Boddy’s piece on spirit possession has prompted me to rethink some of my views about some cultural practices that I usually condemn without deeply reflecting about the underlying philosophy. For instance, growing up in an African setting, I had witnessed many people who were possessed, or who exhibited traits of being in ‘trance’. In those circumstances, my position was outright condemnation of the practice as uncivilized. But having read Boddy’s work, I have realized that passing judgment on the other is reductionism and parochial. For instance, I ask myself, how did I arrive at the negative assumption and condemnation about their practices? Is it right to pass judgment about their practices? Or better still, do I have the right to judge the practices of other people? Is it fair to judge their practices without listening to them?
I have realized that condemning the practices of the other could be likened to claiming that one’s mother’s food tastes sweeter than every woman’s food when we have not tasted other women’s food.