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oct 17 - seeing the world through struggle- language, belief, violence [ SECOND PROF].pdf

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York University
ANTH 1120
David Murray

17 October - 23 October II. Seeing the World through Struggle: Language, Belief, Violence Oct 17/19: How do language and symbolic action shape a particular view of the world? Readings: 1) CA (121-135) [121] • Problem 4: why do people believe things, and why are they so certain that their view of the world is correct and other views are wrong? • [122] • Some north americans believe in god, satan, witches, horoscopes • Religion and a belief in the supernatural develop through peoples attempt to explain basic phenomena, such as death and dreaming • If you can believe in souls, you can believe souls come from god • Beliefs in gods and spirits developed through the attempts of human beings to explain certain events, to understand why things happened as they did. [123] • To study lives of early human beings would be best studied by looking at societies that were relatively under developed, religious beliefs of the totem---beliefs about totemism • Totem served as flag, symbol, representation. • Constraints people feel are imposed on them by the group and by society and in the special power that people feel when groups come together in celebration and ritual • Religious beliefs served some purpose: the belief the beefs and rituals may have increased group cohesion or served to provide supernatural sanctions or the violation of group norms ▯ ▯ [124] • Symbolic actions: the rituals, myths, arts, literature, and music that we enjoy or participate in---all play a role in organizing and making concrete a particular view of the world. What we believe is alsoa product of our social, economic and political life • Question 4.1: How Does language Affect the Meanings People assign to Experience? • Language is one medium through which we make contact with the world that we take for granted. • Relationship between language and thought • Vocabulary ---reflects the social and physical environment of a people [125] • Grammar of a language and the modes of thought characteristics of its speakers Browsing Meanings with Metaphors • One major characteristic of human language is its economy • The same words we use to describe one area of experience can also be used to describe another area Metaphor -- taking linguistic expressions from one area of experience and applying • them to another • Metaphors take language from one domain of experience and apply it to another domain. (Sarah is a fox, brain is a snake, etc.) [126] • When language is extended from one domain to another, meaning is also extended Metaphor involves not only speaking of en experience in terms of another, but also • understanding one experience in terms of another •Animals (shes a fox) •War (she attacked my argument, she shot me down) [127] •Time (this computer will save me house, I dont have the time to give you) Sports (she wanted to only go to second base) • • Metaphors are not simply verbal devices that we use to make our language colourful and economical; rather they are like theories, templates, lenses or filters we can use to help us understand one domain of experience in terms of another [128] • Rely so heavily on the domains of war, sports and economic change or metaphors suffuses another way to understand how language operates to influence peoples views of the world • Key metaphors (extensively borrowed domains used for metaphors) give to each culture a style or cast that make their culture distinctive Kwakwaka’wakw Metaphor of Hunger • Experience is that the universe is a place in which some beings are eaten by other beings, and some beings must die so that other beings may eat them and live • Eating gives life in atleast two ways; its proved nutrition and frees the soul • Body dies and must be eaten by ravens, once soul enters salmon...salmon must be eaten the soul is returned in new born body Hunger is associated with greed • [129] • Hunger is associated with immorality • Hunger is indirectly associated with children • By ordering and describing a view of the world according to a particular domain of experience, people are drawn to try to control their lives by controlling the domains of experience they use to represent aspects of their lives [130] • A single domain of experience, eating, has been elaborated by Kwakwaka’waka to give to their style and meaning that are unique to them The Metaphors of Contemporary Witchcraft and Magic • A metaphor is a theory, a system of interpretation that, once understood in the context of ones domain of experience, can the be transferred to others • The metaphors may also be embedded in myth and history as well as everyday experience [131] • Modern magic is based on the assumption that mind and thought can affect matter without the intervention of the thinkers actions A key metaphor embedded in modern witchcraft and magic is that of stratification of • planes and levels • For the follower of good witchcraft go magic or the tarot, the universe is divided into a complex collection of entities and beings each of which exists on different planes or levels, of which the everyday plane of material life is but the lowest. • People being to associate their self and meaning with the meaning of tarot cards [132] • There is no necessary connection between the domains from which people draw metaphors and the domains to which they apply them Question 4.2: How Does Symbolic Action Reinforce a Particular View of The World? • Language represents on way that our experience of the world is socially filtered ---by sharing language, we also share a view of the world expressed in the vocabulary, grammar and metaphors of the language. • We participate in activities that express a particular view of the world--symbolic actions such as rituals, myth, literature, art, games and music. • Symbolic actions render particular views of the world, in a way that makes them seem correct and proper The Kwakwaka’wakw Hamsta Dance Period of celebration and titular observe in which all wordily activities cease. • • Youth into hamsta society • Initiate sprits back into human world [133] • 4 days of this ceremony • Ritual can be viewed as a symbolic representation of reality that makes it seem as if the reality were absolutely true • Rituals present participants with solutions to real problems in the same way as symbolic representations suggest real solutions • The hamsta is the ultimate reservations of the power of hunger and his desire for human flesh is a manifestation of the forces that can destroy society • The participants in the ritual, by symbolically taming the hunger of the hamsta, are asserting their moral responsibility to control greed and conflict [134] • Hamsta dance also contains a powerful message about socialization, children like hamsta comes from the spirit world and enter world naked and must be fed and socialized The Ritual of Contemporary Witchcraft and Magic Rituals convince others of validity of their belief • • Rituals not only involve enactment of key metaphors, they serve special events set said from everyday existence, events that draw participants into an emotional involvement with the metaphor. [135] • People are carried away with symbolism, music and social communion with others and its easy in the situation to come to believe that it is not the ritual itself that produces the feels, but the forces or powers that the ritual is believed to summon or embrace • Contemporary witchcraft and magic emphasize visualization and mediation as part of ritual • Ritual not only dramatically depicts a metaphor, it teaches the participants how to experience the world as if the focus,s gods and spirits were truly real • Rituals bot only teach us about the world depicted un our metaphors, but it also teaches us how to feel within the universe we create. Dorothy Meets Luke Skywalker • Contemporary witchcraft and magic draw heavily from myth and literature for their language, symbols and metaphors. Myths, like histories, are accounts that explain the past from a particular point of • view • Popular books and movies contain key scenarios, stories, or myths that, like rituals, portray certain values and beliefs • Same sense people act out and communicate their view of the world in ritual and come to learn how to feel in that world, they can be said to act out the scenarios contained int heir myths and histories Myths usually contain stories about a hero who embodies the most valued qualities • of that society •Constant scenario: • hero separated from home, family, or society • embarks on a journey in search of something: knowledge, a magical object, a person, or even a vision. In the course of the journey the hero encounters a mentor, someone who • conveys some kind of power to the hero. • Eventually the hero faces death, but with the help of the mentors power, escapes and ultimately reaches his goal. [136] • Idea of quests are deeply routed in north american literature and mythology Identifying with heroes brings the idea of growing up --value of finding ones self, • define qualities that are required for success ---scenarios of solving real life problems 2) Eck 1981. Darshan: Seeing the Divine Image in India. Chambersburg, PA: Anima. (3-7) [3] • Darsan - temple / seeing Darsan is sometimes translated as the auspicious sight of the divine,and its • importance in the hindu ritual complex reminds us that for hindus ‘wo
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