Cargo Cult (& Ghost Dancing)

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In the broadest sense, a cargo cult is a belief system in which its adherents practice superstitious rituals derived after recent contact with a very different culture that does not share those superstitions.

The term is derived from certain Melanesian tribes that were highly impacted by visits from modernized nations. These tribes carry out ritualistic customs to try to recreate the appearance of aircraft runways and other modern technologies.

A cargo cult is sometimes used as an analogy for how efforts to superficially mimic the conditions that were present during past prosperity are misguided because they do not account for the true source of the prosperity. Such efforts confuse the appearance of byproducts of the prosperity with the engines of prosperity itself. "Prosperity" in this case could refer to material prosperity, but it could also refer to certain cultural practices that are desired to be emulated.

Cargo cults connect with the concept of ghost dancing, which is explored in this video. Ghost dancing constitutes a refusal to acknowledge the fundamental changes to the world that demand a different approach to be adopted. It believes, instead, that the cause of present turmoil is an inability to hold to what are in fact outdated customs.