That a multiplicity of factors affect cultural forms and cultural norms is hardly a new perception, and that this multiplicity means that cultural forms are related in a number of ways to various aspects of their contexts is evident. Current work in a variety of fields is producing many new perspectives that reflect this multiplicity. Many models are to be found in the literature to convey various patterns of relationships that are seen as significant, and viewpoints, theories arid methods are proliferating. In anthropology this has led to an overlapping with many other fields, and created for it a "crisis in disciplinary identity" ( Honigman 1976), not a new problem to a discipline that has always sought to consider all aspects of human existence, and to relate numerous specialties to larger issues. As the concept of culture has become less powerful (being perceived more as a sensitizing idea than an explanatory principle) a flood of' new perspectives is inevitable. However, the nature arid implications of this mulitplicity have not yet been well recognized as a necessary step if new syntheses are to emerge, and the perceived need for wholistic anthropology is to be met.
It is disturbing to note how often one still finds insistence on "the real reason" or "the real issue" in scholarly works. It was not until the 1970 seminar on the Maya collapse that Mayanists started talking in terms of interrelated factors rather than disputing "real" causes. (See the concise statement in Culbert, 1974). This more sophisticated approach has not taken place in many other fields of study.
Multiplicity of interpretations reflect the staggering complexity of human affairs. The model and methods of physical science, while useful up to a point, proved to eventually be a block to the understanding of the biological level ( Lewin 1982). Similarily, the models and methods of the physical plus the biological levels are useful up to a point for the understanding of socio-cultural phenomena, but the sheer complexity makes these insufficient. There has been an assumption that because these levels are basic, more complex levels are reducible to them, but they are better conceived as providing the boundaries and factors within which, and in relation to which, socio-cultural phenomena exist.