Limited Sharing of Vital Understandings and Organization
Although a substantial majority of the community share few or none of them, the practitioners of traditional medicine and serious amateurs share a much-elaborated set of understandings concerned with body functioning. The general ignorance of these understandings is perhaps to be expected given the limited nature of cultural sharing in all domains and, especially, laymen's ignorance in technical matters. It is striking, nevertheless, that people submit themselves to treatment, often for conditions they understand to be serious and painful, according to understandings they do not share or, even, for the most part, know about.
In fact, two quite different sources for the influence of these esoteric understandings will be hypothesized. Both are dependent on cultural organizations,
albeit of dissimilar kinds, for their effectiveness. One of these is of the sort students of culture have long pointed out. It stems from the organizational fact that the understandings about the body and illness involve a fundamental cultural element that is also basic to social morality. The two sets of understandings are, or are part of, a "cultural pattern."