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Huli Worldview
The Hela tribes of Papua New Guinea (The most well known of which being the Huli) believe the universe was created with a certain amount of fertile substance that sustains the world's continuing existence. This substance degrades and dissipates over time, and once gone could not be regained (with the exception of some shamans who claimed to be able to make fertile soil fall from the air (which interestingly enough may have its roots in an ancient eruption dropping ash on the land hundreds of years ago which left its mark on their mythology)). When all of the fertile substance is gone, that will be the end of the world.

The Hela tribes believe that moral behaviour is that which causes this fertile substance to dissipate slower, and immoral behaviour is that which speeds up this process. This is reflected directly in the vitality of the land a group lives on. Thus, the Duna believe that it is morally right that the land they live on is so fertile while other peoples' lands are so terrible, because they have been living morally for so long while other peoples haven't been taking proper care of theirs, such as surrounding tribes of theirs that are selling out to loggers and miners.

Western Culture is very limited by their belief that suffering is the be all end all of moral systems, or from those people who are open minded enough to consider moral systems not based on suffering on the more base level that a moral system must be based on maximising something. Tolerance is touted as such a high virtue by so many people who are intolerant of beliefs that don't match their own, and I feel like the only reason this has spread so far is because the diversity of beliefs people encounter nowadays is vastly less than it used to be since even remote cultures have been over-ridden with western values. In just this small island is such a huge diversity of wildly different cultures it's amazing, but surely back before civilisation spread everywhere this was the place across the planet. Of course you'll never agree with everyone, and you'll never find a concept that all humans agree with. But the difference was that people left each other be.

Minus the spiritual aspects and the ideas about reinvigorating the fertility of the land, this pre-contact believe system of the Duna and Huli closely matches how I see the world. I would hope it not to go extinct.

More Information:

Quote:These peoples also hold that the world is bound up in a process of loss, degradation and decline. This is expressed in the way they engage with their environment and in the ways they perceive and interpret environmental and social changes. Ethnographers of the Duna and Huli have repeatedly commented on this all-pervading theme (Frankel 1986; Goldman 1983; Ballard C. 1995; Strathern 1991; Stürzenhofecker 1993; Haley 2002b), which is common to the region more generally (see also Jorgensen 1981, 1985; Poole 1986; Biersack 1991, 1995)...These myths also reveal that the way of the world is such that the fertile substance, which sustains the universe, by nature dissipates, and that the expenditure of this substance will bring about the world’s end.

The peoples living in the western end of SHP similarly share the belief that they are part of a regional system deeply rooted in mythology and ritual, and that the fertility of their region is morally constituted. This means they must act and behave in certain ways for their world to be fertile. Such was the basis of their pre-colonial cosmologies...

Even today, despite the almost complete absence of indigenous ritual practice, Duna hold to the belief that moral behaviour conserves fertile substance, and that immoral behaviour sees it depleted and will ultimately bring about the world’s end. Ongoing fertility continues to be something Duna must negotiate through appropriate moral behaviour and proper social intercourse (Haley 2002b). Indeed, it is their actions which render specific substances, particularly (but not exclusively) fluid substances, either inimical to growth or capable of inducing fertility. Linked to this is the notion that inappropriate moral behaviour can render a previously fertile substance infertile (see also Ballard C. 2000:210). Mineral resources are seen as examples of fertile substance which originate from deep within the root of the earth. As such they must be properly handled and engaged with in a morally appropriate manner. Duna hold that social intercourse in relation to mineral extraction must also be properly managed, and that the flow of resources elsewhere must be curtailed, lest the fertile substance sustaining the world be depleted at a rate which brings about the end of the world.
Quote:Precontact Huli cosmology posited a moral constitution for the fertility of the universe in which the health of people and the land reflected the state of moral order in Huli society. Failure in social behaviour, which could be gauged from the declining condition of the "skin" of the land, was attributed to an inexorable process of loss of the knowledge of customary lore.
Thanks for posting this. I'm gonna read and digest it and post some thoughts afterwards.

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