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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 29 2012: Tribal societies have a lot to learn from industrialised ones; industrialised societies have a lot to learn from tribal ones.
    It is easy for the societies with the fancy gadgets and the glamourous pop culture to 'pity' tribal societies; in most cases it takes a journey to the tribal societies to realise what Jesus has already made clear in Luke 12:15 "Take heed, and beware of covetousness:for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
    So, happiness is a choice; and there is much more to life than the fiction presented by Ads, Tv show and magazines.

    But tribal societies should learn about the industrial societies, and accept change when neccessary; because wisdom is wisdom, the application of knowledge is for certain needs.
    Not knowledge just for the sake of it.
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      Jan 3 2013: Feyi, what are your thoughts on the role of Christianityin Afrika in respect to what Paul is saying?
      • Jan 3 2013: Jesus Christ says in John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"
        The church is not meant to 'modernise' or 'civilize' people. Jesus came to lead us to God. His word is for all men at all times; and he loves the diversity of the world. The Indian church, the Chinese church, the US church, the Arab church, the Gabonese church; each church is a unique expression of God's love as recieved in a particular place. It is the same word and the same Spirit that works in all.

        Sometimes missionaries have a kind of colonial agenda; but the kingdom of God is by His Spirit; not by theology, formulas, laws or Western education/lifestyle.

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