Would you want to live among the Naciremas? Why or why not?
After reading Horace Miner’s Body Ritual Among the Nacirema I cannot say that I would want to be part of the tribe. A huge reason would be that I could never go from my own Christian faith to the religious practices of the Nacirema. My second reason for not wanting to be part of the tribe is that I could never be subjected to the horrific medical practices and “magical potions” used on every citizen in the tribe.
One of the fundamental beliefs of the Nacirema is that “the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease.” According to the Christian tradition, the human body is fallen and is therefore prone to disease and weakness; so in that respect, I do not completely disagree with the Nacirema.
However, they seem to take the ugliness of the body to a whole new extreme. Their fascination with the mouth is extremely interesting. In today’s society we don’t necessarily see the mouth as an evil device, but more as a tool for communication and sexuality. The relationship between oral and moral characteristics is an interesting way to see the world. I had a lot of cavities before the age of 16, and I can honestly say that I wasn’t an overly evil child; it’s just a byproduct of not brushing and too much sugar. The Nacirema seem to read a lot into things that are just repercussions of a life lived.
The medicine men seem to be taking extreme advantage of the people he is supposed to be taking care of. They seem to be out for more selfish pursuits as opposed to really sincerely helping the people. I could not believe that the sick had to give gifts before they could be “helped” and after they were “helped.” The fact that they experienced immense. .ianity in America is one of the “easiest” religions to pursue and to live.
But people, in and out of the faith, still do not see any need for it. So I can honestly respect the Nacirema for their devotion and accountability to their faith even if I don’t really agree with what they are doing it for.
There is absolutely no way I would ever want to be part of a culture like the Nacirema. I think we can learn a lot about devotion from this culture. They devote their lives to learning and living for what they believe which is very respectful in a lot of ways. However, the practices that require mutilation and torture are not things that I could ever be part of.
No society should ever require their people to suffer in order to hold to their beliefs. It is interesting to study cultures so different from ours because it puts a lot of the freedoms we enjoy into perspective.