In the two presentations, the video Three Worlds of Bali and the DVD Perfect Order: A Thousand Years in Bali,, the principle of holism in anthropology is well represented. The Balinese cosmos is divided into three worlds: those of the gods (swah), those of the demons (bhur), and the humans (bwah). The job of the humans was to balance the forces of creation—the gods—against the forces of destruction.
But this cosmos is represented on earth in many ways. This world view counterposed the direction of kaja of the gods, the mountain source of fresh water, north, against the direction of kelod, the salt-polluted sea, and the abode of the demons. They organized the organization of an irrigation system by the temple ceremonies celebrating Dewi Danu, the goddess of Lake Batur, the primary source of fresh water essential to rice cultivation.
The temple system of rice cultivation was the backbone of Balinese society. Practiced over 1,000 years, this system, organized into around a thousand water management units known as subaks, maintained two crops of rice annually using a system of ecological management. This included using ducks, algae, and fish among many other elements. The irrigation was timed with the temple ceremonies, directed by the priests under the mythical direction of the goddess.
Does Bali represent a case study of the holistic analysis of a culture? Consider the subsistence system, social and political organization, puppetry and other arts, and the Balinese conception of the cosmos as three worlds.Furthermore, consider what happened when the Indonesian government imposed innovations in the 1970s and early 1980s: a new variety of rice, use of artificial fertilizer, and continuous use of the fields instead of two crops per year. One effect has been the destruction of the reef off the southern shore of Bali.
Please review the PowerPoint slide program “Bali: A Holistic Society,” which was sent by e-mail, the video titled Three Worlds of Bali, and selected portions of The Goddess and the Computer. Finally, answer these questions. Due date is May 13 if you want feedback; otherwise the date is May 22, the date of the final.
List and describe the three worlds according to Balinese cosmology. Include in your discussion the difference between their conception of creation and decay and the conception of good and evil in the Judeo-Christian (and Islamic) traditions (10 points).
Describe the subsistence system of the Balinese and explain how it fits in with their cosmic world view. In other words, why is watering timed with the temple ceremonies and what is the environmental significance of this practice? Include in your discussion subak organization, the role of the Goddess of the Lake (Dewi Danu), the ecological techniques used, and the mutually beneficial relationship between upstream and downstream subaks. Your primary source will be Perfect Order (25 points).
What role do the arts play, including puppetry, in explaining the supernatural beliefs of the Balinese? How does it fit in with the Balinese conception of three worlds? (10 points)
What is Eka Desa Rudra? What is its place in the three world concept? How is this ceremony believed to renew the earth and cosmos every century? Why was the 1963 attempt regarded as “the wrong time” according to this belief? Perfect Order gives an in-depthpresentation of the Balinese calendar called Uku. (20 points)
Though emphasizing its traditions, Bali has found ways to adapt to the pressures of modernization. Describe how the Balinese have done so. Include in your discussion on communication technology used for religious ends. Focus on the Balinese priest’s description (10 points).
All modern technology was not without disasters. Describe the attempt of the Indonesian government to impose the Green Revolution model on Balinese agriculture. Why did they do so, what innovations were introduced (including new rice varieties, artificial fertilizers, and continuous cultivation), and what were the results?Your primary source will, again, be Perfect Order. (15 points)
For extra credit, compare and contrast the general cosmology of Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism with that of the so-called Abrahamic religions (founded by the prophet Abraham) of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. See Chapter 15 of the text and also draw on Three Worlds of Bali. (Value: 10 points). A good background is Islam: Empire of Faith: Parts 1 and 2, also available on You Tube.