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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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      Dec 31 2012: Hello Feyisayo,
      I have developed a mental exercise, often when sorting out a family problem, I take away the props of our western, industrialized construct, and I divide my family members into my vision of a desert camp construct, what I imagine Abraham lived like. This model has served me well over the years. There is nothing new under the sun.
      I envy societies that are not fully industrialized, and can, theoretically pick and chose what they want to take from the Western civilization.
      I also am dismayed at how older cultures still maintain their traditions, while we in the west, seemed to have consumed, even our scanty 200 years of history, except as museum displays.
      Your venue is intriguing. Thank you for bringing it to fruition.
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        Jan 22 2013: Hi Marianne, can you elaborate on your technique? So you 'divide my family members into my vision of a desert camp construct". I am intrigued. How does this help?

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