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Re: Theos-World Emic/etic

Feb 10, 2002 01:47 PM
by Eldon B Tucker

At 07:25 PM 1/7/02 +0000, you wrote:
Having surfed a bit, I can now offer a link and a bit more
explanation. The terms originated in linguistics but are now
commonly used in anthropology. Pike and Harris respectively are the
authors most associated with these terms in the two fields. A link
explaining the terms further is:

The bottom line is insider/outsider. Which equates to
subjective/objective, of course. Insiders say "You can't really
understand x unless you're one of us, and approach it just as our
group does." Outsiders say "You can't possibly understand x unless
you look at from the standpoint of a detached observer rather than a
committed participant."

It's irritating but not unusual to be told by insiders that "We know
better than you because of our insider status." But it's far more
irritating (and rarer, fortunately) to be told that "you are morally
wrong, and an enemy, to approach this subject any other way than the
way we insiders do."


I've seen this happen in more than one way. On a flight to Salt
Lake City, for instance, I ended up on a plane loaded with Mormon
missionaries. I got to feel the outsider at the time.

Another way I've seen it happen is when on theos-l many years ago,
we got a "Daniel in the Lion's Den" type of xtian among us for a
while. He though he was there to "save our souls," and believed
he was acting as an representative for a superior spiritual system.
He just wasn't ready for the openness and diversity of belief, and
eventually became bewildered and left the list.

The biggest point in both cases was where the person or people
not only thought they had an special religious system, but could
not acknowledge other equally valid paths to Truth.

-- Eldon

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