I've been looking at some of the posts referring to:
> Robert Bacal On Complexity and Values LO8457 quoted an earlier
> contribution "In many areas of the world (China and Egypt are two) as soon
> as a, child is born the child is given water from the local river. If the
> child cannot survive the dysentary, etc. which results then the child
> cannot live in that region anyway." From this practice he suggests that
> there are no universal values.
On Sat, 13 Jul 1996, Thomas P Benjamin wrote:
> re: the practice of female infanticide in our rural areas.
> On the other hand there is another community who practice female
> infanticide due to the evils of Dowry. In all these cases, normally it is
> the second or subsequent female child that meets its fate.
> What we try to do in our work is to make systemic changes in their
> environment. Its not easy. Normally, we face resistance. Social
> activists normally make a hue and cry about such practices. While those
> cries do have their use, it highlights an aberration in the society, it
> does nothing to change the situation. I have seen female infants left dead
> in a hospital. The mother and relatives absconding. Today, Community
> development practitioners try to change the conditions. Many of these so
> called unpalatable practices stop on their own when conditions change.
> The practices that the community development workers are adopting comes
> close to the consepts in the Chapter on Systems thinking in the Field
One of the great dilemmas facing westerners is, on the one hand, we want
to change the world for the better, yet are beginning (finally) to
recognize that we don't have all the answers-and so we attempt to respect
and try to preserve the assorted cultures we come in contact with.
Where in the 19th century, many from England, America and other places
went to africa, china, south america, etc. in an attempt to "save those
savages" from themselves-and now have the unfortunate reputation as
medelers and foreign devils-We still need to face the fact that there are
a lot of really unsavery practices in ALL cultures (even ours), and some
form of change activity needs to be there, but it has to come from the
inside-not by us who attempt to impose our values on "them".
We can supply tools, coaching, encouragement and alternative points of
view, so as much as possible help other cultures see things that they take
as being normal as we might see them (yech!), but we also have to be open
to seeing our own "yech", because it is most definitely there.
I'm concerned that we stand on our lofty and politically correct pedistals
(what ever form those pedistals might take) and look down on "those poor,
dumb savages" and commit the same blunders our forbearers did when they
I can't comprehend the killing of any child. So cultures that engage in
it revolt me. But many of them can't comprehend how we treat our elderly,
so it seems we both need to change. lets make sure we keep learning a two
way street-because the moment we stop learning and start preaching, we've
Michael Erickson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>