Re: [OFFTOPIC] what is MANA?!

From: Henrik Stuart (hstuart@GEOCITIES.COM)
Date: 09/06/98

> well I know what mana is in most RPGs, but where does it come from?

Mana origins from the nature (or primitive) religions, and are today
only used when dealing with such, and of course, with role playing games
of various sorts.

Mana cannot be completely translated, but it'll be a mixture of these
words: holy, powerful, soul, spirit and medicine. The word mana has been
misleadingly translated by europeans and americans to be meaning magic.

Plants, animals, and humans have each their kind of mana. The mana of a
lion is its strength, the mana of a deer is its speed, and the mana of
the corn is its growth.
Humans can have differemnt kinds of mana, a chief of a tribe has
"rulermana", smiths have "smithingmama", etc.

To get things even more messy, the nature religions didn't think of mana
as being one thing in another thing, but rather one thing's mana would
always be connected with the whole range of manas.
For instance, the prairie native americans saw the buffalo's mana as
belonging to both the mountains, trees and the grass, but not just that,
because it did also belong to the birds who followed the buffalos, their
footsteps were part of their mana. Therefore if someone wanted to kill a
buffalo, you would need to be in "commune" with all the different manas
that were interconnected with the mana of the buffalo.

There are of course, both good and bad mana. Good mana could mean that
the person was a good leader or the person was a good hunter, and bad
mana could mean that a person was miserable at hunting, etc.
Mana does also belong to different "social"-classes within the tribe or
society, and there is a story of an african tribe, where the chieftain
had had a dinner while traveling from one tribal site to another. An
hour after the chieftain had departed a slave came up to the place and
found the chieftain's food. He ate what was left of it, and when he was
told that it was the food of the chieftain, he doubled over and died.
The story is authentic, even how far fetched it does seem.

Anyway, this just describes the beliefs of the mana was so deeply routed
within the person that he did fully believe that he was going to die
(which he eventually did as well), from eating of something that
contained a higher mana than he was allowed to touch.

So giving a simple definition of mana is, is by no way possible, but I
think we should all think of this, and perhaps redefine the mana part in
stock to magic, as what we're dealing with in the rpg environment isn't
mana, but rather magic, a term that was invented in Europe, in the
medieval ages during the witchhunts and the inquisition of the papal
church or rome ;)

Enjoy, hope I brought some enlightenment to ye all.


     | Ensure that you have read the CircleMUD Mailing List FAQ:  |
     | |

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : 12/15/00 PST