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Myth as Proto-Science

Myth as Proto-Science

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Myth as Proto-Science

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  1. Myth as Proto-Science

  2. How Lansones Became Edible Once upon a time the fruit of the lansone-tree was very poisonous. Its very juice could make a man sick with leprosy. One day a very religious old man was passing through a forest to attend the fiesta of the neighboring town. When he reached the middle of the thick wood, he became very hungry and tired, and he felt that he could go no farther. No matter where he looked, he could see nothing but the poisonous lansone-trees. So he lay down on the soft grass. Hardly a moment had passed, when a winged being from heaven approached him, and said, “My good Christian pilgrim, take some of these lansone-fruits, eat them, and you will be much relieved.” At first the old man would not do it, but the angel picked some of the fruits and handed them to the pilgrim. He then ate, and soon his hunger was removed. After thanking Heaven, he continued on his journey. Ever since this time, lansones have been good to eat. All the fruits still bear the marks of the angel’s fingers.

  3. Why would a myth state that lansones, an edible fruit, were originally not edible? • What about this myth exemplifies “proto-science”? • How does this story compare to Adam & Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Bible?

  4. Lansiumdomesticum, also known as langsat or lanzones, is a species of tree in the family Meliaceae. The plant, which originates from western Southeast Asia, bears edible fruit. It is the provincial flower for the Indonesian province of South Sumatra. The fruit is can be elliptical, oval, or round, measuring 2 to 7 centimetres (0.79 to 2.8 in) by 1.5 to 5 centimetres (0.59 to 2.0 in) in size. It is covered by thin, yellow hair and a sheathe of leaves that do not fall off. The skin of the fruit is think, approximately 6 millimetres (0.24 in). The fruit contains 1 to 3 seeds, flat, and bitter tasting; the seeds are covered with a thick, clear-white aril that is tastes sweet and sour.[1] The sweet juicy flesh contains sucrose, fructose, and glucose.[3] For consumption, cultivars with small or undeveloped seeds and thick aril are preferred.

  5. Why Cows’ Skin is Loose There was once a poor farmer who possessed a cow and a carabao. These two animals were his only wealth. Every day he led them to the field to plough. He worked his animals so hard, that they often complained to him; but the cruel master would not even listen to their words. One day the cow, who had grown tired of this kind of life, said to the carabao, “Let us run away from this evil man! Though we are very dirty, he is not willing for us even to take a bath. If we remain here with him, we shall be as ugly and as filthy as pigs. If we run away from him, however, he will have to do his own work, and then we shall be revenged. Hurry up! Let us go!”

  6. The spirit of the carabao was aroused: he jumped with a loud roar, and said, “I too have long been meditating escape, but I hesitated because I was afraid you might not be willing to join me in flight. We are so ill-treated by our cruel master, that God will have pity on us. Come on! Let us go!” The two animals at once set out, running as fast as they could, always trying to avoid any human beings. When they came to a river, the cow said, “We are very dirty. Let us take a bath before we go on! The water of this river is so clean and clear, that we shall soon be as clean as we were before our contemptible master got hold of us.” The carabao answered, “We would better run a little farther, for perhaps our master is already in pursuit of us. Besides, we are very tired now, and I have been told that to take a bath when one is tired injures the health.”

  7. “Don’t believe that!” returned the cow. “Our bodies are so big, that we do not need to fear sickness.” At last the carabao was persuaded by the arguments of the cow; and he said, “All right! Let us take off our clothes before we go into the water!” The two animals then stripped themselves of all their clothes, then they plunged into the deep, cool river. They had been in the water less than an hour, however, when they saw their master coming after them with a big stick in his hand. They ran up to where their clothes were; but in their haste the carabaoput on the cow’s clothes, and the cow got the carabao’s. As soon as they were dressed, they continued their mad flight; and as their master was very tired, he had to give up the chase and return home disappointed. Since the carabao was larger than the cow, the skin on the cow’s neck has been loose ever since, because the two friends were separated and could never exchange clothes again. And likewise the skin on the carabao’s neck has been tight ever since these two animals made their mistake in dressing.

  8. Do you think people once believed that animals could take of their skin like clothing? • How does this myth compare to the current scientific explanation for cows’ loose skin? • How/why do you think this myth originated? • How does this Filipino myth portray animals, humans, and gods?

  9. Many animals have dewlaps. These dewlaps are usually of a different color from the rest of their body and when enlarged they make the animal seem much bigger than it really is, used primarily when warding off predators and for males to attract females during the mating season. Lizards which have mobile dewlaps usually accompany their dewlap movement with head bobs and other displays. Scientists are unsure about what this is meant to communicate, but it is prevalent when the lizards are courting.The dewlap is also found on female rabbits, such as the New Zealand white rabbit. While pregnant, the female rabbit will pluck fur from the dewlap to line a nest for her babies. Although these masses can be referred to as dewlaps, they are formed by stored fat. The Dewlap is also seen in both genders of moose, which may or may not be an indicator of status.

  10. Why the Crow is Black (Visayan) A long time ago, when Bathala, the god of the land, was peacefully ruling his dominions, he had many pets. Among these, his two favorites were the dove and the crow. The crow was noted for its bright, pretty plumage. One day Bathala had a quarrel with Dumagat, the god of the sea. Bathala’s subjects had been stealing fish, which were the subjects of Dumagat. When Dumagat learned of this, and could get no satisfaction from Bathala, he retaliated. He opened the big pipe through which the water of the world passes, and flooded the dominions of Bathala, until nearly all the people were drowned. When the water had abated somewhat, Bathala sent the crow, his favorite messenger, to find out whether all his subjects had been killed. The crow flew out from the palace where the god lived, and soon saw the corpses of many persons floating about. He descended, alighted on one, and began to eat the decaying cadaver. When Bathalasaw that it was late and that the crow had not returned, he sent the dove on the same errand, telling the bird also to find out what had become of the first messenger.

  11. The dove flew away, looking for any signs of life. At last he saw the crow eating some of the decaying bodies. Immediately he told the crow that the king had sent for him, and together they flew back to Bathala’s palace. When the two birds arrived at the king’s court, the dove told Bathala that the crow had been eating some dead bodies, and consequently had not done what he had been sent to do. Bathala was very angry at this disobedience. Without saying a word, he seized his big inkstand filled with black ink and threw it at the crow, which was immediately covered. Bathala then turned to the dove, and said, “You, my dove, because of your faithfulness, shall be my favorite pet, and no longer shall you be a messenger.” Then he turned to the crow, and said, “You, foul bird, shall forever remain black; you shall forever be a scavenger, and every one shall hate you.” So that is why to-day the dove is loved by the people, and the crow hated. The crows to-day are all black, because they are descendants of the bird punished by Bathala.

  12. Why the Crow is Black (Ilocano) The first crow that lived on the earth was a beautiful bird with a sweet voice. The universe was ruled over by the god Sinukuan, and all his subjects were either plants or animals. No human beings were yet in existence. Sinukuan lived in a beautiful palace surrounded with gardens of gold. In these gardens lived two crows who sang sweet songs, and did nothing but fly about among the flowers and trees. Their golden plumage was beautiful to see, and Sinukuan took great delight in them. Once a terrible pestilence visited the earth, and a great many of Sinukuan’s animals began to die. In his distress and sorrow, Sinukuan at once set out and made a tour of his kingdom to give what relief he could to his suffering subjects. After being away three days, he returned to his palace, his mind weighted down by all the death and sickness he had seen. When he reached his garden, he called to his two birds to come sing for him and relieve his mental anguish; but neither of the birds came. Sinukuan went through his gardens, but he called in rain. “O birds! where are you?” he cried. Thinking that perhaps they had flown away and had been attacked by the pestilence, he determined to make another trip through his kingdom and look for them.

  13. He had not walked a mile, when, approaching a number of dead animals, he saw the pair feasting on the decaying flesh. When they saw their master, they bowed their heads in shame. Had not Sinukuanrestrained himself, he might have killed them that very moment; but he thought of a better way to punish them. “Now,” he said, as he cursed them, “from this time on, you shall be very ugly black birds; you shall lose your beautiful voice, and shall be able to make only a harsh cry.” From that time on, those birds were black, and their offspring are the crows of to-day.

  14. The Dove and the Crow (Zambales) A few days after the inundation of the world, God sent a crow down to earth to see how deep the water was on the land. When the crow flew down to earth, he was surprised to see so many dead animals everywhere. It came to his mind that perhaps they would taste good, so he alighted on one of them and began to eat. He was so very much pleased with the abundance of food about him, that he forgot all about the command God had given him, and he remained on the earth. On the third day, since the crow had not returned, God sent a dove down to earth to find out the depth of the water, and to make other observations of the things that had taken place on the earth. As the dove was a faithful creature, she did not forget what God told her.

  15. When she reached the earth, she did not alight on any dead animal, but alighted directly in the water. Now, the water was red from the blood of so many creatures that had been slain. When the dove stood in the bloody water, she found that it was only an inch deep. She at once flew back to heaven, where, in the presence of God, she related what she had seen on earth, while the crimson color on her feet was evidence of the depth of the water. After a short time the crow returned. He came before God, who spoke to him thus: “What made you so long? Why did you not return sooner from the earth?” As the crow had no good reason to give for his delay, he said nothing: he simply bent his head. God punished the crow by putting a chain on his legs. So that to-day the crow cannot walk: all he can do is to hop from place to place. The dove, which was faithful to God, is now the favorite pet bird the world over. The red color on her feet may be seen to-day as evidence that she performed her duty.

  16. Crows are members of the Family Corvidae (jays, crows, magpies, ravens, etc.), and almost all members of this family are strikingly colored.  The two sexes are not marked differently, so this doesn't seem to be a result of sexual selection by only one sex, as when female selection results in brightly colored plumage in species such as peacocks, etc.But in many flocking birds, coloration like this serves as quick species identification among the members of the same species.  Birds are very visual, have excellent color vision, and use their eyes not only to seek prey, but also to identify predators, members of other species, and--very importantly--members of their *own* species.

  17. Which Elements are Present? Animism Proto-science Differences between region Attitude toward animals Portrayal of gods Postcolonialism Possible influences or origins How is the Filipino view/portrayal of Christian God different from the European version?