Animals almost always feature prominently in Native American storytelling — but rather than existing only as creatures that lived in an every-day ecological world, animals were seen as embodiments of spiritual archetypes who existed in concrete form in the netherworlds explored by traveling shamans. Wisdom animals who lived in these regions could talk and think just like humans and they had much wisdom to share with the shaman who traveled to see them as a representative of his people.
The genius of Greek civilization lay more obviously in various facets of culture than in politics. It was Greek culture that determined the most lasting contributions of this civilization to the Mediterranean world, and that served as the key linkage in the larger Hellenistic orbit sketched by Alexander.
The Greeks did not create a major religion, and in this they differed from India and to a lesser extent from China. Greek ideas would ultimately influence great religions, particularly Christianity and to some degree Islam, but this came later.
The characteristic Greek religion was a rather primitive affair, derived from animist belief in the spirits of nature elevated into a complex set of gods and goddesses who were seen as interfering in human life. The Greeks thus had a creator or father god, Zeus, who presided over an unruly assemblage of divinities whose functions ranged from regulating the daily passage of the sun Apollo or the oceans Poseidon to inspiring war or human love and beauty.
Specific gods patronized other human activities such as metalworking, the hunt, literature, and history. Regular ceremonies to the gods had real political importance, and many individuals sought the gods' aid in foretelling the future or in assuring a good harvest or good health. Stories of the gods' activities provided rich entertainment and could drive home lessons about appropriate moral behavior, including courage and humility.
This was a religion, then, passed down from earlier Indo-European experience, that served many human needs and cemented community loyalties.
It was not, however, intensely spiritual. Interestingly the basic Indo-European pantheon was the same as that brought to India, which in both cases assumed human form. The Greek use of religion, however, differed considerably from the more otherworldly Indian outcome.
Greek religion tended toward a human-centered, worldly approach. Stories of the gods allowed illustration of human qualities, rather like soap operas on a vaster scale; the gods could be jealous, sneaky, lustful, and powerful. Greek religion, like the Indian religion, helped engender an important literary tradition.
In the Greek religion the gods primarily provided good stories or served as foils to inquire deeply into human passions and vulnerabilities.
Greek gods were used mainly in terms of what they could do for humankind and what they could reveal about human nature, rather than as sources pushing people toward consideration of higher planes of spirituality or some ultimately divine experience.
Greek religion also had a number of limitations. Its lack of spiritual passion failed to satisfy many ordinary workers and peasants, particularly when times were hard due to political chaos or economic distress. Popular "mystery" religions, which had more exciting rituals and promised greater spiritual insight in contrast to worldly cares, often swept through Greece with secret ceremonies, a strong sense of fellowship, and a greater implication of contact with unfathomable divine powers.
The importance of mystery religions to an extent paralleled the role of Daoism in providing a contrast to more politically-directed religion or philosophy, though none of the mystery religions won the currency or durability of Daoism in China.
Philosophy The limitations of Greek religion also left many literate and educated people dissatisfied. The religion provided stories about how the world came to be as it is, but scant basis for systematic inquiry into nature or human society. And while the dominant religion promoted political loyalty, it did not provide an elaborate basis for ethical thought.
Hence, from at least the 6th century onward, many Greek thinkers attempted to generate philosophical systems separate from a primarily religious base. The attempt to understand humankind, society, and nature by rational observation and deduction became one of the hallmarks of Greek and Hellenistic culture.
The approach was not entirely dissimilar from that of Confucianism in China, but it had different specifics and a different and wider-ranging scope. Many thinkers sought to generate ethical systems on the basis of rational definitions of right and wrong and some sense of the purpose of life on earth.
Socrates born in B. Aristotle, perhaps the most important of the Greek philosophers, maintained this ethical system through stressing the importance of moderation in human behavior against the instability of political life in Athens and the excesses of the gods. During the Hellenistic period other ethical systems were devised.
Thus a group called the Stoics emphasized an inner moral independence to be cultivated by strict discipline of the body and personal bravery.
These ethical systems were major contributions in their own right, attracting many disciples and generating much literary debate; they also would, later, be blended with Christian religious thought.
Greek philosophy further devoted much attention to defining appropriate political structures. Various constitutional systems were discussed, often in light of ongoing political disputes between Athens and Sparta.Scattered across the plains are a number of stone medicine wheels.
Some are extremely large, greater than 12 meters across. The term "Medicine Wheel" was first applied to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, the most southern and the largest in existence. Big Horn is the largest and measures eighty meters across; o n the June Solstice, a ray from the Sun cuts directly across it.
I think storytelling is an art that has to revived and preserved for future generations. It ought to be included in the school and college curriculums." A thought seconded by Huda Khamis Kanoo, the founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Art Foundation (Admaf).
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We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state. The Native American history of storytelling is rich with culture. In this brief, introductory article, we discuss the importance of storytelling and how stories were passed down from generation to generation.
Each telling contributes to the preservation of a . National Geographic is the source for pictures, photo tips, free desktop wallpapers of places, animals, nature, underwater, travel, and more, as well as photographer bios.