The Power of Myth & Culture

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Khethil
 
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 03:04 pm
This is categorically amazing; I read this earlier today and was shocked when I realized how many ethical implications this situation has.

The power of myth, valuation of children and much more. I'm not sure I'll ever cease being shocked by such practices; still, I think it worthwhile that as we discover and flesh-out our own ethics, we still stay aware of just how differently others can think.

As far as the ethics in what's going on in this article, I wouldn't know where to start. Food for thought on many levels...
[INDENT]Excerpt from CNN.com article linked below: "... the victim of a widely held belief that if a man with HIV or AIDS rapes a virgin he will be cured of his disease..."
[/INDENT]
News Article Here
 
hue-man
 
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 04:17 pm
@Khethil,
This article makes me sick to my stomach. This is but one example of why superstition is a vice.
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 17 Jun, 2009 09:16 am
@Khethil,
and it is myths and superstitions thriving among the ignorant of any culture that are the cause of things like this. not that long ago, maybe 300 years?-young girls were being burned at the stake in america for being witches. maybe in another 300 years we will all have grown up enough to stop thinking and behaving this way.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 05:54 am
@Khethil,
this has been popular mythology in Africa for more than a decade, to my knowledge. To which the only possible antidote, surely, is more information and better education. I can only salute those trying to better education in Africa.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 11:40 am
@jeeprs,
hue-man;66722 wrote:
This is but one example of why superstition is a vice.


And this is a great example of a logical fallacy. Some A's are X, therefore all A's are X.

Regarding the article: this is terrible. But I see no problem calling the man in question a victim: the victim of a dangerous myth.

All cultures have myths. Myths like the one in the article are dangerous and destructive. As a culture, people need to consider the sort of myths we perpetuate, the impact of myth upon others.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 01:18 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;70125 wrote:
And this is a great example of a logical fallacy. Some A's are X, therefore all A's are X.

Regarding the article: this is terrible. But I see no problem calling the man in question a victim: the victim of a dangerous myth.

All cultures have myths. Myths like the one in the article are dangerous and destructive. As a culture, people need to consider the sort of myths we perpetuate, the impact of myth upon others.


You're defending superstition now? I'm not saying that because some A's are X, all A's are X. Superstition is always a vice because of its tendency and capacity for bad outcomes, not to mention that it is unwise.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 02:55 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;70146 wrote:
You're defending superstition now?


I'm criticizing a kind of argument.

hue-man;70146 wrote:
Superstition is always a vice because of its tendency and capacity for bad outcomes, not to mention that it is unwise.


To say nothing of the tendency and capacity for good outcomes.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 07:37 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;70159 wrote:
I'm criticizing a kind of argument.


Well that's not the argument that I was making.

Didymos Thomas;70159 wrote:
To say nothing of the tendency and capacity for good outcomes.


I know of no good outcomes that come from superstition. I'm saying that superstition has a greater tendency and capacity for bad outcomes, and that why it's a vice.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 08:14 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;70211 wrote:
I know of no good outcomes that come from superstition.
We subconsciously go through rituals because of superstition. We say good night to each other. We bless each other for a sneeze. It makes us closer.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 12:15 am
@Khethil,
some superstitions actually have sound facts behind them, but they re practiced culturally in total ignorance. superstitions can be harmful, harmless, beneficial-but i think rather than condemning superstitions, it is the ignorance of the person following them that is to blame. that doesnt make them any less guilty, in fact it holds them responsible rather than saying 'it's ok, because it is a part of the culture.'
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 02:38 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;70218 wrote:
We subconsciously go through rituals because of superstition. We say good night to each other. We bless each other for a sneeze. It makes us closer.

But do people do such things because they have superstitious reasons for doing so, or just because they feel it's polite?

I usually say "bless you" or "good health" when someone sneezes. However, when doing so it's not because I think they need some sort of auspice in order to recover - I just think it's a nice way of imparting a little moral support to someone who is ill by acknowledging them in this way and it would be rude not to. I find when people don't do it to me I think it a little rude.

So whilst the practice might have its roots in superstition I don't think it need be considered a superstition because it isn't necessarily tied up in beliefs - to most people it's just a tradition associated with politeness. The only belief might be "I believe John would rather I said 'bless you' than just ignore him when he sneezes". The evidence to support this would be my own irritation at certain people who have just let me sneeze unacknowledged when I feel poorly.

Whereas believing a broken mirror earns seven years poor luck, or believing that raping a virgin cures you of AIDS are superstitious, because there is a conviction that performing the act has an outcome for which their is nothing but anecdotal evidence.

I don't think all superstitions are harmful, I think some are folksy tautologies (such as it being bad luck to walk under a ladder - well, of course - things tend to fall off ladders a lot more than they do thin air), but labouring under the misapprehension that x leads to y when the evidence is that it doesn't is surely a bad thing.

For example - saying "bless you" to a child who sneezes is a nice way of acknowledging that child and teaching it some manners. However, thinking that saying "bless you" to children is a better way of curing whooping cough than seeking medical advice is pretty disasterous.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 05:24 am
@salima,
salima;70271 wrote:
some superstitions actually have sound facts behind them, but they re practiced culturally in total ignorance. superstitions can be harmful, harmless, beneficial-but i think rather than condemning superstitions, it is the ignorance of the person following them that is to blame. that doesnt make them any less guilty, in fact it holds them responsible rather than saying 'it's ok, because it is a part of the culture.'

Whilst I do feel that the individual needs to be held to account for his actions, I also feel the root of the problem lies in the bad education he received. It's not enough to say say a man who is taught that rape will cure him of a terminal illness is responsible for his actions in the same way that a man who rapes purely for the act itself is - clearly the misapprehension that the action effects a cure is part of the influence on the act.
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 07:07 am
@Dave Allen,
Whats the difference between myth and religious dogma that kill by its authority? I would say the RC Churches attitude towards contraception in Africa should be condemned more than an individual ignorant fool.
Separating the myths of ill educated Africans and the myths of western religion is elitist bullshit.Both are damaging, in fact western faith is more so because it carries so much authority.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:00 am
@xris,
xris;70307 wrote:
Whats the difference between myth and religious dogma that kill by its authority? I would say the RC Churches attitude towards contraception in Africa should be condemned more than an individual ignorant fool.
Separating the myths of ill educated Africans and the myths of western religion is elitist bullshit.Both are damaging, in fact western faith is more so because it carries so much authority.


and we certainly dont have to go to africa to find people who are acting/reacting without thinking or accepting without questioning, there are plenty of those in every country on the globe. it is not exclusively a third world disease.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:45 am
@xris,
xris;70307 wrote:
Whats the difference between myth and religious dogma that kill by its authority? I would say the RC Churches attitude towards contraception in Africa should be condemned more than an individual ignorant fool.
Separating the myths of ill educated Africans and the myths of western religion is elitist bullshit.

I don't think anyone here is doing that - it just happens to be that this time the focus for condemnation is of a folk belief that is also responsible for the spread of misery.

I know some people on the forumlike to stick up for the Roman Catholic church's attitude towards it's African adherants. I think they are complicit in a terrible cruelty and a patronising belief that what is good for first worlders (ie: the choice to exercise contraception) is somehow either not worthy of, or too good for, people in developing countries.

But that sort of hypocrisy seems pretty absent in this discussion.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 10:04 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;70218 wrote:
We subconsciously go through rituals because of superstition. We say good night to each other. We bless each other for a sneeze. It makes us closer.


Good point, but that's not superstition. I say good night to the people I care for because there is always the very real possibility that something bad can happen to them, and it's just common courtesy. I rarely say bless you, and I know that the saying stems from age old superstition, but I always thought of it as common courtesy. There is no need for superstitious rituals. They don't help anything, and they have more of a tendency and capacity to make things worse. When I think back on examples of superstition that I personally experienced or heard of, I can only remember it conflicting with virtues.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 12:33 pm
@hue-man,
Hue-man: sighting examples of superstition that are dangerous will in no way prove that all superstition is dangerous. Besides, no one is arguing that superstition cannot be dangerous.

Saying "bless you" is plaque superstition and survives to this day. Aedes is right, these things bring us closer together, they are ways to express our concern for one another. In what way does this expression of concern conflict with virtue? Explain how this expression of concern "don't help anything".
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 12:56 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;70344 wrote:
I don't think anyone here is doing that - it just happens to be that this time the focus for condemnation is of a folk belief that is also responsible for the spread of misery.

I know some people on the forumlike to stick up for the Roman Catholic church's attitude towards it's African adherants. I think they are complicit in a terrible cruelty and a patronising belief that what is good for first worlders (ie: the choice to exercise contraception) is somehow either not worthy of, or too good for, people in developing countries.

But that sort of hypocrisy seems pretty absent in this discussion.
Its absent only because its too controversial for many.I can excuse ignorance from a certain perspective of the individual but not by organisations.Why should other myths not be included in this debate,because thats what i consider religion to be.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 01:19 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;70374 wrote:
Saying "bless you" is plaque superstition and survives to this day.

Was plague superstition, now a pleasantry.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 01:27 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;70388 wrote:
Was plague superstition, now a pleasantry.


What's the difference?
 
 

 
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