people in that culture. Well, no shit."

Yes, and that's all he's saying. That you seem to want to find more there--particularly some sort of veiled or overt insult to Christianity--is a reflection of your own response to his statements and has nothing to do with anything he said.

t-man said...

Whitehead should have studied the Etoro tribe, their practices are far more inexplicable than the Guyanans'. (Warning link not safe for lunch.)

Scott M said...

Yes, and that's all he's saying. That you seem to want to find more there--particularly some sort of veiled or overt insult to Christianity--is a reflection of your own response to his statements and has nothing to do with anything he said.

Shark jumped very well indeed.

bagoh20 said...

I wonder what the Kanaima counterpart is to "turn the other cheek", or "love your enemies as yourself".

Robert Cook said...

bagoh20 said:

"I'm not even a Christian, and I find it offensive. Would the professor think of linking these violent cultural behaviors to thug life in LA or Detroit. I doubt it, even though the similarity is striking. Why is that missed, but Christianity pops right into his head?"

I said, earlier upstream in the comments:

"...if he were a Muslim, or speaking to a Muslim reporter, or an academic in a Muslim country, he probably would have made the comparison to Islam. As we are predominantly a Christian culture, his analogy is more apt if it is between the prevailing belief system of the Kanaima with that of the audience he was addressing."

Moreover, you maintain that his comparison is meant to be insulting or anti-Christian. This is not at all his point.

bagoh20 said...

I have no idea if he holds any personal animus toward Christianity, and it doesn't matter. My point is that his tribe (the professora of the left) clearly do. But, that's not the real problem I have. As you admit above it's gibberish. It's the lazy inane thinking and how, without any real merit, gets to be published and distributed and taught to young minds at great expense. To put it simply: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." - along with a fortune in college loan money.

That's what's insulting to me. This level of thinking rules our culture, and it's pathetic. It was not always so.

This has nothing to do with religion to me - I don't even have one.

traditionalguy said...

The unmentionable part of this article is the idea that Shaman's ceremonies actully work. Someone alert CrackMC.

Crack would agree that New Age is just the old pagan practices repackged for sale to today's gullible folks.

But why do the Pagan shaman's and the New Age purveyors of the powers get rich selling what doesn't work?

Even the Romans made a distinction between Religions/Temples of gods from all over the Empire that upheld Rome's dignity. They called them Religio. But the Romans disapproved of, resisted and outlawed Superstitio practitioners that actually made contact with spiritual forces.

That is why Christianity was persecuted by Rome until Constantine redesignated it as the Empire's sole Religio.

paul a'barge said...

Please.

Here is a quote from the article:
[blockquote]Whitehead explained that Kanaima and other kinds of shamanism are spiritual and political systems, like Christianity, through which people deal with their world.

“It’s not simply a brutal killing. This act of violence at the heart of it is really sacrifice of a very striking kind,” he said.
[/blockquote]

You can't be serious. You find interest and value in an article about a man who would compare Christianity with Shamans who murder and drink fluids from their victims.

Good grief. This anthropologist was a monster of moral equivalence. Frankly, I don't see how any sane person could equate Christianity with these aboriginals in Guyana.

Help me out here. WTF? And all the other webbie goodness.

Robert Cook said...
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Robert Cook said...

"I have no idea if he holds any personal animus toward Christianity, and it doesn't matter. My point is that his tribe (the professora of the left) clearly do."

You assert two unproven assumptions here: first, that Whitehead was a leftist, and second, that there is a "tribe" of leftist professors among whose tenets is "personal animus toward Christianity."

William said...

I have studied the beliefs and value systems of many primitive anthropologists. They are a trusting, childlike people. You may wish to characterize Margaret Meade as a fraud, but the true story was that Samoan teenagers took advantage of her innocence and trust and told her a bunch of whoppers about their sex lives. I bet something something similar went on in this case. It has been my experience that the "juices" of even the freshest corpse smell very bad and have an extremely bitter taste. The maggots that feed on rotting bodies are somewhat more palatable, but even here I find the taste rather sour.....My guess is that these shamans did not imbibe such juices. They may, however, have spread word around that they did in order to increase the terror of their reputation.

John Lynch said...

Chaos, hostility and murder.

Funny how only recently people doubted that.

phx said...

I wonder what the Kanaima counterpart is to "turn the other cheek", or "love your enemies as yourself".

From where I'm standing that's not an interesting question. The question I find interesting and productive is what is our counterpart to those two principles?

phx said...

But why do the Pagan shaman's and the New Age purveyors of the powers get rich selling what doesn't work?

The Pagan shamans are rich and they eat people, too? What a world. I wonder where they invest their money.

Scott M said...

I wonder where they invest their money.

In Scope(TM).

phx said...
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SGT Ted said...

Yes, because EVERY Intellectual knows that murdering and drinking the putrescense of your dead enemies is EXACTLY like a cop or a soldier in the USA using deadly force, which is the last resort in a long chain of rules called "escalation and reasonable use of Force", created from laws designed to protect Individual liberty and property, while also protecting the rights of the accused.

JUST like each other, those are.

You can tell an Intellectual said it, because it is SO stupid. Weapons grade stupidity.

Peter said...

His thesis seems to be that all violence is equivalent.

Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt, what's the difference- didn't they all use violence to further their aims?

Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Kanaima- what's the difference, aren't they all just cults of violence?

What the prof is really telling us: His moral compass is broken, and all the world's rationalizations cannot put it back together again.

Blue@9 said...

I have to agree with Robert Cook here. I don't think he's taking a stab at Christianity, but merely making the point that evil spirits and the magic in sacrificial killings are as real to them as god and Jesus are to Christians. Heck, transubstantiation sounds crazy to me, but it's very real to people who believe in it. (and before anyone jumps on me, I'm not saying communion is the same as kanaima

Because if you think Dahmer was crazy (and I think he was by definition) then so are the Kanaima.

Dahmer is crazy in our society, as are the Kanaima. Conversely, they probably think we're crazy. Yeah, this sounds like moral/cultural relativism, and maybe it is, but it sounds to me like Kanaima is taking place in that gray area between right and wrong. The prof talks about that when he talks about justified killing: Killing is bad, except when society deems it necessary or beneficial. And in this society they've given these shamans license to kill and eat "evil people."

TANSTAAFL said...

Barbarians kill innocent people. Marines put their bodies between innocent people and the barbarians. So take your moral equivelance and shove it, professor.

Robert Cook said...

"Barbarians kill innocent people. Marines put their bodies between innocent people and the barbarians."

Tell that to all the innocent people who have been killed by marines, Free Lunch.

SGT Ted said...

Robert Cook,

You are a remarkable in your inability to distinguish between the barbarians who celebrate their barbarity with street parades honoring their barbarians "martydom" and the US Marines, who prosecute barbarity when committed by their own.

You don't come across as intelligent at all. You seem rather simpleminded, instead. You also come across as simpleminded in matter of war and conflict, too.

SGT Ted said...

Oh I get it. Robert Cook is one of those intellectuals, like the good prof, saying silly shit and getting praise from the Echo Chorus of other simpleminded people who fancy themselves as smart..

Robert Cook said...

"You are a remarkable in your inability to distinguish between the barbarians who celebrate their barbarity with street parades honoring their barbarians "martydom" and the US Marines, who prosecute barbarity when committed by their own."

Hmmm...yes, William Calley was punished terribly for his part in the barbarous massacre at My Lai...a couple years house arrest and then a pardon. Of course, no one else was even prosecuted.

As to those whom you assert "celebrate their barbarity," it's all in the eye of the beholder, don't you think? We all perceive our own causes as just (and justified), and our opponents are always seen as the evil ones. We certainly honor our warriors with street parades...is that not honoring our barbarians for their barbarity? War is barbarity, nothing less, and this is why we should never engage in war except in dire necessity. That we invaded Iraq at all was an act of criminal barbarism--there being no dire necessity (or even cause) and the tens of thousands (or more) Iraqi citizens who died directly or indirectly as a result of our invasion are murder victims. Yet most Americans, and apparently all in Washington, and probably yourself, refuse to see our invasion of Iraq as a crime.

Of course, in most instances, soldiers of any army are neither heroes nor villains, but merely the tools of those who plan and implement the wars, the leaders of countries. The soldiers live and die and kill in service to orders from on high. The real barbarians wear nice suits and think of themselves as the saviors of civilization, (or at least of the prevailing order).

SGT Ted said...

Yet most Americans, and apparently all in Washington, and probably yourself, refuse to see our invasion of Iraq as a crime.

Thats because war, in general, isn't a crime. Civilian deaths incidental to war aren't crimes.

You also show a remarkable ignorance of the laws of warfare. Keep prating, you only expose your ignorant, politically convenient positions for what they are.

You don't get to declare something that isn't a crime a "crime" and then go on to smear other people as "criminals" and denounce them. But that is typical of leftwingers, as a pretense to jail their political opponents.

You also show an ignorance of rules of evidence and a right to a fair trial. We tried LT Caley. The Palestinians name schools after their war criminals.

Your moral equivalence argument is bullshit. You are an ignorant man.

Robert Cook said...

"Thats because war, in general, isn't a crime. Civilian deaths incidental to war aren't crimes."

Yes, war without cause is a crime.

Actually, war is a crime, but sometimes--very rarely and never in my lifetime--necessary.

amba said...

It's a good thing we don't have this shit to unleash on our political enemies.