The World We Live Essays

The World We Used to Live In by Vine Deloria Essay

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Vine Deloria, author of The World We Used to Live In, not only introduces his readers to indigenous Native American spirituality and traditional practices including ceremonies but also brings several important ideas of native spirituality to the forefront. He discusses the importance of having and maintaining a relationship with mother earth and all living beings; an interconnectedness with nature in all forms that is crucial to the understanding and practice of Native American spirituality. Dreams and visions were discussed as an important form of communication in indigenous spirituality. The important relationships with animal and plant spirits are discussed. The concept of power and what is considered power in Native Spirituality.…show more content…

Vine Deloria, author of The World We Used to Live In, not only introduces his readers to indigenous Native American spirituality and traditional practices including ceremonies but also brings several important ideas of native spirituality to the forefront. He discusses the importance of having and maintaining a relationship with mother earth and all living beings; an interconnectedness with nature in all forms that is crucial to the understanding and practice of Native American spirituality. Dreams and visions were discussed as an important form of communication in indigenous spirituality. The important relationships with animal and plant spirits are discussed. The concept of power and what is considered power in Native Spirituality. Deloria talks about the importance of place in indigenous spirituality. It is believed that power and wisdom rests in places. The landscape holds memories of all that has ever happened. Through all the aspects Deloria discusses in his book, readers get a clear view and better understanding of Native American spirituality through various accounts of different tribal activities and interviews from both emic and etic perspectives of culture. By using a wide range of research, Deloria does a fairly good job of remaining unbiased which is a difficult thing for anyone to do. The first main idea Deloria discusses in his book is the importance of nature in Native American Spirituality. A relationship with mother earth is of the utmost importance to

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Indeed, the axiom that machines never forget is built into the very format of e-mail -- consider that many e-mail programs automatically ''quote'' your words when someone replies to your message. Every day, my incoming

e-mail reminds me of the very words I wrote yesterday, last week or even months ago. It's as if the gotcha politics of Washington were being brought to bear on our everyday lives. Every time I finish an e-mail message, I pause for a few seconds to reread it before I hit ''send'' just to make sure I haven't said something I'll later regret. It's as if I'm constantly awaiting the subpoena. And it's not only e-mail that records our deeds for future scrutiny. Before going on a first date, people Google their partners to see what they can learn. Mobile phones take photographs. The other day I saw an ad promoting the world's first ''terabyte'' hard drive for consumers' use: it can store two years' worth of continuous music, or about 200 million pieces of average-size e-mail. In a couple of years, that sort of hardware will be standard issue in even the cheapest Dell computer. We are facing an age in which virtually nothing will be forgotten.

Maybe this helps explain why television programs like ''C.S.I.'' have become so popular. They're all about revealing the sneaky things that people do. We watch with fascination and unease as scientists inspect the tiniest of clues -- a stray hair on a car seat, a latent fingerprint on a CD-ROM. After you've seen high-tech cops rake over evidence from a crime scene with ultraviolet light and luminol and genetic sequencers enough times, you get the message: Watch out, punk. We've got files on you. Forensic science has become the central drama of pop culture, and its popularity may well increase our anxieties about technology. So no wonder we're so careful to restrict our lying to low-fi environments. We have begun to behave like mobsters, keenly suspicious of places that might be bugged, conducting all of our subterfuge in loud restaurants and lonely parks, where we can meet one on one.

Still, it's not only the fear of electronic exposure that drives us to tell the truth. There's something about the Internet that encourages us to spill our guts, often in rather outrageous ways. Psychologists have noticed for years that going online seems to have a catalytic effect on people's personalities. The most quiet and reserved people may become deranged loudmouths when they sit behind the keyboard, staying up until dawn and conducting angry debates on discussion boards with total strangers. You can usually spot the newbies in any discussion group because they're the ones WRITING IN ALL CAPS -- they're tripped out on the Internet's heady combination of geographic distance and pseudo-invisibility.

One group of psychologists found that heated arguments -- so-called flame-war fights, admittedly a rather fuzzy category -- were far more common in online discussion boards than in comparable face-to-face communications. Another researcher, an Open University U.K. psychologist named Adam Joinson, conducted an experiment in which his subjects chatted online and off. He found that when people communicated online, they were more likely to offer up personal details about themselves without any prompting. Joinson also notes that the Samaritans, a British crisis-line organization, has found that 50 percent of those who write in via e-mail express suicidal feelings, compared with only 20 percent of those who call in. This isn't because Net users are more suicidally depressed than people offline. It's just that they're more comfortable talking about it -- ''disinhibited,'' as the mental-health profession would say.

Who knew? When the government created the Internet 30 years ago, it thought it was building a military tool. The Net was supposed to help the nation survive a nuclear attack. Instead, it has become a vast arena for collective therapy -- for a mass outpouring of what we're thinking and feeling. I spend about an hour every day visiting blogs, those lippy Web sites where everyone wants to be a pundit and a memoirist. (Then I spend another hour writing my own blog and adding to the cacophony.) Stripped of our bodies, it seems, we become creatures of pure opinion.

Our impulse to confess via cyberspace inverts much of what we think about honesty. It used to be that if you wanted to know someone -- to really know and trust them -- you arranged a face-to-face meeting. Our culture still fetishizes physical contact, the shaking of hands, the lubricating chitchat. Executives and politicians spend hours flying across the country merely for a five-minute meeting, on the assumption that even a few seconds of face time can cut through the prevarications of letters and legal contracts. Remember when George W. Bush first met Vladimir Putin, gazed into his eyes and said he could trust him because he'd acquired ''a sense of his soul''?

So much for that. If Bush really wanted the straight goods, he should have met the guy in an AOL chat room. And maybe, in the long run, that's the gratifying news. As more and more of our daily life moves online, we could find ourselves living in an increasingly honest world, or at least one in which lies have ever more serious consequences. Bush himself can't put old statements about W.M.D. behind him partly because so many people are forwarding his old speeches around on e-mail or posting them on Web sites. With its unforgiving machine memory, the Internet might turn out to be the unlikely conscience of the world.

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