*Civilization Bringing Brutal Rites, Excessive “Masculinity”* … Indeed, Turnbull shows that these differences not only exist but that we see them distinctly in connection to the rites of passage that are undergone respectively in each culture.
The brutal rite of passage in question is called the *nkumbi* and is conducted by the villagers. The Pygmies — the “forest people” — undergo it, at a certain age, in order to gain certain respect and privileges in their dealings with villagers, as they must often have for various reasons. Nonetheless, of their own the Mbuti have no such rite of passage, certainly nothing severe and harsh like that of the villagers.
On the other hand, Turnbull (1961) describes the villagers’ nkumbi: “The physical ordeals sometimes start out as games but develop into cruel tests of physical endurance. A crouching dance that might be fun for a few minutes becomes agony after half an hour. A mild switching on the underside of the arm with light sticks is of no concern until, after several days, the skin becomes raw. And then the villagers notch the sticks so that they fold over and pinch the skin sharply, often drawing blood. When the boys have become used to being beaten with leafy branches, thorny bushes are substituted.”
*Dominant societies try to instill fear of the supernatural to control their underlings.*
Turnbull also explains the villagers’ beliefs concerning this rite of passage and its effect and purpose: “The villagers believed that the initiate, Pygmy or otherwise, is everlastingly bound thereafter by all the laws of the tribe, sacred and secular. He is put into direct relationship with the supernatural, whose representatives on earth are the villagers themselves. If any Pygmy initiate offends a villager, therefore, he is also offending the supernatural — the ancestors — and will be duly punished by them. The villagers live in such fear of the supernatural, with its power to bring down on an offender the curses of leprosy, yaws, dysentery and other diseases or to cause him to be injured by a falling tree, that they cannot conceive of any initiates daring to offend the ancestors.”
*Primal folks laugh at the fears of “domesticated” humans and delight in flaunting their customs.*
But offend the ancestors they do, these Pygmies, and with apparent relish. They do not share the villagers fearful view of the world. They cannot imagine any good reason to inflict these tortures on each other. They laugh, secretly, behind the villagers’ backs, at them. Turnbull (1961) writes, “Both the boys and their fathers enjoyed the chance to make fun, in a friendly way, of the villagers, but that was not their sole reason for deliberately breaking all the taboos. They behaved as they did because to them the restrictions were not only meaningless but belonged to a hostile world. The villagers hoped that the nkumbi would place the Pygmies directly under the supernatural authority of the village tribal ancestors; the Pygmies naturally took good care that nothing of the sort should happen, proving it to themselves by this conscious flaunting of custom.”
Incidentally, if you think that disparity odd, consider, for a minute, how that is exactly the division of the modern culture war, at its base. We have fearful “villagers” not wanting to offend “ancestors” and customs of old — seeking essentially to return to a mythically construed version of the 1950s in America, for example. And on the other side, we have liberal-minded, often bohemian or hippie sorts, who laugh at such fear, inhibition, and general “up-tightness.”
Similarly, we “hippies,” and just like Turnbull’s Forest People, might undergo the “rites of passage” of the “villagers” — in our case, of the conforming “normals” of Western society — by going to university and getting degrees, for instance. However, we will most assuredly not take the fear and demands of the establishment world seriously. We also will laugh at them, those enmeshed in the Matrix … as we currently roflol at Trump, the current icon of such “villager” fear.
More at… https://mladzema.wordpress.com/2018/03/04/how-we-lose-our-souls-how-it-is-stolen-in-patriarchal-cultures-the-young-need-be-pared-down-to-the-level-of-its-controlling-adults-rituals-of-diminution-and-control/
— this is an excerpt that is in two books written by Michael Adzema: *Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self* (2017) and *Who To Be: Authenticity, Identity, and Crisis* (scheduled 2019).
For any of the 12 of Michael Adzema’s works currently in print go to Amazon at…
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