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At 10:59 PM 21/02/02 -0500, frankie wrote:
>>Is the 1850s cattle killing still alive for people in that part of the world?
>What cattle killing? Do you mean the range wars in the American West?
>Cattle were *the* measure of wealth there - and were "hoarded".
>Overgrazing and desertification were major issues facing the country.
>Before AIDS came along, that is.
I am surprised that this group did not recognize one of the most
spectacular obviously meme driven events in recent history.
I mentioned it in my 1987 Analog article:
"For a vivid example we can hark back a few years ago to Rev. Jim
Jones and the People's Temple incident, where 912 people, including
Jones, died of complications--poison and gunshot wounds--induced by an
"The Children's Crusades of the middle ages were larger and more
lethal; only 2 of 20,000 returned from one. The mass suicide in the
first century by the Jews at Masada is a clear example of information
patterns in people's minds having more influence over their behavior
than the fear of death.
"A more seductive example of a social movement set off by a
lethal meme comes from South Africa. In the 1850s, a meme (originally
derived from a dream) led to a great sacrifice by the Xhoas people
during which they killed their cattle, burned their grain, and
refrained from planting in the belief that doing so would cause their
ancestors to come back from the dead and expel the whites. At least
20,000 and perhaps as many as 60,000 starved when the predicted
millennia of plenty failed to arrive. Known as the Cattle Killing, it
was not a unique response for a primitive society being displaced by a
more technically advanced one. The "Ghost Dancers" phenomenon among
American Indians was a similar response.
Since I did the research for that article a 1989 book came out, J. B.
Peires, "The Central Beliefs of the Xhosa Cattle-killing." Some of it is
on the net here.
Definitely worth reading!
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