cultuur in amsterdam oost watergraafsmeer
Pombo's & Sagel Genootschap ter Verbreiding van de Mythologie van de Amazone.
 
contactpersoonPieter Sagel
adresBredeweg 10
postcode/plaats1098 BP Amsterdam
e-mail
trefwoordenThe board of the Society for Dissemination of Amazonian Mythology consists of Claudia Pombo, Piet Sagel and David Pombo Costa.
An illustrated sample on Amazonian mythology can be seen at http://clpombo.wordpress.com/


Text dedicated to the memory of Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-2009).


The main objective of our society is to disseminate information about Amazonian myths, highlighting certain aspects of it. The Amazonian mythologies, transmitted from person to person during millennia, have been ingrained in the continuous experience of humans beings with the forest and its other life forms.

The Amazonian mythological reports, firstly collected in written form by explores, ethnologists and anthropologists from the end of the 19th century, were later systematically studied, compared and analyzed by the the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. With his work, he taught us that these reports, which for many readers seem to be a bunch of bizarre sequences of events, or a primitive form of grotesque imagery, are instead very meaningful and reveal a psychological substratum which is common to all peoples and cultures on Earth. The underlying messages, forming the essence of these reports, are the myths, as they represent the laws governing human actions and behavior toward an existence of integration with Nature.

Myths are not fairly tales. Mythology was also an important topic of research for the psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, who said that the main characterization of the human race is not language but mythology: mankind is the species which express myths and live governed by them. There are different kinds of myth and it is not so easy to know a myth in its essence. But, according to Jung, it is very necessary to be aware that our modern civilization is also governed by myths, although they can be different ones.

In fact, we are nowadays governed, amongst others, by the so called scientific myth. Not only are our minds under the spell of this myth, but we reached a point in which our own bodies, flesh and brain tissues are subtly being transformed by the myth, such that we are being impregnated by alien molecules and biochemical elements of artificial origin. Food processing, biomedical engineering, new industry of nano-particles combined with exposure of non natural levels of radiation, chemical pollution and other artificial conditions became the new environment in which we are living. Behind these facts are the modern myths as the scientific myth, which influences our social and economic organizations. How this specific myth became so powerful, is a matter for very deep reflection. Our industrial revolution was one of the effects of this.

Another myth, the myth of racial superiority, has been a frequent power in human history. When combined with the scientific myth, it can have dramatic consequences, for instance the fast destruction of the forests and their original cultures on Earth. These myths together, impregnating and modeling our education since the beginning of our so called civilized lives, make from Nature an object of scientific interpretation only, a source of exploration and exploitation. They allow not only the sacrifice of other species but of human beings as well. These myths teach us a great distance from Nature's original form. Influenced by these myths, by means of the manipulation of the physical matter, we are instruments of a threat to ourselves and other lives on the planet. These are the consequences of myths, which, nowadays, are just revealing our state of vulnerability not as real manipulators of Nature, but as `manipulated beings' for the purpose of Nature's destruction.

With respect to science, we must know that science in truth is not only one and a unique type of knowledge as our scientific myth tries to impose. As objective as science tries to be, it is still dependent on interpretations and tendencies. Can our traditional concept of science, concerning our physical and biological sciences -strongly governed by the idea that consciousness has an existence confined to the material stuff of the brain tissues, that observers have no role on `scientific objectivity' and due to these reasons the development of science is not under the `human responsibility'- have the power to actually liberate consciousnesses, for the support of life of future generations on Earth? No, it certainly cannot. We have already had an industrial revolution based on this traditional concept of science, detached from human objectivity. Now we need, amongst other things, a genuine scientific revolution based on a review of what science can be. And for this we must make use of all available knowledge, scientific (in the traditional sense) and non- scientific, without geographical boundaries, from the past as well as the present, to re-think our existence and the role of the diversity of our human cultures on Earth. The expression `human culture' is now adopted to emphasize the ones developed with the contribution from different genders, while it is known that there are still cultures on Earth being developed only by one gender.

It is our opinion that the Amazonian Knowledge is a part of the rich cultural heritage of the human kind and it must be protected. By people who do not know better, it is said that Amazonian cultures have no science. But there are several examples that show this is not true. Environmental problems were known since early times. Much before we experienced problems with badly adapted methodologies of fishing, Amazonian mythology had reports warning us about natural disasters coming from the misuse of resources. Much before our science tells us that exchange of gender, in a physical sense, could be possible on Earth, this possibility was present in the mythology as a dangerous proceeding. Much before our science defines psychosomatic diseases, this same mythology was telling how to deal with them. And many many other lessons about environment, social life and education, could have been taken from this mythology, if our own mythologies had not urged the destruction of the Amazonian cultures. The Amazonian Myths basically preach respect and communion with Nature in all its forms. Most of them reflect a religious-scientific integrated background which had the function to preserve life in the forest and the forest's life. After all, it becomes obvious, considering the age and the size of Amazonia, that its mythology fulfilled its purpose. And we can only conclude that our science, in the traditional sense of the term, was of no use there. This explains why it was not developed by Amazonian peoples.

It is certain that the Amazonian cultures are endangered, and with them the whole forest. They are endangered because the peoples who kept the knowledge and the forest alive, for all of us, instead to deserve our recognition, have been systematically killed, since the very beginning of our interactions. These cultures were such that only by means of their mythology one can learn about their social organizations, social behaviors and costumes in the original Amazonia region. These cultures reveal a knowledge which could be comparable to our own if it could be well understood and interpreted. Knowledge which was developed in collaboration with the forest and its beings, protecting and preserving them all, during a period of time which we nowadays cannot even know with certainty, while in only one century all this has been systematically destroyed. In fact, life on Earth is changing to completely unexpected directions, species are being decimated and we humans also belong to the endangered species.

In spite of all, the Amazonian Myths, still remain. They still belong to the Human Culture and, consequently, they also belong to us. They are Myths of the Original Nature, the original Life, the one and the same ancestral Nature, from which we originated and to which we might not return. Should we think about all this, should we learn something from these old Myths? It is with these questions in mind that we invite you to read a collection of mythology coming from the ancestral Amazonia.


In the name of the board of the Society for Dissemination of Amazonian Mythology, Amsterdam, 2009.