Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Precious Babies

Baby sleeping
Nothing as precious as a baby... And obviously the loss of one is one of the most horrifying experiences a human being can have, right?... You might be shocked to find that some cultures react differently to the loss of babies.

Like the Fayu, a tribe living in the jungle of West Papua.

In their culture, if a baby dies it will mostly go unnoticed and unmourned. The rationale behind this being that "We didn't really know this baby. He didn't contribute to our society. He didn't tell us stories by the fireplace. We didn't even really know him. We will have another baby next year.". This means that the older a person is the more his loss is mourned.

Before you go on to scream out loud how heartless people they must be, take a moment to think about it. If you look at it rationally it actually makes sense, and if you consider the fact that this is a society where the rate of child death is very high, this might be a comforting way to think about it.

So, is our love for and obsession with children just cultural???

PS: I learned about the Fayu through the book "Jungle Child" by Sabine Kuegler. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is curious about foreign cultures.


gmsmc said...

I had your blog saved on my favourites for a long time now, but never took the time to read it; until today...
I had to start at the beginning, of course, so here I am. I'm not going to engage on a debate about the point you present here; let's just say that I can perfectly understand the reasoning of the tribe you presented here.

Philo said...

well, welcome to by blog! :) Starting at the beginning..? Hmmm, do you have a system for everything? ;p These posts are so old! If I were you I would start at the end. ;)

gmsmc said...

I wouldn't call it a system, rather an option. By starting at the beginning, I get context.
More interestingly, I get to see how your thoughts and writing evolved. All in all, I'd say that's very educational.
And I get history. Keeping track of the past is important to live the present. Actually, I've started a new blog recently (be my guest to try Google translator; I did and it didn't work as badly as expected) and my first posts are selected reposts from my previous blog. Just so that memory isn't lost.