A “Survival Ethic” And Tailored Morality

1048 words - 5 pages

In a number of African Traditional Religions there exists a varying sense of morality. In Mama Lola author Karen McKarthy Brown states that Vodou morality is a “survival ethic.” Brown goes further and states that morality in Vodou is tailored to the situation and to the specific person or group involved. Brown elaborates by stating that Each spirit has a moral pull, but no one spirit prevails in every situation (Brown pg.242). One of Brown's best explanations of why this is so is because there is no Golden age in the past and no heaven in the future so nothing is valued higher than survival of oneself and the survival of one's group. (Brown pg.242). Furthermore, Vodou is not a religion that ...view middle of the document...

6).
When looking at how the spirits both help and sometimes lash out on practitioners this clarifies how even the spirits morality and function varies. These Vodou spirits mirror the full range of possibilities inherent in the particular area of life they preside over (Brown pg.6). By not understanding this varying or tailored morality some observers portray the Vodou spirits as demonic or that Vodou is a religion without morality (Brown pg.6). It's not that Vodou has no sense of morality it is that morality in Vodou is fluid and not concrete.
Vodou morality varies from each practitioner and in every circumstance. Virtue for both the Iwas and those who serve them is less an inherent character trait than a dynamic state of being that demands ongoing attention and care (Brown pg. 6). Virtue is also achieved by maintaining responsible relationships, relationships characterized by appropriate gifts that are tangible like food, shelter, money and gifts that are intangible like respect, deference, love (Brown pg.6). Brown shares, when things go as they should, these gifts flow in continuous, interconnected circles among the living and between the living and the spirits or ancestors (Brown pg.6). In the ongoing cycle of prestation and counter-prestation, each gives and receives based on their place in the social hierarchy, that exempts neither the young child nor the most aged and austere spirit (Brown pg.7). Moral persons are thus those who give what they should, as defined by who they are (pg.7).
In relation to how morality functions within the Vodou religion there also exists a wavering morality within the practice of Santeria. In Santeria the Yoruba revere ancestors because they recognize the community of the present must look to the past for moral example (Murphy pg.8). Another way the ancestors are present in Yoruba life is in the depths of the human soul (Murphy pg.10). The Yoruba believe that...

Find Another Essay On A “Survival Ethic” and Tailored Morality

The Bielski Brothers in Belarus: A Story of Survival, Racism and World War II

556 words - 2 pages “The Bielski Brothers” is a story of three amazing brothers, their journey of survival and experience they faced in World War II. Peter Duffy places this extraordinary story of survival in context by describing the Bielskis lives and experiences , quoting from Tuvia Bielskis previously unknown journal, and revealing the sociopolitical history, including the anti-Semitism of Belarus, a region the Bielski Brother’s had grown up in. WWII was

What Factors best explain the popularity and survival of Luther's ideas? (AS grade A essay)

1581 words - 6 pages biblical texts in hiding.During Luther's time within the castle the role of other reformers became increasingly important in the survival of Lutheran ideas. Philip Melanchton was a crucial missionary. He helped to refine Luther's theology and continue the reformation in Wittenberg. Other missionaries aided the diffusion of the reformation across the empire such as Brucer in Strasburg. By the mid 1520s it became clear that the only way to remove the

Prompt: Is Israel’s very survival dependent on the creation of a stable and viable Palestinian state?

851 words - 4 pages Prompt: Is Israel’s very survival dependent on the creation of a stable and viable Palestinian state? Let us have ambitions; ambitions to move beyond the violence and occupation, to the day when two states, Palestine and Israel, can live together side by side in peace and security. ~King Abdullah II. In the country of Israel there are two conflicting ethnic/religious groups, the Israelis and the Palestinians. Israelis have most of the power

"Jane Eyre" and A Picture of Dorian Gray's emphasis on individual morality

614 words - 2 pages It is important to read Jane Eyre and A Picture of Dorian Gray in order to catch the subtle messages about the importance of individual morality.Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte provides readers with a message that morality is a manner of acting, rather than speaking. Bronte uses satire to illustrate how religion preached but not followed is useless. The first example of this comes while Jane is at Gateshead. "God will punish her: he might strike

Analysis of Everyman as a medieval morality play and an allegory

711 words - 3 pages The mediaval English drama “Everyman” is an example of a morality play and a naïve allegory. The plays show the reckoning and judgement of the sinful main character, Everyman. Death is sent to him by God and he faces the task of a journey to save his immortal soul. The play effectively carries out the assumption that people are to be judged at the end of their lives through plot, teaches the lesson that a person’s life must

Cultural Morality: Comparative Analysis between a Fine Balance and the Poisionwood Bible

1500 words - 6 pages Cultural Morality Comparative Analysis between A Fine Balance and the Poisionwood Bible Cultural relativism really emphasizes the concept that each individual cultural belief differs from one societal class to another; in consequence, moral and ethical principles are related to what a certain culture perceives to be considered acceptable or unacceptable, right or wrong. Jack Donnelly, a teacher at the University of Denver, he states, "when

The Texas Horned Lizard – A Highly Adapted Species for Survival in Desert Environments and Defense Against Predators

1357 words - 6 pages a large abdomen, which allows it to consume hundreds of ants and other insects a day, but consequently lowers its agility and speed (Pianka & Hodges 1995). In lieu of this, it has adapted other mechanisms for survival, such as camouflaged scales. The coloration and texture of its scales allows it to blend in with the desert sand and rocks where it inhabits (Pianka & Hodges 1995). Instead of trying to run away, the lizard lowers its body to the

Integrating Business Values: The Legality, Morality, And Social Responsibility Of A Woman Who Uses RU 486 To Terminate Pregnancy

7325 words - 30 pages days. It was like food poisoning. I couldn't keep anything down.""I went in on Friday and took the second dose of medication. After 15 minutes there was a tiny bit of cramping, but less than menstrual cramps. After two hours the cramps got stronger, and I started using a heating pad on my belly. I went to the restroom. When I started to stand up, it was like a faucet turned on. There was a steady stream of blood. I passed a golf-size blood clot

An analysis of the three main characters in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and the importance of survival to each

704 words - 3 pages Tennessee Williams definitely created very interesting characters when he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire. The main characters oppose each other in style, in speech, in lifestyle and in culture, but one thing they all seem to have in common is an inexplicable void in their life, an unhappiness and a great sense of incompleteness. The four main characters see their survival as very important and throughout the play it is evident how they undermine

Sexual Morality as a Social Problem The report should contain data collected from 20 people concerning 5 social problems with a summary and a likert scale

1413 words - 6 pages sexual morality scale is changing. That in the long run, what may now seem as a social problem i.e. homo sexuality may not be in the future.Let us go back to my introduction. I stated that the traditional stand on sexual morality is that sex should only be between a man and woman of legal age, within the confines of marriage with the expectation that they will be monogamous during their marriage. And that in my opinion that was why the society

Interpretation of "The Lottery" by Shirly Jackson-A tale of pointless violence, inhumanity, and senseless adherence, while unintentionally enlightening the readers with a morality lesson

1093 words - 4 pages those that ask "why" are often criticized or ostracized. By Jackson's successful exaggeration of the situation, she shows the absurdity of doing something just because its always been done. Obviously, Shirley Jackson effectively reveals a chilling tale of pointless violence, inhumanity, and senseless adherence, while unintentionally enlightening the readers with a morality lesson about not always following the crowd.This masterful short story

Similar Essays

Ethical Theories And Morality In A Company

2143 words - 9 pages in decision making processes and most applicable in every employee’s daily activities and the society. Managers usually struggle to find solutions to different evaluations and perceptions of the same actions which are personified in the different cultures and languages. Ethic overlaps with culture since it stands for the moral dimensions of how people are required to behave in this world. What a person values comes in to the question when dealing

Gary Paulsen: A Life Of Adventure And Survival

1194 words - 5 pages Gary Paulsen: A Life of Adventure and Survival Gary Paulsen’s whole life reflects his life of adventures and survival in the wilderness and his writing reflects his experiences. Living in the remote Minnesota woods Paulsen released Some Birds Don't Fly in 1966 (Trelease), and began his professional writing career and now has achieved three Newbery Honor Books with his novels - Hatchet, The Winter Room and Dogsong (Pendergast). Paulsen’s most

Cannibalism ? A Cultural, Psychopathic, And Survival Approach (Speech

866 words - 3 pages cultures. B.     We will then examine modern day cannibalism as justification for psychopathic actions. C.     And finally, we will see how cannibalism has been used as a means of survival. (Transition: Let us first look at cannibalism’s influence in prehistoric cultures.) Body I.     Cannibalism has etched its mark in many cultures around the world. A.   &nbsp

Domestic Animals And The Land Ethic: A Response To J. Baird Callicott

3257 words - 13 pages Domestic Animals and the Land Ethic: A Response to J. Baird Callicott Preface Both “Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce” by Mark Sagoff and “All Animals Are Equal” by Peter Singer seem to ignore a fundamental defining characteristic of animals, namely their level of domestication. These two essays’ assumptions and exclusions inspired me to think more about domestication. Partially through