Summary Of The Notion Of Witchcraft

526 words - 3 pages

This essay mainly examines the phenomenon existing in Zande thought, where witchcraft explains the relation between men and the bad luck and is the prescribed way to solve it. According to Azande, any misfortune fall on anyone at any time and in relation to any of the manifold activities of his life is probably due to witchcraft.Witchcraft to an Azande is a commonplace happening to him. The author further gives detailed examples to illustrate that the witchcraft participates in all misfortunes and is the idiom which Azande speak of them. However, he also pointed out that the Azande don't attempt to account for all causations of misfortunes to be mystical causations alone. He uses ...view middle of the document...

In other words, what they explained by witchcraft is only the specific conditions among a chain of causations.Also, using example of his friend Ongosi and people getting injured under a collapsing granary, author shows the further deeper difference between our thoughts and the Azande. While we think the two things are independent and only by accident happen at the same time, the Azande uses witchcraft to fill in the missing link. Witchcraft in this case explains the coincidence of the two happenings.The perception of how events occur in Zande mind is as clear as our own. Their belief in witchcraft is not contradicting empirical knowledge of causation. However, as it is the only social factor in the chain of events causing the miserable outcome, and has the significance for social behavior, Azande tend to speak solely of it. Yet it is arbitrary to decide that the Azande only recognize witchcraft and ignore the natural causes that we deem to be logical.However, there are also exclusions of using Witchcraft. Just like we deem scientific explanations to be irrelevant or insignificant in axiomatic law and morals, Azande also do not accept a man to plead by mystical causations from stealing, lying, adultery etc. breach of a taboo may also cause failure, which in this case witchcraft will not be sought to be attributive.Furthermore, witchcraft is not the only reason given for failure, incomepetence and other personal reasons such as laziness will also present in certain cases.Also, people may view differently. The one who suffers from misfortune may claim it to be due to witchcraft when others might also think its only cause he is stupid.

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