Download Adbusters, Issue 95: The Philosophy Issue PDF

AB95: The Philosophy Issue
(May/June 2011)

Featured during this issue:

artistic Director: Pedro Inoue
Tzvetan Todorov on American torture
Darren Fleet discusses this generation’s “apocalypse”
We discover America’s position in Egypt’s darkish past
Pentti Linkola’s view on inhabitants control
Micah White demands revolution opposed to American decadence
Michael Löwy explores advertising’s have an effect on on our health
We ask: What issues in lifestyles? What concerns in dying?

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Additional resources for Adbusters, Issue 95: The Philosophy Issue

Example text

Although Douglas acknowledges the distinction between the bereaved members of the deceased's domestic group and the more public ritualistic group, he writes his account primarily from the viewpoint of the latter. He masks the emotional force of bereavement by reducing funerary ritual to orderly routine. Surely, human beings mourn both in ritual settings and in Page 14 the informal settings of everyday life. Consider the evidence that willy-nilly spills over the edges in Godfrey Wilson's classic anthropological account of "conventions of burial" among the Nyakyusa of South Africa: That some at least of those who attend a Nyakyusa burial are moved by grief it is easy to establish.

In the former case, rituals indeed encapsulate a culture's wisdom; in the latter instance, they act as catalysts that precipitate processes whose unfolding occurs over subsequent months or even years. Many rituals, of course, do both by combining a measure of wisdom with a comparable dose of platitudes. My own experience of bereavement and ritual fits the platitudes and catalyst model better than that of microcosmic deep culture. 23 This statement, of course, should not lead anyone to derive a universal from somebody else's personal knowledge.

All too often, however, this view is extended until certain prerequisites of field research appear to guarantee an authoritative ethnography. Eclectic book knowledge and a range of life experiences, along with edifying reading and selfawareness, supposedly vanquish the twin vices of ignorance and insensitivity. Although the doctrine of preparation, knowledge, and sensibility contains much to admire, one should work to undermine the false comfort that it can convey. At what point can people say that they have completed their learning or their life experience?

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