We begin with the cultural-anthropological assumption that a people’s world-view is based in concepts of time and process, and is reflected in the ceremonies, customs, rituals, and other traditional patterns of social conduct within the society. In a case study of the Native American Cherokee, linear modes of inquiry, characteristic of Western science, are shown to be limited in their capacity to examine and appreciate these dimensions of culture in pre-literate societies. It is suggested that those aspects of our own culture which are grounded in aesthetic value may also be relatively inaccessible for the same reason. By examining meanings of time and process in Cherokee culture, we discover traditions of life processed occurring within cyclical rhythms of nature as well as a sense of personal identity. The hope is that, armed with such awareness, we may be better able to move beyond a confining ethnocentrisms toward a more comprehensive understanding of our selves within a world-view that is more integrated and participatory.
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