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INDIGENOUS Communities ARE Better At Preserving Biodiversity, Research Shows (1 Viewer)

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
The notion that accounts of events occurring hundreds of thousands of years ago can be accurately transmitted to the present by oral tradition is patently absurd. In "telephone", as anyone who's played it can tell you, simple messages often don't even make the length of a room without being garbled to the point of unintelligibility.

This argument is an excellent example of reductio ad absurdum by way of false equivalence. In fact, the word "absurd" is even used to denigrate the concept directly. Information transmitted orally over many human generations does not even come close to the behavioral constraints imposed on the "telephone game." Frankly, it's a colossal oversimplification that anyone who gives it more than superficial thought should be able to see. And for anyone interested, it would useful to read this informative Wiki article about "Oral Tradition."
 
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Sangahyando

Well-known member
This argument is an excellent example of reductio ad absurdum by way of false equivalence. In fact, the word "absurd" is even used to denigrate the concept directly. Information transmitted orally over many human generations does not even come close to the behavioral constraints imposed on the "telephone game." Frankly, it's a colossal oversimplification that anyone who gives it more than superficial thought should be able to see. And for anyone interested, it would useful to read this informative Wiki article about "Oral Tradition."
The main problem with oral tradition is "anyone can make up stuff". And yes, it is also subject to change over the generations.
Aside from that, it has to be handled with great caution, probably even more than other primary sources. Physical evidence, be it artifacts, biological matter, or genes, is a lot more reliable.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Oral traditions can record useful knowledge. For instance, there are numerous local legends which seem to be based on garbled stories of humans encountering now extinct animals which we know DID overlap with humans, even if they didn't make it to historical times. However they can't be taken at face value

For one, the farther you get from the event, the less likely the storytellers have knowledge of reality, the more likely they will jump to wrong interpretations, or conflate and add in details from there own experience (You can frequently see this in mythology...the oldest European legends of dragons are clearly based on pythons, but over time more and more features get added in).

Secondly, these exist as stories, and storytellers will exaggerate or bend the truth, with different tellings, for entertainment values or to provide moral lessons not obvious in the original tale

Finally, we are then interpreting all of these events from lens outside of the original culture. You see this a ton with cryptozoology or other paranormal fields: people assume a priori that X is true, so they hunt down any stories that seem to support that, and discard anything that contradicts it. So us, from the safety of our couches, are getting a very distorted and filtered view of the actual story.

In an example relevant to this thread for the last point, take Chosun Meteor story. I have no problem with the idea of Aboriginals observing a meteor strike, one that perhaps led to a fire that could have locally been very damaging to wildlife, and certainly would have seemed catastrophic to folks who live all of there lives in "small" area. Over time that story gets exagerrated, and then the folks recording or interpreting it, thousands of years later, suddenly think to link it with the end K-T extinction, because that is the only incident they can think of (due to lack of knowledge on earth history/astronomy) and because it fits there personal view points (that Aboriginals have always been present in a given land)
 

fugl

Well-known member
This argument is an excellent example of reductio ad absurdum by way of false equivalence. In fact, the word "absurd" is even used to denigrate the concept directly. Information transmitted orally over many human generations does not even come close to the behavioral constraints imposed on the "telephone game." Frankly, it's a colossal oversimplification that anyone who gives it more than superficial thought should be able to see. . ..

Wow, all those pejoratives mixed in with the jargon! Kinda gives your game away, Ed. . ..
 
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fugl

Well-known member
Oral traditions can record useful knowledge. For instance, there are numerous local legends which seem to be based on garbled stories of humans encountering now extinct animals which we know DID overlap with humans, even if they didn't make it to historical times. However they can't be taken at face value

For one, the farther you get from the event, the less likely the storytellers have knowledge of reality, the more likely they will jump to wrong interpretations, or conflate and add in details from there own experience (You can frequently see this in mythology...the oldest European legends of dragons are clearly based on pythons, but over time more and more features get added in).

Secondly, these exist as stories, and storytellers will exaggerate or bend the truth, with different tellings, for entertainment values or to provide moral lessons not obvious in the original tale

Finally, we are then interpreting all of these events from lens outside of the original culture. You see this a ton with cryptozoology or other paranormal fields: people assume a priori that X is true, so they hunt down any stories that seem to support that, and discard anything that contradicts it. So us, from the safety of our couches, are getting a very distorted and filtered view of the actual story.

In an example relevant to this thread for the last point, take Chosun Meteor story. I have no problem with the idea of Aboriginals observing a meteor strike, one that perhaps led to a fire that could have locally been very damaging to wildlife, and certainly would have seemed catastrophic to folks who live all of there lives in "small" area. Over time that story gets exagerrated, and then the folks recording or interpreting it, thousands of years later, suddenly think to link it with the end K-T extinction, because that is the only incident they can think of (due to lack of knowledge on earth history/astronomy) and because it fits there personal view points (that Aboriginals have always been present in a given land)

I think you underestimate both the power of the human imagination and the human propensity to attempt to ground its products in something real. All it takes to create monsters is to look at a lizard or a bug and to think: “how terrifying that would be if enlarged fifty or a hundred or a thousand times”. No former real-world megafauna need apply! And as you yourself have pointed out with reference to origin myths, memories of perilous sea crossings and arduous treks through new and strange lands are seldom retained in cultural memory for very long.

Think what happens over time to something as fundamental to our species as language, the principal vehicle for transmission of cultural traditions of all kinds. Historical linguists have estimated that under suitable conditions languages can change so radically over as short a span as 10,000 years as to appear completely sui generis, retaining no discernible traces of their relationship to their parents.
 
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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Sangahyando:
The main problem with oral tradition is "anyone can make up stuff".
Hmm, … have folks stopped making up stuff recently?

Mysticete:
Oral traditions can record useful knowledge. For instance, there are numerous local legends which seem to be based on garbled stories of humans encountering now extinct animals which we know DID overlap with humans, even if they didn't make it to historical times. However they can't be taken at face value …
Most of what Chosun has tried to present in this thread is land-management wisdom that has been passed down by non-written means over very long periods of time, — and which possibly reflects a somewhat different cognitive integration of 'reality.' Of the latter, I'm not quite sure, but I submit that what’s being missed by those who are quick to criticize/belittle is an unusual opportunity to peer outside the box and learn more about Indigenous People's thoughts and thought processes. Regardless of what anyone concludes, however, the knowledge domain itself clearly falls under the rubric of Conservation.
 

fugl

Well-known member
Most of what Chosun has tried to present in this thread is land-management wisdom that has been passed down by non-written means over very long periods of time

“Wisdom”, an unexpected word from your normally oh-so “scientific” lips. By it, I take it, you (and Chosun) mean something like “knowledge informed by values personally approved of” (or at least personally paid lip-service to) as opposed to plain old garden variety “knowledge”? Specifically ancient Australian “wisdom”, passed down orally from parent to child over a “very long” span of years, or so the story goes. It’s a bit of a cop out, of course, with the potential to divert attention from practical science-based solutions to our problems but it’s likely to remain enough of a fringe phenomenon to pose no serious threat.

. . .and which possibly reflects a somewhat different cognitive integration of 'reality.'.

Sure, anything’s possible in the realm of pure speculation, even a “somewhat different cognitive integration of ‘reality’”, whatever that’s supposed to mean (I love the “somewhat” and the “possibly” and the pompous scare quotes around “reality”).

. . .I submit that what’s being missed by those who are quick to criticize/belittle is an unusual opportunity to peer outside the box and learn more about Indigenous People's thoughts and thought processes.

As filtered through the “thoughts and thought processes” of Chosun and other “Pale Aborigines” you mean? Think I’ll take a pass. . ..

Regardless of what anyone concludes, however, the knowledge domain itself clearly falls under the rubric of Conservation.

Yeah, on reflection, maybe so. Pity about about all the goofy bits, though.
 
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Sangahyando

Well-known member
Sangahyando:
Hmm, … have folks stopped making up stuff recently?
No, it's part of human nature, as explained above by fugl and Mysticete.


Mysticete:
Most of what Chosun has tried to present in this thread is land-management wisdom that has been passed down by non-written means over very long periods of time, — and which possibly reflects a somewhat different cognitive integration of 'reality.' Of the latter, I'm not quite sure, but I submit that what’s being missed by those who are quick to criticize/belittle is an unusual opportunity to peer outside the box and learn more about Indigenous People's thoughts and thought processes. Regardless of what anyone concludes, however, the knowledge domain itself clearly falls under the rubric of Conservation.
That's a rather charitable interpretation. Might I also point out that it seems to be underfed by a very peculiar redefinition of words like "indigenous", "aboriginal", and "native", which seems to be very widespread specifically in Canada and Australia but betrays a fundamental ignorance of the origins of those terms, and is somehow never applied to the indigenous inhabitants of Europe, most of Asia, or Central Africa (also, what about those native Australians/Americans who want to embrace a modern lifestyle? Are they also considered "Indigenous" with a grammatically incorrect capital "I" or do they fall under the category "race traitor"?).

In addition, I fail to see how inserting spiritual talking points everywhere, making outlandish claims about history (the "out of Australia" idea about human origins is the strangest one I've heard this side of hardcore creationism), or constantly quoting authors who falsely claim to be of aboriginal Australian descent helps the cause of conservation.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I think you underestimate both the power of the human imagination and the human propensity to attempt to ground its products in something real. All it takes to create monsters is to look at a lizard or a bug and to think: “how terrifying that would be if enlarged fifty or a hundred or a thousand times”. No former real-world megafauna need apply! And as you yourself have pointed out with reference to origin myths, memories of perilous sea crossings and arduous treks through new and strange lands are seldom retained in cultural memory for very long.

I would never claim that all folklore entities are based on some sort of real creature or people. As an example, Asian Dragons, like those depicted in Chinese and Japanese folklore, are so obviously chimerical and magical in nature that it would be hard to imagine any sort of basis beyond the imagination of early poets and story-tellers. But there are plenty of examples which are well documented. Take for instance the European dragon...If you go back to the oldest stories, they are pretty much just big snakes, and almost certainly based on exaggerated accounts of Rock Pythons. Or Unicorns...again go back to the earliest traveler's tales, and the creatures they describe are pretty clearly Indian Rhinos. Look up any medieval artwork of "exotic" creatures such as elephants or giraffes...those critters are depicted so bizarrely that it's pretty clear that third hand interpretation of descriptions can lead to some pretty weird creations.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
My main issue with Chosun is just the mixture of legitimate points with some handwavey new age ideas and an insistence that this is the one true way of fixing the world, without considerations of practicality.

Indigenous people have, the world over, have faced hundreds of years of persecution, and still are today. A degree of persecution that most of us simply can't fully comprehend. They have had there land stolen and been pushed to the margins, there children stolen and abused, have been ravaged by disease, and have suffered outright genocide. And it's not like things are suddenly all roses for them. Just in the United States alone, Native American women are twice as likely as any other group to experience violence, and 67% of those cases are being perpetuated by non-native Americans.

There is just a really slippery road from trying to respect and acknowledge these cultures, to glorifying them in ways that might not be helpful, or mixing them in with New Age interpretations that probably many members of those groups wouldn't be comfortable with. Chosun tends to do this, whether it's mixing climate change denial into some of his arguments, or going off on quantum mechanics to somehow reconcile where her beliefs don't fit available data. It undermines all of the valid arguments made.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Jeez ....... where to start with this lot ? :h?: :cat:

Ed astutely put it with his assessment of 'reductio ad absurdum'.

Sangahyando says, "I fail to see ...."
Well yes, I totally agree.

Even with the limited modern scientific tools and insights, perilously crippled by a completely ineffectual window of perspective - I have to wonder whether some responses here are just so uninformed as to be totally wrong, or whether they are wilfully mischievous or worse ..... :brains:

Ed was correct to point people to further research on 'Oral Traditions'. Not one single thing I have read here in these responses displays any real understanding of the reality of it at all. The same lack of understanding applies to Aboriginal people and culture specifically. It falls well short of any sort of cogent argument.

Oral traditions are embedded in culture, in law, in various tribal initiation, in the 'schooling', 'demonstrated learning' , and 'proficiency' for various elder, country, and cultural roles. They are integral to cultural ritual, social structure, song, dance, art, and relations. Integral to law and governance that binds individuals and tribes remotely across vast geographical distance - connected by the common energy in all living things, in songlines that transcend time and space.

Practical ways for living sustainably and in harmony are inextricably linked with the deeper esoteric and energetic understanding of life and reality, connected by a deep spirituality than spans time, space, and molecular form - whether it be child, departed ancestor, river, rakali, or rock. These are not mere beliefs, but very real tangible experiences. Everywhen.

Behaviour is not separate from Cause.

I again direct you to Ed's nailing of the nature of the opportunity presented here:
..... I submit that what’s being missed by those who are quick to criticize/belittle is an unusual opportunity to peer outside the box and learn more about Indigenous People's thoughts and thought processes.

This wiki article excerpt below is a reasonable attempt at explaining some of the framework around cause of thought and behaviour - short of actually having your reality altered by being in the presence of an elder (which would not be allowed for a few here - especially in the presence of some of the 'old girls' .... that purity and level of energy would instantly manifest in fatal darkness within the being of some here) :gn:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_religion_and_mythology
I've posted this before elsewhere - but here it is again:

"..... Aboriginal myths still being performed across Australia by Aboriginal peoples serve an important social function amongst their intended audiences: justifying the received ordering of their daily lives;[16] helping shape peoples' ideas; and assisting to influence others' behaviour.[17] In addition, such performance often continuously incorporates and "mythologises" historical events in the service of these social purposes in an otherwise rapidly changing modern world.

It is always integral and common... that the Law (Aboriginal law) is something derived from ancestral peoples or Dreamings and is passed down the generations in a continuous line. While... entitlements of particular human beings may come and go, the underlying relationships between foundational Dreamings and certain landscapes are theoretically eternal ... the entitlements of people to places are usually regarded strongest when those people enjoy a relationship of identity with one or more Dreamings of that place. This is an identity of spirit, a consubstantiality, rather than a matter of mere belief...: the Dreaming pre-exists and persists, while its human incarnations are temporary.[18]

An Aboriginal generalisation

Aboriginal specialists willing to generalise believe all Aboriginal myths across Australia, in combination, represent a kind of unwritten (oral) library within which Aboriginal peoples learn about the world and perceive a peculiarly Aboriginal 'reality' dictated by concepts and values vastly different from those of western societies:[19]

Aboriginal people learned from their stories that a society must not be human-centred but rather land centred, otherwise they forget their source and purpose ... humans are prone to exploitative behaviour if not constantly reminded they are interconnected with the rest of creation, that they as individuals are only temporal in time, and past and future generations must be included in their perception of their purpose in life.[19]

People come and go but the Land, and stories about the Land, stay. This is a wisdom that takes lifetimes of listening, observing and experiencing ... There is a deep understanding of human nature and the environment... sites hold 'feelings' which cannot be described in physical terms... subtle feelings that resonate through the bodies of these people... It is only when talking and being with these people that these 'feelings' can truly be appreciated. This is... the intangible reality of these people...[19]"



If you want pretty much the same thing said in a more western culture friendly fashion, I would point you to the entirety of this - STNG S1Ep5: "Where No One Has Gone Before"
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G7kmHa9kYtg

Remember - just because you are unaware of something or do not understand it does not mean it does not govern reality. It didn't matter to the first person to fall off a cliff whether they new that the acceleration due to gravity is 9.81m/s^2 or not ..... the result was the same.


Such egalitarian worldviews and philosophies of Indigenous peoples as I have attempted to give an understanding of here, then lead us to questions over why we have behaviours and systems in the world today (such as in the article of post #76) which destroy the very home and it's biota that is an inextricable part of us, that nutures us as we should our own 'Mother'.




Chosun :gh:
 
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opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
Remember - just because you are unaware of something or do not understand it does not mean it does not govern reality.

This is actually a good point and it is the basis of the scientific method - to acknowledge your own ignorance. In the other hand you should also remember that just because people believe in something or think they understand it, it also does not mean it does govern reality. You keep stating the Aboriginal beliefs as if they were facts and that is simply just your wishful thinking.

Also I think your edit comment "Other folk are going to have to behave or head over to the Dark Emu thread." is majorly out of order. You are not a moderator of a thread by the virtue of starting it, if people disagree with you they have full right to do so and you are not entitled to be given a space to spread your one-sided opinions unabated, unless the actual moderators of this board say so.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
This is actually a good point and it is the basis of the scientific method - to acknowledge your own ignorance. In the other hand you should also remember that just because people believe in something or think they understand it, it also does not mean it does govern reality. You keep stating the Aboriginal beliefs as if they were facts and that is simply just your wishful thinking.

Also I think your edit comment "Other folk are going to have to behave or head over to the Dark Emu thread." is majorly out of order. You are not a moderator of a thread by the virtue of starting it, if people disagree with you they have full right to do so and you are not entitled to be given a space to spread your one-sided opinions unabated, unless the actual moderators of this board say so.

Some of the best moments in science are when you look at the results and say, hmm - that's strange ...... :cat:

I think it might be helpful to read my last post again - look I will state it again just for completeness, they are not "beliefs" nor my "wishful thinking" - they are real. You are 100% wrong with what you've said - but I'm not here to change your mind ;)
I'm not going to say too much more on it - I've only gone into 1% of the magic and cannot say more. If you know you know.

I am all for intellegent, respectful discourse no matter what the viewpoint. That's a big part of our culture.

However, I won't stand for derision, disrespect, or those who seek to "belittle" as Ed so aptly put it. If such people want to go on the public record with "patently absurd" positions about things they know nothing about - well, so be it - it's their reputation (just take it elsewhere). People float around on these forums that have 'form' which you may not be aware of.

Several of the things Sangahyando raised have already been introduced on the 'Dark Emu' thread and are more appropriately discussed there. I won't be dealing here with any claims of "constantly quoting authors who falsely claim to be of aboriginal Australian descent". I don't want to trouble the Moderators, but will if I have to ......

It's up to people if they want to open their minds to technology more advanced than them or not. I have other things to post which will require an even more open mind - I will have to check if that is permissible to this audience at this energy level.






Chosun :gh:
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
I think it might be helpful to read my last post again - look I will state it again just for completeness, they are not "beliefs" nor my "wishful thinking" - they are real. You are 100% wrong with what you've said - but I'm not here to change your mind ;)
I'm not going to say too much more on it - I've only gone into 1% of the magic and cannot say more. If you know you know.

No they are not. Look, I also can state my opinions as facts! I have no qualms with you providing a description of Aborigin culture and their relationship to their land, but if you wanna present things such as "sites having feelings" and any other esoteric randomness as facts well then you better prepare for resistance. Again, I have no problem with you believing that but I have a very, very big problem with the idea that any actual policy should be implemented based on spiritual beliefs and not scientific facts and I will always speak against anyone who even remotely suggests so. This is no different from those "alternative medicine" folks whose teachings cost thousands of lives yearly in the developed world as they convince people to follow their unfounded treatments instead of turning to actual medicine.

Should we study how the Aborigines interacted with their environment? Sure we should, but unless the Aborigines practiced replicable science, their are the subject here and not the researchers, their interpretations of what happened provide more of an insight into their culture than the ecology itself.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
No they are not. Look, I also can state my opinions as facts! I have no qualms with you providing a description of Aborigin culture and their relationship to their land, but if you wanna present things such as "sites having feelings" and any other esoteric randomness as facts well then you better prepare for resistance. Again, I have no problem with you believing that but I have a very, very big problem with the idea that any actual policy should be implemented based on spiritual beliefs and not scientific facts and I will always speak against anyone who even remotely suggests so. This is no different from those "alternative medicine" folks whose teachings cost thousands of lives yearly in the developed world as they convince people to follow their unfounded treatments instead of turning to actual medicine.

Should we study how the Aborigines interacted with their environment? Sure we should, but unless the Aborigines practiced replicable science, their are the subject here and not the researchers, their interpretations of what happened provide more of an insight into their culture than the ecology itself.
I am talking about verifiable experiences, not mere opinions.
Resistance will prevent experience - but that's ok - you can't go where you're not ready.

There are many sustainability techniques and practices applicable, but you cannot divorce those from the people and the drivers of their behaviour. All of those drivers result in a system (read way of life) of governance and law - governance that is superior to any present political system, though because of it's inherent egalitarianism, it will require a rebalancing of current power structures.

Will this happen before we hit the brick wall ? :h?:

From the article I posted in #76
https://theconversation.com/ive-ser...HSDgpC_U8scIZBkRt1pYOp65-T4fhmpJa08ONITWPyDFM
"..... will require creating a post-capitalist society which operates within Earth’s ecological limits.

This won’t will be easy – it will be the hardest thing our species has tried to do."

"We must expand our imaginations and explore alternatives.
I don’t have all the answers – and I think post-capitalist movements, now and in the future, will probably fail. But if we do not recognise capitalism’s inherent growth fetish as the central problem, we cannot formulate a coherent response."


That sounds messy ! :cat:
I wonder if there's anyone on the planet who's done it all before and thrived long term ...... ? ;)

Even if the core of capitalism is retained, the ponzi scheme growth model of resumed resources for 'free', and land for subdivision to underpin the economic model must be modified. The natural world must be ascribed economic value inherently.






Chosun :gh:
 
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fugl

Well-known member
. . .But if we do not recognise [not just] capitalism’s inherent growth fetish as the central problem, we cannot formulate a coherent response.

Indeed, unrestrained population growth’s the thing, particularly with AGW looming on the horizon to finish things off. Took you forever to reach that elementary truth but you got there in the end and that’s what counts.

The solution? The ending of poverty, particularly third-world poverty. Is it achievable? Probably not but it’s our last best hope for establishing a sustainable equilibrium so we need to give it a shot.
 
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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
No they are not. Look, I also can state my opinions as facts! I have no qualms with you providing a description of Aborigin culture and their relationship to their land, but if you wanna present things such as "sites having feelings" and any other esoteric randomness as facts well then you better prepare for resistance. Again, I have no problem with you believing that but I have a very, very big problem with the idea that any actual policy should be implemented based on spiritual beliefs and not scientific facts and I will always speak against anyone who even remotely suggests so. This is no different from those "alternative medicine" folks whose teachings cost thousands of lives yearly in the developed world as they convince people to follow their unfounded treatments instead of turning to actual medicine.

Should we study how the Aborigines interacted with their environment? Sure we should, but unless the Aborigines practiced replicable science, their are the subject here and not the researchers, their interpretations of what happened provide more of an insight into their culture than the ecology itself.

Broadly speaking, we have representation from two cultural orientations in this discussion, each using English words, but often having different ideational meanings.

When it comes to "science," to which my life has been devoted for 60+ yrs, I'm forever amazed and delighted at the vast number of new (to me) fields that exist outside my own specialty, and to which I am largely ignorant. If you read the attached article entitled "Australian Aboriginal Geomythology: Eyewitness Accounts of Cosmic Impacts?" please pay careful attention to the authors' definition of "myth" and their efforts to avoid cultural disrespect. In this article, an effort is made to assess the information quality and insight provided by Aboriginal lore and how it correlates or relates to the current scientific understanding of astrophysical events.
 

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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
The main problem with oral tradition is "anyone can make up stuff". And yes, it is also subject to change over the generations.
Aside from that, it has to be handled with great caution, probably even more than other primary sources. Physical evidence, be it artifacts, biological matter, or genes, is a lot more reliable.

If you take the trouble to look into the subject (rather than just making it up as you go) you will find that procedures were incorporated to prevent "anyone" from making up stuff, and also to ensure that the information (i.e., knowledge) contained in the lore would pass on reliably over time.
 

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