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Native American experience of time


Dizzie
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I once watched a video where native tribal peoples were asked to arrange a series of paper plates representing various events in a timeline. The natives surprisingly arranged them in a circle. When asked about a deceased member of the tribe, they responded with something to the effect of "They are not here now. There are at another time." It represented a different manner of access to time and certainly of experiencing it.

 

While I don't know what video it was, this article about the Amondawa tribe in South America may be about the same people. This dense research article (of which I've only read the Abstract) also references the tribe, along with a couple of others. It suggests the particular relationship with time is more widespread geographically in the Amazon.

 

While the differences can certainly be explained via culture and linguistic differences, I've mused about whether the natives could have access to time in a way that we don't. We are all time machines in a way - could they be more attuned to the capabilities of our biological machinery? If nothing else, it might make a good story plot.

 

Credit to @Walker's post for bringing back this memory.

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I've mused about whether the natives could have access to time in a way that we don't. We are all time machines in a way - could they be more attuned to the capabilities of our biological machinery? If nothing else, it might make a good story plot.

Can't believe I missed this one, this is fascinating. I wonder what sort of history this culture went through to arrive at this perspective... It's one I can see a people subscribing to, but it seems counterintuitive when an arguably "easier" understanding would be less gymnastics.

 

I will have to dig into the bigger article sometime, I'm interested in how stuff like this happens. EXCELLENT find.

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Yeah, with no basis in a particular culture's knowledge (e.g. "Western society"), it's interesting how minds with a fresh perspective draw their own meaning. It's almost as if there is a different "lens" they are looking through when it comes to many things. I think this is part of the allure of Star Trek for me - experiencing the imagined ways that alien societies view life and their experience. Heck, it's part of what makes foreign travel interesting or, for that matter, talking to a new acquaintance. I suppose that while we all have the same basic hardware, we experience and interpret our environment and experiences in differing shades. More separation seems to equal higher contrast. Thank you for reading my unintended meandering essay which is unlikely to enlighten.
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it's interesting how minds with a fresh perspective draw their own meaning. It's almost as if there is a different "lens" they are looking through when it comes to many things. I think this is part of the allure of Star Trek for me - experiencing the imagined ways that alien societies view life and their experience. Heck, it's part of what makes foreign travel interesting

100% this, well said man. I lived in Germany for a short bit and definitely felt the "different lens". Something about that is just fun to turn over in your mind and wonder or be amazed at. "Is my red the same as your red". Or a big game of Plinko where you land somewhere unexpected from the same starting point.

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Good gracious I loved Plinko as a kid. For some reason my sister and I would go crazy for it, maybe because the money was bigger and the result was instant, kind of like a slot machine?

 

Ich war auch im Deutschland für eine kleine mal! Kuhl.

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@Dizzie you want to look into the infamous Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. That your thoughts and actions are constrained or determined by the language you use.

 

It's an infamous theory which is constantly debated in linguistics. But it's possible that by adopting the language of another culture who's concept of time is different will cause you to experience time differently.

 

A very old Cornish language which is apparently spoke now only by three people in the world so basically on the soon to be extinct category. Had a different concept of time such that speakers of it have both memories of the past and future events.

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While the differences can certainly be explained via culture and linguistic differences, I've mused about whether the natives could have access to time in a way that we don't. We are all time machines in a way - could they be more attuned to the capabilities of our biological machinery? If nothing else, it might make a good story plot.

Every Native American nation has a belief in reincarnation, thus the circle of life. Some nations believe multiple souls come back as reincarnated people, others believe its just one, others still believe there are a fixed number of reincarnations or the reincarnated are people who didn't complete their path before dying. Time travel machines? Not so much.

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