Perspectives on Society and Culture

It is very difficult as a reader to make any sense of the rituals
performed by the Nacirema. The Nacirema are a people who stress the importance
of physical wellness and go to great and to the outsider horrific lengths to
ensure this.

A professor Linton was the first to shed light on the particularly
bizarre lifestyle that is lived by the Nacirema. Physical wellness being so
heavily stressed is not the bizarre aspect, it is the spiritual sense and
seemingly blind faith they put into their beliefs that is bewildering. These
people believe the human body is ugly and that it breeds disease. The Nacirema
pray daily through a private shrine in there house to , what seems to me cleanse
and prevent, what to them lurks and breeds in our body. It is believed by the
people that there is magical forces possesed in a chest in the shrine. These
forces or magic is supplied through text by a medicine man who holds very high
stature among the Nacirema. One part of the body that is seen to be excpecially
unholy is the mouth. One major part of the cleansing of the mouth is done once
or twice a year by the holy mouth men.

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This is where the man uses exotic instruments to open holes larger in
decaying teeth or even healthy teeth. The teeth, with nerve exposed, are stuffed
withmagicalmaterial to arrest decay. To the outsider this is torturous. There
are many other disturbing body cleansing rituals like the baking of women’s
heads scheduled by the patterns of the moon. This culture is one of many
cultures who put there faith in past on beliefs and go to seemingly horrific
measures carrying them out.

This article was frightening as well as uplifting to me. What was
frightening to me is the fact that in the US these disturbing rituals take
place. As I already stated as an outsider it is very difficult trying to make
sense of these customs in terms of my society.I was being quite ethnocentric. It
took me a while to get my stomach back and realize that these people are born
into this lifestyle. These rituals are apart of the religion they hold dear to
there heart. So yes, to the common white Irish Catholic this may be peculiar,
but after some time it occurred to me, the beauty in such strong religious
devotion. The Nacirema go to great lengths to, in there minds cleanse the unholy
body. Although it may turn your stomach as well as mine, I believe we should be
cultural relativist, step back and respect such deep faith and belief. I also
believe there is a lesson to be learned here. For if our society as a whole
upheld and blindly excepted the teachings of our respected religions, we would
liv e in a safer and better educated society than we do today.
Category: Social Issues


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