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Human diversity  

Anthropologist: Wade Davis


Davis has studied voodoo as part of the National Geographic Society's Ethnosphere Project, celebrating world cultures. He says the "dark side" of voodoo is similar to the concept of heaven and hell in Western religious tradition. "The whole point is to make manifest the darkness, so that the goodness can overwhelm it," he suggests.

Sensibly, voodoo is no different from other religions – followers appeal to divine powers to assure their success in life. But Christian missionaries don’t see it that way. Togo's people return to the animal sacrifices, the veneration of fetishes, the dances with the spirits as a means to understand their existence.

"The pull of voodoo is so powerful, informants say, it seems embedded in the earth of West Africa," Burnett says.

 "power does not buy security"

Voudon images


There is "our own collective level" or the ethnosphere, that is the realm of languages and imaginative diversity "an old growth forst of the mind." There were 6000 languages in the world fifity hears ago and half of those are now extinct. We are losing "a means of identifying the world."