“You are a member of Gebusi, a small tribe living in a New Guinea rain forest:
“By Western expectations, your lifestyle offers all the elements of tranquility and harmony. Much of your daily activity revolves around kog-wa-yay, “good company,” good talk, and zesty humor. Your society of about 450 has no political structure, therefore no authority. The strong among you do not jockey for power. Decisions about the community are made by consensus in “longhouse’ meetings. Abundantly grown bananas and the occasionally hunted wild pigs are routinely shared by all. Warfare, violence, and anger are not acceptable behavior, by tradition.
“Yet your fellow Gebusin murder one another at one of the highest rates ever recorded—forty times greater than the 1980 homicide rate of the US. Between 1940 and 1982, nearly one third of adult deaths were by murder. Four out of five of them were killings of someone branded as a sorcerer, or performer of evil magic, for having allegedly caused the death of another Gebusi through disease. … To give one's disease to another is considered an act of sorcery. The killings … are carried out by men only, ‘including some who were among the lest assertive and aggressive even by Gebusi standards,’ say the researcher. ‘The character of homicide appears to change in simple societies that have no pecking order or dominance hierarchy among adult men,’ says Bruce M. Knauft of Emory University, who documented the Gebusi homicide rate during almost two years of field work.
“Especially in these societies, there may be a pattern of social life that is generally peaceful and tranquil but is punctuated by aggression which, when it does occur, is unrestrained and frequently homicidal.’” – Bernard Asbell
Bernard Asbell, (1924-2001) was a writer on politics, government, and social science. He was a college professor and a folk singer, and author of several books, including WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT YOU, a collection of fascinating social science research which profiled various behavioral traits in various contexts and cultures.
Even in the most tranquil of societies, man proves himself to be sinful.
"The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" (Genesis 6:5).