Relationship Between Magic And Ritual

Sociobiology has made good progress with the explanation of animal social behaviour and social organization but has not so far made much progress with the understanding of human cultural activities. Conventionally, such activities are explained without reference to biological processes such as natural selection, survival, or inclusive fitness. This occurs, for instance, in social anthropology and sociology. Indeed, we relationship between magic and ritual need to recognize that there are major differences between the constituents of human cultures and of non-human social life, and also between the mechanisms by which those constituents come to achieve social co-ordination. Kinship systems provide one example. Such differences should not blind us to the fact that many facets of human cultural activity are ecologically adaptive. Economic anthropologists have long recognized this, but it is possible to extend the argument further than they have done, to bring in considerations of individual survival and reproductive success. Himalayan polyandry, together with its validating mythology, can be interpreted as a strategy by which inhospitable country is successfully exploited. The fact that human cultures can, like phenotypes of a physical kind, be seen, ultimately, as the outcome of natural selection, should not lead to the error of concluding that cultural rules are themselves extensions of underlying neural characteristics of the human brain. Cultures are the outcomes of conscious human thinking, and their structure is related to the logic of this thinking, not inherited neural structures. Evidence indicates that, depending on ecological circumstances, cultures either pursue a strategy of fast or slow reproduction, and this is interpreted as the result of cultural evolution, or, more precisely, the success or failure of individual decisions over time.