47004Re: Move into new life
- Sep 3, 2006Sharon, I agree with your general thesis but would suggest that
Romanticizing indigenous culture is not counter-productive.
Romanticism; This early 19th- century movement elevated the individual,
the passions, and the inner life. It stressed strong emotion,
imagination, freedom from classical correctness in art forms, and
rebellion against social conventions.
The concept of the noble savage has particular associations with
romanticism and with Rousseau's romantic philosophy in particular.
Rousseau's 1754 masterpiece "Discourse On Inequality" which, along with
Rousseau's later book, "The Social Contract," was a primary influence of
Jefferson and the DemocraticRepublicans. Rousseau opened "The Social
Contract" (and jolted Enlightenment thinkers, including - in a big way -
Jefferson) with this sentence: "Man is born free, but everywhere is in
Ben Franklin had introduced the Albany Plan of Union at a meeting
attended by both his pre-revolutionary compatriots and a delegation from
the Iroquois Confederation. Franklin had earlier attended an Iroquois
Condolence Ceremony in 1753, and used Iroquois symbols both in his
language and his design for early American currency. In 1770, Franklin
wrote,"Happiness is more generally and equally diffusï¿½d among
Savages than in civilized societies. No European who has tasted savage
life can afterwards bear to live in our societies."
An interesting readï¿½Franklin,Remarks Concerning the Savages
In 1747, Reverend Cadwallader Colden wrote of the growing exodus of
Whites for Indian life: "No Arguments, no Intreaties, nor Tears of their
Friends and relations, could persuade many of them to leave their new
Indian Friends and Acquaintance; several of them that were by the
Caressings oftheir Relations persuaded to come Home, in a little Time
grew tired of our Manner of living, and ran away again to the Indians,
and ended their Days with them."
Some suggest these romanticized views transformed the Enlightenment
into the Declaration of Independence, and that into the United States of
Over the next hundred years, as more and more Whites encountered Native
Americans, the incidence of Whites joining Indian tribes dramatically
increased. Derisively termed "White Indians" by the colonists, thousands
of European immigrants to the Americas simply walked away from the
emerging American society to join various Indian tribes. Ethnohistorian
James Axtell wrote that these early settlers joined the Indians
because"they found Indian life to possess a strong sense of community,
abundant love, and uncommon integrityï¿½" Axtell quoted two White
Indians who wrote to the people theyï¿½d left behind that theyï¿½d
found, "the most perfect freedom, the ease of living, the absence of
those cares and corroding solicitudes which so often prevail with us."
Colden wrote: "ï¿½Indian Children have been carefully educated among
the English, cloathed and taught, yet, I think, there is not one
Instance, that any of these, after they had Liberty to go among their
own People, and were come to Age, would remain with the English, but
returned to their own Nations, and became as fond of the Indian Manner
as those that knew nothing of a civilized Manner of living."
James Bricknell, who was captured by the Delaware in the early 1800s and
lived among them for several years before returning to his family, wrote
in 1842: "The Delawares are the best people to train up children I ever
was withï¿½ Their leisure hours are, in a great measure, spent in
training up their children to observe what they believe to be
rightï¿½ They certainly follow what they are taught to believe right
more closely, and Imight say more honestly, in general, than we
Christiansï¿½ I know I am influenced to good, even at this day, more
from what I learned among them, than what I learned among people of my
The values of some indigenous cultures seem more in congruence with the
virtues that bind humanity and the bonds, which create the universe.
However, as you point out, they paid an exorbitant price to live in this
manner. Why can we not make it far more affordable?
Indigenous Peoples and Neotropical Forest Conservation: Impacts of
Protected Area Systems on Traditional Cultures. Indigenous Peoples and
Neotropical Forest Conservation
Environment, Economy and Energy in Costa Rica: The Case Study of
Petroleum Exploration in the Province of LÃmon. Environment, Economy
and Energy in Costa Rica
(many of us depended on consumption of goods to generate a paycheck).
True and some had to rob (Enron) some kill (soldiers) some
pollute(Exxon) and others become politicians in order to survive but
does that suggest we are incapable of reform? Do we acquiesce to a
system that primarily offers addictive diversions interrupted by
ever-sharper episodes of anxiety?
Advanced technologies do not preclude any lifestyle from choosing to
renounce manual labour. Especially when it is in servitude to others out
of necessity rather than choice. Advanced technologies provide us the
ability to organize ourselves politically and socially far different
than what was required to facilitate Industrialization. Technology has
turned what was once fantasy into reality.
Romanticism; a portrayal of life as the writer wishes it could be--more
adventurous, fantastic, and picturesque. Why Not?
I donât think the current debate should revolve around the issue
of what got us to where we are today but rather what can we do with the
knowledge and understanding that has been acquired. I suggest that
sharing is the best method to turn this information into wisdom. In my
opinion, progress comes from accepting empirical observations when they
conflict with our romanticized ideals, not instead of them.
PS...My neighbor came from a family of 17. He has 2 children. His
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