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

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 16:38:19 GMT

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    Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 11:38:19 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: RE: Words and memes: criteria for acceptance of new belief or   m eme
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    > Hi frankie,
    > <There was quite a diversity of beliefs in the village, Christian,
    >> Hindu, various indigenous tribes, plus some interesting combinations
    >> of the above. I don't think they needed a monoculture to survive,
    >> just the same old human traits of fear, suspicion and jealousy.>
    > IIRC correctly, this was an African village? I wonder how Hinduism
    >got into an African village?
    > Vincent

    There is a large Indian community in Southern Africa. Gandhi began
    his career as a social reformer in South Africa. Most Indians were
    shop-keepers, and first-generation Indians often kept to themselves,
    but the younger people did not. They were caught in a sort of
    cultural limbo; not really Indian, but not African either. Many of
    them were teachers, and they had much more interaction with others.
    The Muslims tended to be much more isolationist and unfortunately I
    never had a chance to get to know any of them. AFAIK, they lived
    only in the capital and were mostly Philippino. There were
    development workers from all over the world (except South America),
    South African dissidents and numerous tribes who were as culturally
    distinct as Germans and Italians. The dominant tribe was known for
    accepting refugees from regional conflicts, and in my village there
    was a population of Boers who had taken refuge there during the Boer
    war. The diversity in the villages rivaled anything you might see in
    major urban centers in the developed world. It was very
    cosmopolitan. :)

    The Hindus did not proselytize, so their beliefs did not enter into
    the mix so much, but they did place christian theology in the context
    of one of many possible religious alternatives. A sort of religious
    salad bar. The hybrids were between various Christian beliefs and
    the traditional beliefs of the tribes, as well as "Liberation
    Theology" which (now I'm going out on a limb here, I'm not a
    theologian) I think originated in South America. But my main point
    was that they managed to co-exist quite peacefully, and the witch
    doctors were still doing a brisk business, despite there being so
    many alternatives.

    Whenever people explained anything about curses and witch doctors
    they always reassured me that none of this would work on me since it
    wasn't my culture. Maybe that's why the diversity was not a problem.
    The meta-meme of tolerance allowed all of these interactions to take


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