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We of the industrialised countries have a tremendous amount to gain from the tribal peoples of the world, concerning problems of our era.

I spent some time visiting the Turkanas and Digos of Kenya recently -
my experiences have been primarily in Africa
I realised 2 things -

firstly, that our knowledge of ancient societies, and our level of contact with them, are extremely small -
and when they occasionally happen, it is with great cultural bias and a presumption of superiority by the visitor (NGOs, government representatives, corporate staff, churches ..)
secondly, that many of the core topics of today in the industrialised world (environment, conflict and human social connection) are
- in some cases - managed far more successfully by these
ancient societies -

but there are of course many nuances and downsides in this story -
it is not black and white

I propose that we should have friendly, equal interaction with these peoples in a careful way that does not disrupt their lives -
as a way of pursuing our own search for what is right and what we want
in the West

and we should absolutely not allow these societies to disappear
a little a time - we should rather protect them from threats to their way of life, and get to know them better

Pinkers rapid dismissal of the 'myth' of social harmony in tribal societies
is merely a symptom of the fact that 'we' barely know 'them' at all,
and have extremely little reliable information -
for myself, and for 2 of your TED speakers, it is easy to distinguish
between those who have had close contact with tribal peoples,
and those who have not, like Pinker

it is true that for any normal person, a real personal contact with them
is not easy to arrange - there is travel, there is finding a personal introduction, and survival in areas without shops or hotels

I maintain that nothing has ever been more worth the effort -
and that there is no substitute for the real thing -
films, books and talks cannot convey the experience

The nearest I can come is that it changes you permanently,
and as Pinker says "everything you thought before was wrong"


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  • Dec 30 2012: The natives have always known how to live in harmony with nature and the world. The tribal people in Africa, and other lands such as N America, Australia... all still have the knowledge we need. I was watching a documentary on the Native Americans and found that in their own prophecies they talked of a time when all shall come and learn from them as to how to live and co-exist with nature. Though they say this is going to happen after World War 3.

    My say is that since we are on Ted, we might as well create the groups we need and start working on fixing the environment, why wait for a disaster to first occur?

    We can also learn a lot from the African tribes as they do possess the knowledge of curing diseases, there was a particular kind of cancer (can't remember which one) that was cured by a Kenyan tribal chief. The same goes for the nodding disease that was present in Uganda whereby one of their own locals was able to heal them.

    I personally had many mental problems and was healed with the ancient knowledge of spirituality and faith healing whereby my own OCD, depression, anger, agitation... were all healed by a healer who was in a trance and the angels had possessed him. All this was for free, other wise it would have cost me over a $1000 by now. This itself was part of ancient healing.

    In my spirituality there was a person healed of aids too, so all cures do exist its just that we don't know of them as we have corrupted everything and want people to consume tablets on a daily basis so that we make more money. We can combine all forms of healing from all different cultures and also the modern kinds, especially to do with surgery... and physical healing too and we would be very advanced.

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