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-   -   Skills that bring status in a Post-Apocalyptic society? (http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.php?t=6292)

Matt W 02-09-2021 02:27 PM

Skills that bring status in a Post-Apocalyptic society?
I was reading up on Melanesian society (for completely irrelevant reasons) and I can across this list of skills that were considered necessary for a leader in The Solomon Islands in the 1940's. A "bigman" or "headman" needed a certain personal charisma and other qualities:

"A man must be prepared to demonstrate that he possesses the kind of skills that inspire respect: magical powers, gardening prowess, mastery of oratorical style, perhaps bravery in war and feud"

It looks an odd list, but it does have a certain logic once you realise that "gardening prowess" means both "wealthy" and "good enough at agriculture to feed lots of people". That's really important for a culture that can't always get enough food.

Likewise, "oratorical style" means "persuade the community without resorting to force".

IMHO, this list of skills would be very appropriate for the leader of a low-tech village. Does anyone have anything to add? Or suggest the skills that might work for a larger community?

StainlessSteelCynic 02-09-2021 05:23 PM

I recall seeing a documentary many years ago about certain central African societies where in some rural villages, blacksmithing was still regarded as something mystical and magical.
The tribesman trained to be a blacksmith was regarded with both awe and fear as it was believed by the villagers that the blacksmith had magical powers. He enjoyed a certain status and was accorded a lot of respect and was even given gifts by the villagers but he was expected to live apart from the village in case any of his "magic" caused problems for the villagers.

I don't necessarily think in the post-apocalypse that this same situation would develop (I mean, it could but I don't think it's that likely) but I think that people with those types of skills (skills that help the entire community) would be highly regarded in rural societies.
Blacksmiths, tinkers, shoemakers, I think all of these skills would have a certain status to them and be highly regarded in those remote communities where mass production could not be achieved.

nduffy 02-13-2021 04:35 PM

Anyone with medical and herbal medicine skills and anyone good at primitive engineering. Also tinkerers (as said) and anyone who was good at animal husbandry. There has been a renewed interest in herbal medicine and in a post apoc world those people would be a great asset. When the modern meds dry up those with the knowledge will be highly sought after and respected.

StainlessSteelCynic 02-13-2021 06:02 PM

And it's often forgotten in the modern world, that many of the medicines we use were originally derived from plant or animal sources. In some cases the plant derived medicine has fewer side-effects than the modern medicine (which is typically the result of extracting the desirable part of the plant and synthesizing it in mass quantities) because other qualities of the plant reduce the impact of the negative qualities of the medicinal part.

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