Nostalgia for Paradise

Douglas C. Comer

in Ritual Ground

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 1996 | ISBN: 9780520204294
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520918702 | DOI:
Nostalgia for Paradise

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This chapter introduces the concept of ritual as the re-enactment of the actions of the ancestors and gods which transformed primordial chaos into the order of the world, contending that the neotenic nature of our oceanic desire structures ritual behavior in predictable ways, ways which conform to universal experiences and perceptions. It cites as an example the Sun Dance ceremony of Plains Indians, which has been appropriated by modern American culture as a paradisiacal model by which to legitimate unbridled concern for self and self-advancement.

Keywords: ritual; primordial chaos; oceanic desire; ritual behavior; universal experiences; Sun Dance; Plains Indians; modern American culture; paradisiacal model

Chapter.  11048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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