Science, medicine, and quackery

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8 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

"Stay intact culturally" means what?

Like this...



... and not like this.




8 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

I don't know what remember the Inuits (or what they think they remember).

This is what they say. Do you want to take it or not, it's your call.

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For me, it's just a usual folk history, "in the past the humans were better".

Especially when


A Tuniit man could lift a 1,000 pound seal on his back, or drag a whole walrus.


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47 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

For me, it's just a usual folk history, "in the past the humans were better".

Some of it are indeed hyperbole. Some are corrupted to a large degree.

But sometimes, it does help you.


A Traditional Story of Mangareva, as told by Teakarotu Barthelemy, recorded by Sam Low

On Thursday, our island host - Bruno Schmidt - arrived to take us to the other side of the island to speak with a man who knew many of the ancient legends of Mangareva. We found Teakarotu Barthelemy at his home amidst a grove of orange trees near the beach. A man of ample girth and impressive dignity, he sat on his lanai overlooking the ocean and told us the story of a great Mangarvan navigator who set out to find Rapa Nui, just as we will do when the weather clears.

"Anua Matua chose his crew and set out for Rapa Nui," Teakarotu told us. "He arrived at an island that is called Maka Tea and gave it the name of Pua Pua Moku and he left his daughter and her husband there along with some of his crew and sailed on to the island now called Elizabeth and also gave it the name of Pua Pua Moku. After that they sailed on to Pitcairn Island, which he gave the name of He Ragi (pronounced He Rangi). During the voyage they searched for Rapa Nui but they passed it by mistake and found themselves in a cold place which they called Tai Koko. This place is called Cape Horn today [at the tip of South America]. They realized that they were not at a good place so they turned back and sailed by the stars in the direction they came to try and find Rapa Nui. Te Agi Agi (Te Angi Angi) was now the navigator and captain. When they finally arrived at Rapa Nui they gave the island the name of Ma Ta Ki Te Ragi (Ma Ta Ki Te Rangi) which means "the eyes look at the heavens," and another name of Kairagi (Kairangi) which means "eating the sky'" and they also called the island Pouragi (Pourangi) which means (pole eating the sky)."

"To understand the reason for the names," explained our host - Bruno Schmidt - "you must think what the island looked like to them as they approached from the sea. They saw a tall mountain thrusting up into the sky as if it were eating the sky and their eyes, following the mountain, were looking at the heavens."

Teakarotu explained that he had learned the legend from his grandmother who was a famous singer and kahu of ancient traditions. His grandmother was called Toaatakiore Karara and she helped Sir Peter Buck, the famous anthropologist who visited the islands in the 1930s with a Bishop Museum expedition. Toaatakiore Karara sang over 160 songs for Sir Peter which he recorded.

Oral traditions are subject to a great deal of change over the years and it is probable that the legend, as told by Teakarotu is not as accurate today as it was in the days of his grandmother. The islands listed, for example, do not make much sense today. According to Bruno, Maka Tea means "elvated atoll" - which could be anywhere but probably should be Oeno Island, a landmark for our voyage. Elizabeth may be Henderson Island. Tai Koko, which Teakarotu identified as Cape Horn means "place of heavy seas." Teakarotu also told us, that Te Agi Agi called Rapa Nui by the name of Te Pitu Te Henua, but this seems doubtful because, as Bruno told us, this is a Tahitian name. But the legend is interesting because it suggests the great difficulty that even the ancient navigators had when trying to find Rapa Nui. It also suggests that at least one canoe may have strayed past Rapa Nui and discovered the great continent of South America.


Friday - October 8 - Last day at Sea

When it became obvious that we did not have enough time to tack against the wind to reach the anchorage at Hanga Roa before nightfall, I think that we were all relieved - happy to have one more evening at sea. And what an evening! The wind was warm and gentle. The sky, once having cleared by mid-day, remained clear into the night. The lights of Hanga Roa glistened on the eastern horizon. We sailed along the coast of Rapa Nui, some distance off, until the watch change at ten PM when we tacked toward the island - a dark smudge on the horizon against a glittering curtain of stars.

The 6-10 watch lingered on deck, enjoying the last few moments of comradeship with each other and with our canoe. We watched Jupiter and Saturn rise over the island to starboard and to port the Pleades and their guardian, Taurus. We did not speak - yet our presence together on Hokule'a's heaving deck expressed more deeply then words the bond that has been made in the last seventeen days at sea.

Our view of Rapa Nui between Hokule'a's twin manus must have been the same - except for the lights of the town - that the crew of a similar canoe beheld many centuries earlier. Their exact Homeland is lost in time but legends tell of a great king - Hotu Matua - who settled this island. He must have heard what we hear - the soft lap of waves on twin hulls, the rush of wind over sails, the murmur of sailors as they sit shoulder to shoulder waiting for the first scent of land to reach them. Hotu Matua may have looked forward to landfall with more anticipation than we do, however. Our feelings are mixed. We are proud of our accomplishment and eager to explore the island and then to return home to our families. Yet there is also an edge of sadness. This voyage is ending - the adventure is almost over. For a short time we have been privileged to share a tiny world with each other Surrounded by an immense sea and forced to turn inward, we have discovered a harmony within ourselves and with the natural world that the rush of daily life on land isolates us from. It has been rare gift.

In the morning, when the 6-10 watch takes the deck, wisps of cloud surge from Rano Kau, the volcanic caldera that rises to the south of Hanga Roa. Motu Kau Kau is a knife thrusting from the sea - a slash of sunlight behind it. Mist spills off dark cliffs. The ocean is the color of gunmetal. A towering mountain of torn cumulus stalls over Motu Nui. In the saddle between Rano Kau and Maunga Tere Vaka, the island's tallest mountain, we see Hanga Roa. Ivory breakers rim the seam between ocean and cold black cliffs.

Shantell Ching collects passports as the rest of us methodically strip Hokule'a's decks of bagged sails, boxes of food, cooking utensils and personal gear - stowing them below - making the canoe ready for port. Kama Hele swarms with sailors garbed in red slickers doing the same tasks.

Landfall is imminent. Much too soon the sea borne routine of work and caring for each other will be broken. It is a sad thought - one that we gratefully put aside - concentrating instead on the details of readying our canoe for port.

Where I live we still have stories of various 'magics' and unthinkable physical feats - the difference is, as late as 2 generations ago, those capabilities were still very widespread and common; my father witnessed one of them himself - one possessed by his own uncle (one of my grandfather). It infamously gave our forces during the National Struggle, armed only with makeshift weaponry, an equal footing with the Dutch/Allied forces who were armed with advanced weaponry - that happened as late as 1950s, my dad was born in late 1960s. If you're strong-willed you can gain those powers today as well, but they do come with a lot of trade-offs.


You're free to either believe it or dismiss it. But if you've seen one, it's probably very difficult to say otherwise.

Edited by YNM

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