Sunday, July 26, 2015


HOW LUCKY I AM TO MEET A REAL LIVE MISSIONARY --WHO'S WILLING TO ENGAGE WITH ME---answered all my questions.  No I didn't challenge his religion as I often do with believers --I wanted to get a sense of his work and life in the Jungle.

Meet Eric an evangelical missionary to Brazil---home for a 2 weeks visit with his daughter posing beside him.  He will return to the jungle near the headwaters of The Amazon river near Columbia.  He is learning the language of a primitive tribe of about 40 individuals.  Only then will he  speak to them of religious matters, he said.  Here's a sampling of what I learned:

The natives are Animist---believing that everything contains souls---spirits.
They live immersed in fear of evil spirits--forever trying to placate them.
Everyone in the tribe is related--and everyone is keenly aware of the specific connections.
Their culture is frozen because everyone is afraid to deviate.
Anyone who becomes the least bit more successful than others is strongly censured.
To feel a firm sense of "Belonging" is seemingly vital.
Their tribe is related to hundreds more in the region who speak a closely related language.
Early missionaries paddled up the Amazon---today they fly into grassy landing strips.
Both father and daughter had read both books critical of missionary work: """THE POISIONWOOD             BIBLE" and "AT PLAY IN THE FIELDS OF THE LORD".  They were defensive---saying                 those were bad missionaries.
Technology is fast moving in and transforming their view of the world.  Cell phones are everywhere.
English is becoming a dominant language.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I come away asking myself if the natives would be better off if they became Christian. Is it really a step up from animism?  Is it worse to fear the dings inflicted by malevolent spirits or the ultimate punishment of a "loving" God: Eternal Hell.
I favor sending: SCIENCE missionaries-- to debunk superstition and arouse wonder in the natives.
                          ENGINEERING missionaries--- to inspire  a can-do spirit in the natives.
                          AGNOSTIC missionaries to acquaint the natives with the ULTIMATE MYSTERY                                                  of life---to demonstrate to them TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY.
                                               (the joyous philosophy of I DON'T KNOW ISM)
                          HISTORY missionaries to unfold the story of how we got to here.
 It pleases me that some governments forbid contact with hitherto uncontacted tribes---India and Brazil have led the way.


Enid Verdant said...

I think you nailed it right here:

AGNOSTIC missionaries to acquaint the natives with the ULTIMATE MYSTERY of life---to demonstrate to them TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY.

If there's one thing that distinguishes Americans, it's a fear of ambiguity. We just HAVE to fit things into categories in order to deal with them: race (most particularly), politics, religion, almost any value you can think of. Once we've put things into the "correct" category, we know how to deal with them.

I am American by choice -- the most notable difference between Americans and others is how we deal with ambiguity. And there I go, putting things in categories so I can cope with them.

Al Christensen said...

But, golly, Christianity would be much simpler, fearing only one erratic deity instead of thousands of them.

Anonymous said...

For the past 30 years I've been studying the Science of Intelligent Systems and Animists probably come closest to understanding them. Intelligent Systems are both invisible and immaterial. The closest you come to experiencing them is in your thoughts, dreams and computers.

Basically, Intelligent Systems are made of both Knowledge and Understanding. Knowledge can be stored as information in books or disks and require no energy to maintain its state. Understanding always requires energy (life) to understand stored knowledge. Your computer is a crude imitation of an Intelligent System with software knowledge and an understanding engine (CPU chip). Without power your computer is dead and its software is both invisible and immaterial.

Breaking down Intelligent Systems; there are different types of Knowledge: True, False, Questions, Contradictions, Procedural, and Nonsense... There are also different Knowledge Contexts that help organize the intelligent system: Name, Authors, Purpose, Environment, Language, Configuration, Operation, Owners, Market and Value. A proper Understanding Engine can put all this knowledge together into a living intelligent system.

We are all Intelligent Systems, in fact every cell of our body has hundreds of them. There are super human Intelligent Systems like Religions, Corporations, Governments, Cults, and Herds that use multiple humans and animal (understanding engines) to realize their motives and existence. They all require energy (life) for these invisible immaterial (spirit) systems to operate.

The problem with Intelligent Systems is that they can operate very well on False Knowledge and this is where the Animists get the idea of Evil Spirits and they are very wise to be afraid. Our modern society operates almost entirely on False Knowledge (lies) that are invisible and immaterial yet control everything our intelligent systems do.

Without a new understanding of Intelligent Systems, we are doomed.

Randy said...

Hi Dave: And if this isn't Dave, I want you to meet Dave---a friend of mine who has come up with this exact concept. I've tried my best to grasp it---with limited success, but I feel in my bones that you're on to something profound---and that some of my readers might understand. If there's a place where an expanded version is available, let us know.

Paula Bruno said...

I absolutely agree with Anonymous. I've never heard of the Science of Intelligent Systems but he/she hit the nail on the head as far as how modern society operates on false knowledge. The bible appears to be the main source of false knowledge and even though it has some good directives such as the Golden Rule and some of the ten commandments, there is one statement in the Bible which has screwed up the whole world. It is part of that false knowledge. "God gave man dominion over the heavens and the earth." If he did, he should not have because we can't handle that kind of responsibility. I vote to leave the Animists alone. They are fine just the way they are.

Erin Erin said...

Hi Randy,
Great Blog!

Thinking and Destiny
The Descent of Man

The Eternal order of Progression

First published 1946 by Harold Waldwin Percival

Discusses the Law of Thought

Discusses religions objection to thinking. Yikes!

Book was recommended by Fellow who designed computer software to decipher internet chatter in order to predict future trends.

I am only on chapter 5 It is Dry text but every time I need a break it gives me another excuse for a piece of pie. :)

Great Blog Randy!

Anonymous said...

anonymous, what do you mean by "false knowledge?" The western ideal is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you (i.e. - force others to be like you) instead of "don't do to others as you wouldn't want done to you" (i.e. - leave 'em alone.)

Anonymous said...

We all have beliefs we acquired growing up. Odds are many of them are not factual, but the human mind can't differentiate once they are firmly lodged in the subconscious. What you believe, you perceive. Natural phenomena are interpreted or filtered through these beliefs. 'Evidence' is seen everywhere and used to reinforce the beliefs. Pitting one set of beliefs against another usually doesn't work. Pick a side in any conflict between individuals, groups, tribes, nations and there is no doubt who knows the truth and who does not. In a fundamental sense, all beliefs are false if they are not shown to be based on solid fact. I for one would like to know what the world looks like stripped of all conceptual overlays and belief structures. Scrape the symbolic crud off the windshield and actually see what's out there on the road ahead.

Randy said...

Thank you anonymous for your comment and analysis. You are a person I would like to know.
And thank you for that great "crud on the windshield" metaphor.
Here is a point I wrestle with: Can we live "effective" lives if we completely divest ourselves of metaphysics (guesses about the possible WHY of existence)
Most of the dominant prevalent guesses (religions)do not know that they are GUESSES--leading to most of the conflict in the world.
My suggestion to all who feel the need to guess--is to build our "guesses" on top of the current scientific understanding--never in conflict with it---and to constantly tweak our guesses as new information comes to life.
To those who feel no impulse to guess: REALLY??? No curiosity about a possible purpose??

solo surfen said...

It also " pleases me that some governments forbid contact with hitherto uncontacted tribes" & that there is a 'save the whales' group that is defending tribes’ right to remain uncontacted, to remain on their land, to remain autonomous. 2 of my favorite vidios of theirs I like to introduce people to the organization are - There You Go! & 'Primitive' (PSA 30 sec) I hope they are enjoyed!

The arrogance of stone age vs industrial age, Christianity vs animism, spartanism vs consumerism. ;) ;)

Peace out!