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Topic: Re:Association/Disociation in Native Cultures
Posted by: John Grinder
Date/Time: 17/02/2003 01:52:13


Fascinating topic! Unfortunately, generalizations are this level are shaky, to say the least.

Some observations - life in a traditional village (I should mention that my extended experience is limited to traditional peoples in East Africa Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda) and rural communities in Mexico, Central and South America) - has a continuity that is nearly impossible to find in industrialized nations (or even in those industrialized portions of the same country in which you find these traditional villages). As I think Carmen and I mentioned in Whispering, the highly fragmented, distinctly marked non-overlapping contexts that we enter and exist routinely on a daily basis as citizens of highly industrialized (or even post-indutrial societies demand a multiple personality to succeed significantly in all of these distinct contexts with their corresponding distinctive demands for different behavior (the way you behave in the office, the marketplace, at home, in athletic events, with family, with friends...).

Indeed, the only differences that I can detect between me and an institutionalized multiple personality is that I can choose which aspect of the many moves I have learned rather than such being determined by external demands (context, anchors...) and the fact that I have access (memory-wise) to my actions in all the choices of how I present myself that I exercise (with the attendant ability to be responsible for my actions and their consequences.

Back to traditional society, there is an ordering is such intact cultures that is not apparent in industrialized societies - people are reasonably clear about what is to be done in typical situations and are well connected with one another. I remember living in a third story flat in New York city with two children while I was a Guest Researcher in George Miller's lab at Rockefeller University in the early 70's and the rule (quite explicit and articulated by a friend who grew up in the city and took pity on me) was that you did not approach or attempt establish social relationships with people in your building as a way of preserving privacy. In fact, there are cultures where the form of address (comparable but different from the distinction you find in the Vous/Tu of French or the Sie/Du of German or the Usted/Tu of Spanish) is determined by where in the matrix of family, lineage and moity the person you are addressing is located (relative, of course, to your position).

Perhaps a story will aid: for some years I explored and incorporated African (Congolese and Zairian principally) drumming, dancing and singing into my training to balance the somewhat heady experience of NLP patterning (classical, that is). In the early 80's I did a tour with a couple of African musician friends and an American dancer in Europe. We would spend an hour or two at the close of the day dancing, drumming and singing for integration purposes. One of the musicians was a wonderful man named TaSamba (Zaire). He was a curious soul and started showing up at the seminar portion of the day and sitting in on my work. What I immediately noticed was that he laughed a great deal (apparently finding at least humor in what I was doing) but he nearly always laughed when no one (predominantly Europeon participants) did and vice versa. The puzzle for me was to discover what the distinction(s) was: it turned out that nearly any reference to or discussion about how to know what you wanted, how to achieve 1st or 2nd position and congruency was met with either astonishment or deep laughter. Conversations directly with him after a couple of weeks of this confirmed that the "natural" (read default) state for him was what we sometimes call a state of grace (read congruency in 1st position) and that from time to time under the impact of events, he would fall out of that state whereas my observations of westerners (North Americans and Europeans primarily) have the reserve situation: that is, they live in incongruency and from time to time, they fall into (or work diligently to achieve) a state of grace (congruency).

It would greatly enhance this conversation if people who actually have such experiences could offer descriptions that correspond to the differences they experience between living in their traditional cultures and what we do in western industrial and post industrial societies.

All the best,


Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
Association/Disociation in Native Cultures16/02/2003 23:44:53Eric
     Re:Association/Disociation in Native Cultures17/02/2003 01:52:13John Grinder
          Re:Re:Association/Disociation in Native Cultures19/02/2003 04:55:12Chris
               Re:Re:Re:Association/Disociation in Native Cultures19/02/2003 17:08:36John Grinder
                    Association/Disociation in Native Cultures and Social Change19/02/2003 18:11:25Eric

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