Legare presented Brazilians with a variety of simpatias, and found that people judged them as more effective when they involved a large number of repetitive procedural steps that must be performed at a specific time and in the presence of religious icons. “We're built to learn from others,” she says, which leads us to repeat actions that seemed to work for someone else — “even if we don't understand how they produce the desired outcomes”.Human Rites: "Rituals bind us, in modern societies and prehistoric tribes alike. But can our loyalties stretch to all of humankind?"
Human populations living side-by-side tend to have a lot in common. They adopt the same basic techniques of production, use similar tools and natural resources, live in similar kinds of houses and so on. At the level of practical affairs, there might be little to tell them apart. However, their rituals are a different story altogether. Arbitrary conventions on how to achieve certain goals — placate the gods, or ensure an adequate crop — can assume any pattern: in straightforward physical terms, they don’t actually have to do anything. And yet they are far from impotent. Indeed, in social terms they can have very significant effects. To start with, they serve as admirable group markers precisely because they are of no use to those outside the group. And they don’t just demarcate people. Rituals also bind them together. How? And how far can they stretch?via Overcoming Bias: Farmer's New Rituals
These results suggest that modern prosociality is not solely the product of an innate psychology, but also reflects norms and institutions that have emerged over the course of human history.The Adaptive Value Of Religious Ritual (PDF)
Religion has probably always served to enhance the union of its practitioners; unfortunately, there is also a dark side to this unity. If
the intragroup solidarity that religion promotes is one of its significant adaptive benefits, then from its beginning religion has probably always played a role in intergroup conflicts. In other words, one of the benefits for individuals of intragroup solidarity is the ability of unified groups to defend and compete against other groups.
« Older Is China covering up another flu pandemic -- or ge... | If you're a fan of deeply groo... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments