Poetic Key To Reality Essay

1705 words - 7 pages

Erik LoweFred MyersEssay 1October 1st, 2014Poetic Key to RealityFrench aristocrat, writer, and poet, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry defined that, "A civilization is a heritage of beliefs, customs, and knowledge slowly accumulated in the course of centuries, elements difficult at times to justify by logic, but justifying themselves as paths when they lead somewhere, since they open up for man his inner distance." The aboriginal civilization is one that is mystifying to westerners because of its archaic perception. Such simple lifestyles and traditions of the aboriginals may defy the logic of modern civilizations. Though, to fully understand their way of life is as difficult as it would be for them to make sense of our own. Peoples' perceptions of the world vary within their subcultures. To say that another's view of life is perhaps false, is to reject the concept of individuality. The truth of the aboriginals that has been widely discussed and analyzed by many anthropologists can be traced down to a single concept, "The Dreaming." Both Stanner and Myers analyze this concept and its influence on aboriginal and Pintupi way of life. Through the eyes of westerners, the meaning of The Dreaming may be obfuscated by cultural differences and misinterpretations of such a foreign yet fundamental idea of aboriginal and Pintupi culture. Stanner and Myers' interpretations of The Dreaming's relationship to life, existence, and aboriginal perception show many similarities with very few contradictions to each other.Before further discussion of The Dreaming, it is important to highlight the fact that overall understanding of this concept is subject to the anthropologists' personal interpretations from encounters with the aboriginal people. In his writings about The Dreaming, Stanner is quick to admit, "We shall not understand The Dreaming fully except as a complex of meanings. A blackfellow may call his totem, or the place from which his spirit came, his Dreaming. He may also explain the existence of a custom, or law of life, as casually due to The Dreaming" (Stanner 23). Myers even discloses in his book, "Yet for all that has been written, the relationship between this cultural construction of time, space, and personhood and the particular varieties of social life remains problematic" (Myers 47). Both experts in their field understand the complexities of this concept and acknowledge the reality that perhaps a westerner's interpretation of The Dreaming may never be as wholesome as those born within Pintupi civilization.The Dreaming is an integral and influential component of aboriginal life and provides explanations of human existence. Put simply, Stanner states that, "A central meaning of The Dreaming is that of a sacred, heroic time long ago when man and nature came to be as they are; but neither 'time' nor 'history' as we understand them is involved in this meaning" (Stanner 23). In essence, this concept describes the origins of the aboriginal people through...

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