A Tribute to Native Americans: Unique Artisanship Despite Literacy
The article by Hunson Smith " What They Have That We Lack: A tribute to the Native Americans" is one of the most attractive native cultural documentation about the indigenous cultures, their spirituality, beliefs, and traditions. As Smith argues, the indigenous cultures possess unique artisanship despite their literately. However, orality, poetry and sacred knowledge has been in existence since the ancient times and has been transferred from one generation to the other through the word of mouth. Modern peoples invest minimal efforts to grow their lax in recalling; since very little is required for their minds.
Orality, rituals, ceremonies, and religious rites form significant differences between modern and native societies. Oral communication for instance, was carried with it a precious memory ability that was shared and possed by almost every individual of the indigenous culture. Orality kept life on the keel by ensuring that priorities, cultural identity, and proportionalities were not lost. Moreover, although one may argue that primal people are ignorant in many things; they are certainly not stupid (Smith 87).
In both accounts, the two researchers found out that the primal people across the globe believed that "material power over the environment" and "mastery over nature" are man's greatest values that ought to be sort after by humankind. Smith confirms these claims by various accounts of different native cultures particularly the Shamanism culture. For example, the spirituality level between for the Native Indians varied from those of the Samburu community in Eastern Africa or that of Shamans (Borges). In Shamanism, divinity levels are experienced in three major religious sections, and each section has its chosen facilitator, requirements, and specific people that have the abilities or are required to operate within the set boundaries of that religious level. Also, each level has its own instruments, music, rituals and ceremonies. In the first stage, nature is viewed as a divine transparency with no specific symbol or reminder. Abundance is farm and livestock as blessing, joy and existence of beauty in nature, are all examples of a transparent divinity and can only be seen in the surroundings. In this stage, nature is a representative or a direct path to divine connection. For instance, rain is viewed as a form of blessing to all and the youngest of the group can easily interpret that. Most often, in this stage, the thing was left as they were (Smith 88).
In the second stage, nature lost its transparency to become translucent. Thus, divinity continued to shine through specific aspects of life such as groves, mountains, and springs, but these objects, over time acquired absolute objectivity. Smith argues that "this distancing not only does it obscures the connection with the divine source, but also that that the link is recovered and interpreted as a symbol - correspondences." (Smith 92). Extreme rain that would cause flooding or extreme draught causing famine was a sign of anger from the divine world or punishment as a result of a correspondence from an individual or group in the society. Thus, although symbol was vivid to all, only a few understood what it meant.
Lastly, in the third stage nature was perceived as Opaqueness to divinity. It is at this stage where the community through the seer, priest or the overall religious leader developed proceeded unique languages and thought only known to them for divine connection. It is was believed that the people who possess this gift often see things and were able to predict the future (Borges). In the indigenous world, to be connected with the divine nature, a person had to be chosen and or possess a specific gift that allowed them to do so. The primitive culture recognition and respect for nature - that every insect, every plant, or object, participate in the dharma and needs to be treated as companions of humanity. It is these ideology that has conditions the Native Americans, for example, to the ideas of what is right and wrong (Smith). Consequently, it has been noted that the sole philosophy of, the Sophia Perennis has been the single most significant intellectual error or the most accurate reflection of reality in human history argues Smith. (Smith).
It is quite unfortunate that modern cultures have departed from this sole philosophy and has adopted the science-oriented alternative. While it is not a problem that can be felt immediately, it is, however, argued that this approach has mostly contributed to the modern culture of secularism and the lost connection with divinity as he agued, to understand one's lifestyle, step inside another. Myths, according to the Shamans, were used as tools of narrating stories that depended on their understanding of nature, their culture, society, spiritual life, and as a tool to depend on their compassion.
The indigenous cultures are have been strongly characterized by Great Spirituality and religiousness (Smith 93). The Shamans for instance, enter into categorize the spirits that fight the nature as bad ones and those that give joy and proceed the nature as good one. Thus, they enlist the good spirits as allies and fight those with evil intent. Chanting, rituals, ceremonies, orality, art, and spirituality are the major elements that broadly defined and identify the unique characteristics of the native cultures. However, these radiations are under a serious threat from the westernizations and the ever-growing technological culture (Smith 94).
Modernity provides limited permission to explore the non-rational states of consciousness. In a majority of the Native cultures, Transits took different forms (drum beating, sacrifices, ceremony) and often came with physical side effects including illnesses and uncontrolled mental activities. Myths and stories were used as tools of connecting the society to the earth is such a profound way the modern society cannot comprehend. These Myths were neither false nor true, but they were and still are symbolic and they have played a significant role in giving meaning and teaching the modern society how to act or react to specific things (Boomer).
It is therefore evident that the primal people not only have they established rituals and paths through in which they are in contact the parallel world where gods, spirits, and men co-exist, unfortunately while they fighting to evil intent spirits on the spiritual world, on the physical world they are fighting extinction culture and the western cultural influence. For a majority of the Aboriginals, African such as the Samburu culture and Australian native societies, cave arts such as the Ubi Rock have open the spirituality doors of these villages that are sacred totems and direct reference to the natural world. Analysis from such paintings and artworks remain to be a mystery to the modern world and continue to make to representation their dreams, beliefs and the importance of their religion and belief system (Dream time and Australian Shamanism).
In modern culture, Artificial intelligence is believed, to be the right track in assuming that the mind works like a computer. Most often, people argue that myths are a mere assumption of events, and they attempt to explain some natural occurrences, events, and phenomena. The current society believes that you do not understand anything unless you know everything. Levi-Strauss and a majority of the modern cultures consider science to be superior to the mythic.
Buddhist and Christian non-violent social theory
Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world, with a complex history and religious beliefs. Buddhist originated from an ordinary young man whom for six years was on a quest to find a lasting solution to the human suffering that was all inevitable.
Historically, the story of Buddha was transferred from one generation to another through word of mouth, and thus, it not known which of the stories, myths, or narratives are true or false. However, it was nearly over half a millennium after his death that the first 'written' material was discovered. Buddhism originated from India by Siddhartha Gautama ( the Buddha), who was son to a prominent and a warrior king Guatama. Throughout Siddhartha's childhood of his adult life, he lived an extravagant, luxurious, and the most royal life one could ever have imaged. According to the Racheal Ruby - publisher of the Buddha documentary, argues that some of the early writings about Buddha describe him to having the finest or everything.
At the age of 29-years, during his tour on his father's territory, he came across what in the modern world is defined as human suffering. In the first instance, he encountered an older man. On the second tour, he met a sick person. On his third trip he came across a dead body, and lastly fourth account he came across a Spiritual Seeker. In his quest to find a solution to the fate that was also awaiting him, he went into exile for six years.
During the period, he deprived himself human pleasures, worldly possessions that he thought were the causes or at least would offer a solution to the inevitable. His culmination for a solution came while he was meditation beneath a tree, where he was enlightened and awakened to understand how the universe operated and how to free himself from pain, and achieve salvation (PBS).
The four truths are the core teachings of Buddhism. They include suffering, the reality of suffering, end of pain, the path that leads to the end of suffering (PBS). The fourth truths mainly highlight the four major human pains that are inevitable; aging, illness, death, and spirituality. Buddhism that argues that suffering exists and it has an end. Finding the cause and the reason for existence make it easier to bring it to an ending. Suffering, therefore, is not a means to convey a cynical worldview, but rather, a pragmatic perspective of dealing with the nature as it is, and attempting to rectify it. It is for this reason, among others that Buddhism is on the leading role in supporting non-violent translates and practices. To achieve the four truth to ending human suffering, one has to have the right Understanding, Right Mindfulness, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Effort, Right Concentration, Right Livelihood, and Right Thought.
Gandhi was an Indian leader based in South Africa and he is famously known for advocating for non-violence against the British government that was then colonizing South Africa. In his call for non-violence is respecting humanity despite the differences it one of the primary virtual of humankind. As King Jr stated in his speech that loving our enemies did not make the black community weak, but it was made them stronger in love and compassion. Gandhi also teaches us that violence does not solve anything; instead is brings chaos. Similar to Christian teachings, loving one another as we love ourselves is the greatest commandment. Loving others goes beyond showing affection and genuinely respecting and helping them where necessary.
Buddhism is by itself a peaceful religion that advocates for respecting nature and all that is in it. Both Christianity and Buddhism advocate for respecting one another and loving one another. In addition, all the three philosophies agree that violence is not the solution, but rather the solution is found when there is a clear understanding of the problem and all parties participate towards solving the problem is the most amicable way possible.
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