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Male & Female Biology

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Author Topic: Male & Female Biology  (Read 2810 times)
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2007, 10:35:22 pm »


- From Wikipedia

(modern understanding, boreas)

Mana is a traditional term that refers to a concept among the speakers of Oceanic languages, including Melanesians, Polynesians, and Micronesians. It is a force or quality that resides in people, animals, and inanimate objects and that instills in the appreciative observer a sense of respect or wonder. In anthropological discourse, mana as a generalized concept has attained a significant amount of interest; often understood as a precursor to formal religion. It has commonly been interpreted as "the stuff of which magic is formed", as well as the substance of which souls are made.

Modern fantasy fiction, computer and role-playing games, have adopted mana as a term for magic points—an expendable resource out of which magic users form their magical spells.

Mana should not be confused with the Biblical manna (also spelled mana or mannah) which, according to the Bible (Exodus, chapter 16), provided sustenance for the Israelites.

Mana in Oceanic culture

The concept is important in Polynesian religion and its modern use is a result of the popularization of the concept by anthropology and, to a great extent, by certain varieties of fantasy fiction (see Mana in fantasy, below). In Polynesian culture (for example, Hawaiian and Māori) mana is most similar to the English concept of respect; sharing elements of respect, authority, power and prestige; however, it shares aspects of responsibility, balance and purity as well. The word’s meaning is complex because mana is a basic and important foundation to the Hawaiian concept of spirituality, religion, society and the whole of reality.

To have mana is to have influence and authority. This property and essence-quality of mana is not limited to persons—peoples, governments, places and inanimate objects can possess mana. In Hawaiian, mana loa means great power or almighty though akua would more commonly be used to refer to God.

Mana in Melanesian culture

Melanesian mana is thought to be a sacred impersonal force existing in the universe. Mana can be in people, animals, plants and objects. Similar to the idea of efficacy, or sometimes better known as luck, the Melanesians thought all success was traced back to mana. One could acquire or manipulate this luck in different ways (for example through magic). Certain objects that have mana can change a person’s luck.

Examples of such objects would be charms or amulets. For instance if a very prosperous hunter used a charm that had mana and he gave it to another person then people believed that the prosperous hunter’s luck would transfer to the next holder of the charm. Mana also means pride, in New Zealand Māori.

Universal archetype

The concept of mana has been in various other cultures the power of magic. However, it was not the only principle and others included the concept of sympathetic magic and of seeking the intervention of a specific supernatural being, whether deity, saint or deceased ancestor.

The magic of mana was embedded into all talismans and fetishes, whether devoted to ancient Gods, Roman Catholic saint relics, the spirits of the ancestors or the underlying element that makes up the universe and all life within it. The concept of mana has been used in various cultures to justify human sacrifices because the living-force or blood of sacrificial victims might contain supernatural powers whose offering would please a deity.

Similar cultural concepts

The concept of a life-energy inherent in all living beings seems to be a fairly universal archetype, and appears in numerous ancient religions and systems of metaphysics.

Analogies to mana in other societies include:

    * Roman mythology : numina
    * Algonquian-Wakashan mythology : manito
    * Australian Aboriginal mythology : maban
    * Egyptian mythology : ka
    * Finnish mythology : Väki
    * Greek mythology : ichor
    * Inuit mythology : inua, sila
    * Leni Lenape mythology : manetuwak
    * Norse mythology : seid
    * Salish-Kootenai mythology : sumesh
    * Yoruba mythology : oloddumare
    * Yoga : Kundalini
    * Basque mythology : Adur

Also related are the philosophical concepts of:

    * Chinese Philisophy  : qi (or chi), Tao
    * Japanese philosophy : ki, rei; Ryukyuan mabui
    * European alchemy and philosophy : aether, (or ether), quintessence
    * Hindu philosophy : prana
    * Tibetan Buddhism & Bön : Loong or lung.

Mana in anthropological discourse

Mana came to the attention of the anthropological community with the English missionary Robert Henry Codrington's (1830-1922) work The Melanesians (1891). It has since been discussed by anthropologists such as Emile Durkheim (1912), Marcel Mauss (1924), Claude Lévi-Strauss (1950) and Roger Keesing (1984).

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