Start From the Premise That, in Some Essay

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start from the premise that, in some form or other and at some moment or other, people require order and leadership in their lives and, particularly, in their societies. The answer here does not propose to discuss why that is, although, as a general assumption, it may be related to an overall rejection of chaos and what this brings about, especially from what history has taught us about periods of chaos in our lives and society.

Starting with religion, the first notable thing to be analyzed is that, from a philosophical perspective, the world has no meaning to an individual. One is born, goes through life (which usually means working hard to make a living and to survive every single day) and dies. There seems to be no overarching purpose in all this.

So, this is where religion intervenes initially. It gives us a better understanding of things and all religion also provide some sort of better ending. For some of the monotheistic religions, it gives a purpose through the afterlife. For some of the other religions, like Buddhism, it gives a philosophical explication of why all this happens, as well as a philosophical explanation of how all this could be avoided. Shintoism gives a solution through extended family and through the connection with ancestors.

However, in order to have access to all or any of this, the believer needs to abide by certain rules and regulations that the respective religion imposes. The religious order thus imposes some sort of leadership over the community of believers with a "carrot and stick"-like approach. The believer will strive to lead a certain kind of life in order to reach the afterlife or in order to achieve salvation. Religion thus not only provides a purpose, but, organizationally speaking, a way to reach that purpose.

Religion goes beyond this and is closely related with social order, with maintaining and reinforcing it. Quite often in history, religion has come with different story to explain the existing social order and, thus, to emphasize and defend it. If one looks at Christianity, for example, the Papal authority over the laic world was explained through the fact that the Pope was actually Jesus Chris's lieutenant on Earth. To further argue and support this, Catholicism communicated the story through which Jesus Chris appointed Peter, his most trusteed apostle, as the first Pope.

Religions create parallel organizational structures that, quite often, give meaning and complement the existing societal order. With a complex array of instruments, including rites and religious traditions, many of these repetitive, religion helps take things out of chaos and, through repetition and through passing them down from generation to generation, make them orderly.

Political organization similarly refers to patterns, including through the fact that authority and regulation is used to impose those patterns. Through political organization, behavior is ordered and this is usually done by imposing a set of regulations that members of society are likely to accept and respect.

If religion linked the implementation and enforcement of order with the spiritual side, the political organization is often tied to economic characteristics of society, particularly to economic order. Economic order translates into social differentiation, which will tend to reflect into how a society is organized politically. In both religion and political organization, the human society appeals to these forms to ensure order and avoid chaos.

2. A rite of passage is described as "public events that mark the transition of a person from one social status to another" (Nanda, Warms, 2010; p. 296). When referring to the visit to Disneyland as a rite of passage, one must first identify what the two phases of transition are, namely from where the individual is starting and to what new phase he is moving to.

Rites of passage are often associated with transformational processes for boys and girls, so this is likely the place where one should look for a rite of passage when it comes to a trip to Disneyland as well. The connection could be given by what the child feels when he visits Disneyland. It is likely a move from watching the favorite characters on TV, and seeing them in real life, being able to fully interact with them, taking photos with them, talking with the characters of Disney stories etc. The passage could thus be from an age where things were just make believe (on TV) to an age where things become real, appearing as part of one's life.

However, the rite of passage in this case can be discussed from a larger perspective, with additional arguments.
The child going for the first time to Disneyland has been waiting for all his life for this trip. His family have likely told him over and over that they will eventually make the trip to Disneyland, probably also setting a certain timing for it, such as visiting Disneyland when the child turns 4. There were probably other associations to the event, such as the opportunity to meet with other family members.

The rite of passage is believed to have three phases: separation, transition, reincorporation. With the going to Disneyland, the child is separated from the phase in his life when he was only able to see the Disney characters on TV. Now, he is old enough to make the trip to see them in person. The following years, he could also potentially make the trip again, which shows he is incorporated in a new phase, with more privileges and obligations.

A trip to Disneyland has more characteristics as a pilgrimage than a rite of passage. There are several arguments pointing in that direction. First, the objects of cult exist. These are the Disney characters, objects of adoration by millions and millions of children. An entire religion has developed that focuses exclusively on them: movies, cartoons and even a Disney channel to distribute everything.

For these cult-objects, there is a particular location where they can be venerated and this is Disneyland. People going to Disneyland with their children allow them to take part in this adoration of their idols. Less than a rite of passage, the pilgrimage, including in this case, is not a transformational process, but a repetitious one, by which the pattern reinforces the connection between the individual (the child in this case) and the idols (the Disney characters) that they adore.

3. From the very thesis of the article, the writer describes the general notion that he plans to counter with the arguments of his work. The general thesis that most anthropologists seem to believe in is that human behavior is a limited, finite event, which means that it is able to reproduce itself in a finite number of ways. For most anthropologists, the existing, known human communities have, more or less, exhausted the ways in which human behavior shows itself. If a new tribe is discovered, anthropologists believe, it will manifest itself in a way that other tribes have already in the past.

Horace Miner proposes a different thesis with the Nacirema. He believes that there is no limit to the extremes to which human behavior can go. In his opinion, there will always be a new discovery that will show a new, previously unknown dimension of how the human being manifests himself or herself, in a community, in its development, in its relationship with others, in its beliefs etc.

This is, however, only the setting. The clue is that Nacirema reds backwards American. As a consequence, re-reading the article, it results that the things that are described about the Nacirema tribe reflect, in fact, the day-to-day habits of any Western individual, from shaving to going to the hairdresser and putting one's head in the over for an hour. The article actually describes the obsessive behavior that individuals today, primarily Westerners, have when it comes to the way they look. As the article mentions, this society is a society focused increasingly on aesthetics, to the degree to which it results in practices that may appear to an outsider as being sado-masochistic.

So, it becomes more and more obvious, while reading the article and particularly after understanding who the Nacirema is, that this article is primarily an ironic one rather than a purely anthropological one. The author does present behavioral manifestations of our society, but he does so from his own amused and satirical perspective. The main purpose of the article is that of amusing the reader and of making fun of the society in which the author lives as well rather than to present a scientific research to the rest of the world.

However, one cannot say that the article lacks any anthropological value. For all it is worth, these are, in fact, the practices of the American, as well as of individuals in general today, male or female, no matter what developed or developing society they belong to. The author accurately describes daily or weekly or monthly practices in human communities. He is just presenting them in a one-sided, amused manner, with….....

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