Maasai, Spencer

The most interesting part of this essay I found was that not only do the elders regard power and wealth as important/successful but also that knowledge and wisdom play a huge part in the transition to elderhood.

The Murran seem to be quite decadent and celebratory in their gathering, they will be ‘sharing in everything’ and take part in ‘group indulgence and adolescent exuberance’. It seems like their society has created a time for the ‘playboy image’ and it is all about having the ‘privileges of Murranhood’; they gain the rights to flaunt themselves and wear clothes which younger men are denied. Yet the really interesting part of this is that those clothes become discarded once the men reach a certain age. In this way, their society can almost be compared to Plato’s ideal state, in the sense that, knowledge and wisdom are acquired through age; it is about developing one’s self and becoming wise through time and practice. Yes the Murran are the warriors who will protect their tribe and homes, but also it is almost as if they are given this stage to get some immature pleasures out of the way so when they get older and move into elderhood they will have the knowledge and understanding to be able to control the Maasai (analogous to Plato’s philosopher kings who have reached the age, understanding and wisdom to rule the city). Thus, ‘Murranhood, seen by boys as an immediate ambition, is treated by elders as merely a step towards a further goal’, once the Murran reach the age of the elders, they will no longer desire the fallible luxuries they once did in their youth, the ultimate goal seems to be to become a guardian of Maasai culture. There seems to be a ‘radical shift of orientation from peer group to self-interest and a return to a concern for herd and family as they marry and settle down’. Although this does not mean that they become totally introverted, they still have social, ‘gregarious’ occasions but only when ‘conditions permit’. I just thought that it was interesting that although being a success in the Maasai is about wealth (in the sense of how many cattle and children one has) but that it is also about growing up into an age of maturity and wisdom where one is no longer ‘tainted by their youthfulness’.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s