What Cargo Cult Rituals Reveal About Human Nature

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Ceremonial cross of John Frum cargo cult, Tanna island, New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), 1967. Photo: Tim Ross/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

  • The emergence of cargo cults also reveals something else: the universal human need for ritual. Research shows that humans have intuitive expectations about ritual efficacy that operate unconsciously. 

Rituals play key roles across human societies, helping their members soothe their anxieties, connect, and maintain social order.Whether at a religious temple, a sports stadium, the coordinated, symbolic actions of the congregants, rather than their abstract beliefs, help them assuage their anxieties and find belonging.

Content retrieved from: https://science.thewire.in/the-sciences/cargo-cults-human-nature-ritual/.

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