RE: Words and memes: criteria for acceptance of new belief or meme

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 15:15:30 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "RE: Words and memes: criteria for acceptance of new belief or meme"

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    Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 10:15:30 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: RE: Words and memes: criteria for acceptance of new belief or  meme
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    >Not my field, but for what it is worth, Sherry Ortner describes just such a
    >distinction between 'good' and 'bad' religious magical practitioners in her
    >anthropological studies of modern Sherpa society, in her (misnamed) book,
    >LIFE AND DEATH ON MOUNT EVEREST, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University press,
    >1999. In popular Sherpa religion, gods protect people from evil forces (like
    >witches, ghosts, sorcerers and poisoners). Lamas run the rituals needed to
    >convince the gods to do so. Shamans (blawa in Sherpa), on the other hand,
    >helped heal illness. At the beginning of the 20th century, a maor religious
    >reform effort was launched in the Sherpa areas of Nepal: Buddhist
    >monasticism with 'higher' religious beliefs and practices in contrast to the
    >popular religious beliefs. The monastery monks introduced celibacy and other
    >more demanding practices, and criticized the village lamas and shamans for
    >inept practice, and worse, for working in collusion with evil 'black'
    >forces, using black magic and sorcery. [Pp. 95-105.]

    Sounds interesting, I'll take a look. This sounds very similar, only
    there were no gods to intervene on anyone's behalf. I forget who
    used the "Big Alpha Male in the Sky" but it has sparked my interest
    in religious beliefs where there is/are no gods. Is that animism?
    Has there been any research done about them? Are there any
    environmental/cultural correlates?


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