Sunday, December 4, 2016
Trobriand Culture Installment 2 (H01)
“If a man has yams, he can find anything else that is needed”; a man’s yam house is equivalent to a bank account. The harvest from most of a garden belongs to others in the community rather than the cultivator. The plots in a farmer’s garden are referred to by a specific woman’s name as a woman is the only individual whom can own yams- the pile of a chief’s wife will not only be the largest, but it will also be decorated, partially explaining why many chiefs participate in polygamy. At the beginning of the harvest, the yams will stay on display in the gardens for about a month before the gardener transports them to the owners and loads them into the husband’s empty yam house. Early on the day the yams are delivered to the owners, the young girls and boys that are related to the farmer visit the gardens, dressed in their youthful and festive clothing, to carry baskets of yams to the hamlet in which the owner lives. Upon arrival, the young individuals will sing and dance, moving their bodies sexually. They will then recreate the conical piles in front of the woman’s husband’s yam house and the gardener will return a number of days later to load them into the house. From this point on, the husband is responsible for the yams and repaying the gardener- usually by feast. A man’s yam house is not always filled; this could be the result of weather- a result of magic- or perhaps the farmer was privately upset with the man from a particular past incident.
Yam Pile Villagers gather yams Yams
Trobriander culture has for the most part persisted despite a globalizing world- a term that is actually not as modern as we believe for history tells us a myriad of empires conquered surrounding lands way before the development of technology as we know it today- around them. It is an example of one of an innumerable amount around our planet; differing parts of the world perceive aspects of civilization in a myriad of ways; what is the “wrong” way and what is the “right way? Sure, there are facets that the majority of Earth’s population agree on and consent in abiding to, but there are also features that are not so black and white. Anthropologists play a vital role in maintaining a diverse world that can also work together for something greater than you and I.
The Trobrianders rely heavily on unspoken implications between individuals as well as magic stipulations. Their “philosophy” so to speak is to never forget a past correspondence for it could explain future situations. Why shouldn’t we reject rationalisms of the Trobrianders? It is important for us as human beings to understand our origins and also understand the cultures of the world outside of our own. Anthropologists “bridge the gap” between various cultures- diversity is essential… what would a world of ultimate uniformity is terrifying- in order to promote communication and cooperation around the globe. From various cultures, we learn that what we think and what we believe are not the only ways to think and to believed lot of our perceptions are controlled by experiences. When we look at other peoples’ experiences, perceptions, and understandings, our knowledge becomes greater and our understanding of how things, including ourselves, work becomes much more vast.
First Installment: http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2016/11/is-there-right-and-wrong-installment-1.html
Final word count: 2,586