It is very difficult as a reader to make any sense of the ritualsperformed by the Nacirema.
The Nacirema are a people who stress the importanceof physical wellness and go to great and to the outsider horrific lengths toensure this.A professor Linton was the first to shed light on the particularlybizarre lifestyle that is lived by the Nacirema. Physical wellness being soheavily stressed is not the bizarre aspect, it is the spiritual sense andseemingly blind faith they put into their beliefs that is bewildering. Thesepeople believe the human body is ugly and that it breeds disease. The Naciremapray daily through a private shrine in there house to , what seems to me cleanseand prevent, what to them lurks and breeds in our body.
It is believed by thepeople that there is magical forces possesed in a chest in the shrine. Theseforces or magic is supplied through text by a medicine man who holds very highstature among the Nacirema. One part of the body that is seen to be excpeciallyunholy is the mouth.
One major part of the cleansing of the mouth is done onceor twice a year by the holy mouth men.This is where the man uses exotic instruments to open holes larger indecaying teeth or even healthy teeth. The teeth, with nerve exposed, are stuffedwithmagicalmaterial to arrest decay. To the outsider this is torturous.
Thereare many other disturbing body cleansing rituals like the baking of women’sheads scheduled by the patterns of the moon. This culture is one of manycultures who put there faith in past on beliefs and go to seemingly horrificmeasures carrying them out.This article was frightening as well as uplifting to me.
What wasfrightening to me is the fact that in the US these disturbing rituals takeplace. As I already stated as an outsider it is very difficult trying to makesense of these customs in terms of my society.I was being quite ethnocentric. Ittook me a while to get my stomach back and realize that these people are borninto this lifestyle. These rituals are apart of the religion they hold dear tothere 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 religiousdevotion.
The Nacirema go to great lengths to, in there minds cleanse the unholybody. Although it may turn your stomach as well as mine, I believe we should becultural relativist, step back and respect such deep faith and belief. I alsobelieve there is a lesson to be learned here.
For if our society as a wholeupheld and blindly excepted the teachings of our respected religions, we wouldliv e in a safer and better educated society than we do today. Category: Social Issues