People who lack ihuma, whether adults or children, get overly excited, as they cannot control their volatile emotions and they forget their distresses quickly. People who have or use their ihuma are always calm and happy. They never loose their temper. Adults who do not seem to possess ihuma are spoken of as childish, and disliked for that reason. Children are born without ihuma, which they then will acquire gradually as they grow. In the absence of ihuma, no instruction is possible. Therefore, adults do not scold at small children.
There is no insistence on obedience and no disciplinary actions taken. In a marked contrast to British and other societies, where self help books on ‘how to develop your assertiveness’ are popular, the Utku show a complete absence of self-assertiveness. Any form of aggressive behaviour that may vary from physical attack to silent withdrawal, is considered extremely uncomfortable. In fact, the Utku wish to deny hostility altogether. The ultimate sanction against aggressive behaviour is ostracism. It is believed that angry thoughts are not only very harmful, but they can also cause someone’s death.
Thus, it is very important to demonstrate one’s good-will openly. Inuttiaq explains: “We Utku joke a lot. People who joke are not frightening. ” (Briggs, 1970: 341). Children are explicitly taught to substitute feelings of amusement for the feelings of annoyance or fear. The Utku regard misfortunes of daily life as funny (tiphi). Tiphi feelings indicate that the person is happy (quvia). Thus, humour seems to play more crucial role as an expressive device among the Utku than among us, as tiphi reactions allow people to simultaneously express and deny hostility (Briggs, 1970: 341).
There are also other indirect ways of showing aggression that provide the Utku an outlet for tension. For instance, all Utku beat their dogs. Furthermore, the Utku may gossip about the unattractive qualities (e. g. jealousy, greed, stinginess, unhelpfulness and bad temper) of other families. Sometimes people may be shamed into better behaviour by the means of being polite and helpful towards the misbehaving person. Briggs speculates that shaming may be an inverted form of hostility with the underlying message: “I’m a better person than you are.
” Occasionally, religious education is used to create conformity. Also, when a drunken Kapluna fisherman was being patronising and behaved badly, Briggs discovered that the Utku had their own way of dealing with it: They taught Inuttiaq’s little daughter, Saraak, to imitate the fisherman, so that they could all laugh at him. Adults are expected to keep their feelings under the control of reason (ihuma). It is not considered appropriate for adults to show affection to each other explicitly.
Similarly, children older than five and their parents never show physical affection towards each other. Sensitivity to unspoken wishes, such as unasked attention to a ripped mitten, or a matter of fact offer of a cup of tea, are restrained Utku ways of expressing affection. “The lack of showing emotion is compensated by tenderness towards little children. ” (Briggs, 1970: 150). Children under the age of three are at a ‘darling age’. They are in the centre of affectionate attention, constantly kissed and cooed at, and adults respond to all their commands.