Social learning theory is the theory that assumes that people can learn new behavior through observation and imitation of the social factors that make up the environment. It utilizes the assumption that if we observe positive and desired outcomes in a behavior, we are more likely to develop, copy or imitate and adopt the behavior ourselves (Hale, 1993). This theory seeks to study the development of a behavior in an individual as a result of observing or imitating another person’s behavior or through firsthand experience.
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Death is an event or condition that results in the termination of the biological functioning of a living organism (Belshaw, 2009). Death in many communities is mostly seen as the termination of human life. Many philosophical enquiries and religious traditions believe in afterlife or rebirth – life after death. It is believed that upon death, the human soul goes to heaven.
Death can be caused by predation by other organisms, diseases, malnutrition, diseases or accidents that result in terminal bleeding and injury. Many religions and communities alike see death as a taboo while other religions believe that death is the ultimate goal of human life (Braddock, 2000). For instance, some Islam practicing nations believe that death through Jihad war is a one way ticket to the heavenly corridors.
Egypt is a North African country where both Christianity and Islamic religions are practiced. The ancient pharos of Egypt took good care of their ailing ones. People in their death beds were given good care up to the time of their death. Patients having communicable diseases were put in solitude away from the general public to curb the spread of the disease.
Only a chosen few would be allowed into the solitudes to give the ailing patients necessary care. Although such patients were put in solitude away from the general public, they were never considered outcasts and were provided with good care. Relatives of the patients and some members of the public would conduct religious rituals to ask the gods to give their sick relatives a second chance in life.
The ancient Egyptians practiced embalming on the bodies of their dead ones.
(Breasted & Piccione, 2001). Embalming is another term that can be used to describe mummification. Dead bodies were wrapped in stripes of cloth laces all over. The main objective of mummification was to slow down the rate of decay of the dead bodies. Mummified bodies would then be taken to underground sacred tombs were burial rituals would be performed and the dead bodies laid to rest. Only a few individuals were allowed to attend the burial ceremony.
The social learning theory can be used to study the developments in the manner with which modern day Egyptians relate to their dying and dead ones. This theory employs the studying of new behavior through observation or experience (Hale, 1993). To date, mummification is seen widely by other communities as an Egyptian practice. Dead bodies are still mummified and buried in tombs.
However, new burial procedures are evident in modern Egypt. These practices were never practiced by the ancient pharos. Christian Egyptians perform mass before burying their dead ones. Coffins are used for burial purposes instead of the ancient tombs. These new developments are attributed to the imitation and adoption of western culture by native Egyptians. This slow and gradual imitation and adoption of western culture puts indigenous Egyptian culture in jeopardy.
Belshaw, C. (2009). Annihilation: The Sense and Significance of Death, Dublin: Acumen Press.
Braddock, G. (2000). “Epicureanism, Death, and the Good Life,” Philosophical Inquiry, 22 (1-2).
Breasted, J. & Piccione, A. (2001). Ancient records of Egypt. University of Illinois Press.
Hale, R. (1993). The Application of Learning Theory to Serial Murder. American Journal of Criminal Justice. Vol 17 (2)