Monday, August 19, 2013

History of sickness and medical art 7 : in preliterate society 4

A Mask dancing of Dogon( agricultural tribes) in the Middle West Africa 

A Mask dancing of Dogon( agricultural tribes) in the Middle West Africa  >

An etiology: Recognition of the world

Although native’s recognition about the sickness and the medical art is unscientific and superstitious, the base of it is a thinking that gives on to modern society.
First, they have caught logically the principle of cause and effect about the sickness in their own way.
For example, they thought that a swelling of hand and foot originated in an abnormality of the internal organs, or when a sickness prevailed in a village, it was carried with insect or the wind, or an epilepsy began from temporary cutting of a brain.
Although they did not need explanation beyond it, and could not make the exact medical treatment, they always have tried a certain understanding and explanation for it.
They think that most of mental diseases depend on the supernatural causes (evil spirit).

In order for people to advocate a general etiology with physical element (body fluid and blood, etc.), we had to wait for the city civilization birth.
Medicinal herb use and magic of medical treatment was still the main thing.

Her diseased part is purifying with leaves in Mexico. 

< Her diseased part is purifying with leaves in Mexico. >



Medical treatment and magic:  Animism
To think that the magic and the evil spirits are causes of the disease are that they are thinking with separating the soul from the body, and moreover assume that the natural world have human nature.
Possibly you might have thought, "While clouds come out and it is raining, the sun is escaping to want not to get wet to rain."

Bushman living in Kalahari Desert may cure a poor bag of hunting.
First, the root of certain plant and the hoof of certain game animal are burned, and it becomes powder.
Subsequently, the droppings of the animal are mixed with it and it becomes a mash.
Several body surfaces of a hunter are injured with a razor, and the powder is rubbed in.
I guess that this is a courtesy to control misfortune by the indirect contact to the object, and the dirty things (impurity).
Thus, all medical treatment and the courtesy will develop from abundant experiences and the analogy.


< Bushman >

治療と呪術 : アニミズム


a dancing to cure

< a dancing to cure >

Magic, science, and religion
The anatomy of the animal might deepen understanding to the physiology and the sickness.
Therefore pastoral people would be able to escape easily from a conception of magic more than agricultural people.
This may be one reason that pastoral people have little mask culture (where the magic is thought as important in).
I think that this had made a difference of scientific development, along with the growth of the city civilization.
Moreover, by ethnic group, the ultimate responsibility contracting a disease included a difference in whether it was caused by self or outside.
These might have given a big influence on religion that was born in ancient civilization.


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