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The Main Differences Between The Indigenous And Western Worldviews (Essay Sample)


Research and comment on western culture based on two articles

Student’s Name Instructor’s Name Course Name 9 October 2018 Culture An individual residing within a culture will have their interpretation of the mainstream norms that bind the society. The level of reverence for such learning will depend on the community's philosophy, values, religion, and customs. To understand the ideological differences between the indigenous and western worldviews, then it is vital to appreciate their opinions, values, religion, and traditions based on their worldviews. In this paper, a worldview is the composition of philosophical, religious, and customary beliefs shared by a people. The differential worldviews will become appreciable through an analysis of the said beliefs. Examples will come from three short narratives on indigenous persons and two texts reflecting western culture. The three stories on indigenous people will include two of Thomas King’s short stories titled “Boarders” and “the One about Coyote Going West” and Liliana Heker’s story on “the stolen party. The two texts touching on western culture will be “Hills like White Elephants” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Ernest Hemingway and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, respectively. The first ideological difference is that the indigenous people had their beliefs revolving around spirituality. Natural phenomenon gained meaning and definition through understanding and appreciation of the spiritual and religious beliefs. However, in the western culture, natural phenomenon subjectively attains meaning and interpretation demonstrated through proof and skepticism aimed at substantiating the existence of matter. For instance, in the narrative “One about Coyote Going west” King fashions the native aboriginal groups as individuals that explained each their existence through religion and appreciation of the spirit world (King 97 ). For instance, the emergence of European settlers interrupted their (native communities) cultural norms and beliefs. However, the explanation of the “white man” in the novel receives a spiritual attribute. King notes the European settlers are a creation of Coyote. He further reiterates that the destruction of the environment was because of Coyote creation of the white man who made several mistakes. The ideology is in contrast with the Eurocentric worldview, where the destruction of the environment gains meaning through a scientific explanation as opposed to religion. Contemporary western culture will define environmental degradation based on the emission of poisonous gases and their effect on the world. Secondly, indigenous ideology relies on the existence of various truths based on an individuals’ experience. However, the western doctrine is that only scientific proof can offer valid evidence for the description of an entity. Consider the elephant on the hills where the girl attempts to describe the mountains as merely white elephants, but the young man cannot appreciate them (Hemingway, 230). According to the girl, her abortion was a significant process akin to the mountains, and it would because severe pain and suffering knowing that she killed her baby. The white elephants are figurative from native Thailand, as sacred entities the king would offer to people that would displease him. In so doing, the bearer of the white elephant would suffer significant pain because it was expensive to maintain such a scared creature. Therefore, in the perception of the young girl, there exist several truths, but she can only relate it to her own experience of being pregnant and having to face an abortion. However, the young man cannot substantiate the hills and the elephants because there is no scientific correlation between the two. Another ideological difference is that native or First Nations often viewed land as sacred entity bestowed upon them by the creature. However, western culture advocates for utilisation of the area for the beneficial nature of human beings. Westerners take the approach that mortal beings are in the higher social hierarchy and everything else including land needs to work for the benefit and comfort of people. The ideology of man being in upper hierarchy prompts the assumption that westerners define satisfaction based on the success of achieving goals, while the First Nations measure it by interaction with other people in the society. Imposing a western worldview to the indigenous people will influence their socio-cultural beliefs. It is evident that westerners and indigenous people share different beliefs on religion, philosophy, and cultural values. An attempt to impose the western worldview on First Nations means eradication of the native cultural values, religious beliefs, and norms held dear to them. Such an imposition would often lead to a conflict. For instance, the first conflict took the shape of the land where natives often prevented the utilization of property because of its sacred nature, but the Europeans would force the extraction of natural resources. The conflict contributed to a standoff where the natives felt that the white man was a mistake and his very existence was a threat to the land and environment. Not only did they rebel, but also they waged war to preserve their culture. The story “yellow paper illustrates the relationship between the dominative western settlers, who often tramped upon the natives. The natives felt suffocated and desperate to take action just like the girl in the novel who opted to bite the cheer after feeling helpless and suffocated by the dominative nature of the husband (Gilman 655). Another influence was the emergence of class stratification with the accumulation of wealth. The westerner’s notion of comfort and happiness relied on success and achievement, which in turn described their social status. The indigenous community measured wealth and prosperity based on people relationship, and their idea of comfort and wealth deviated from that of the whites. Class stratification is apparent through the narrative “The stolen party” where a young girl whose mother is a house cleaner attends a party of the wealthy. According to Rosaura, she feels satisfied that she could relate to Luciana’s daughter who comes from a wealthy background. However, she is oblivious of class stratification, and that her existence is for the comfort of the wealthy daughter. In fact, the author likens her attendance to the party with a monkey meant to deliver joy and happiness to the persons attending the party (Heker 1). She did not understand that class stratification placed at particular social status, which Luciana confirmed to her by informing her she was to cheer and entertain the guests. Another implication of western culture on indigenous people is the concept of geographical borders. In the contemporary society, not only do religion, culture and philosophy define people, but also their geographic location and boundaries. For instance, the culture and belief of the Middle East are entirely different to that in Eastern Europe. However, such geographical boundaries did not exist within the aborigines. Through the creation of such superficial and imaginative boundaries, people attain definition and meaning that ties them to the ideals and beliefs of the ge...
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