Anthropology Theory of Idealism

Jay Rasmussen


In the middle ages people believed that sorcerers could control the sun or dragons would eat the sun.  That god was angry at them when there would be a solar eclipse.  They would shoot flaming arrows into the sun to get it to restart.  Some believed this would help. There was a book and a movie that was called a Yankee in King Arthurs court that showed when the main character was going to be burned at the stake.  At the time there was going to be an eclipse.  He used this to pretend he was a sorcerer to help him get out of his circumstances.  The person that was the sorcerer was trying to correct what was happening to the sun however the original sorcerer was not able to do anything while the pretending sorcerer was able to make the sun appear.   Today we know that the earth travels around the sun in an elliptical manner.  The solar eclipse in 1991 people shot at the sun to chase the beast away so the only casualties where the people when they shot at the sun they hit people even though it was directed at the sun.  Individuals that are educated really know what it means when we have a solar eclipse.  It just means that the moon is between us and the sun.  Not a god being angry at us.  Some people think that when people get sick that this is caused by an angry god that you did something wrong.   People today still think that this is possible that god is out to get them and angry at them.  Even though we live in this modern medically advanced age and we have all these ways to diagnose.  We still have people thinking god will strike you down.  Looking at people “behavioral acts we can contrast Harris! Behavioral emphasis with the definition by Clifford Geertz, a major opponent of and idealist approach to anthropology”.  Levi-Struass nature -culture beliefs in looking at the symbols that people look at like the totem and totemism/family.   You need to have animal representation, the people with this is you must have cooperation, safety, and marriage This is a religious belief in totem animals that the ancestor is in the totem.  This is also like Durkhiem’s he is considered a structural functionalist he wrote the article 1912 cosmological systems about that you had to have three criteria for this on is that you had to have a representation of the totem or animal and the it could be a plant, animal you also had to have a group people.    Evans Prichard  is a Bristish Structionalist he wrote a book the Neur religion in this book talked about how the Neur people look at totem’s within the totems believe in the animal spirit that the ancestors can influence the totem.

We may think that these guys are primitive for looking at totem’s but our culture has its own types of totems in sports in our own religion are keeping us together.  Our education for our people still has a far way to come to educate people on superstition versus natural phenomenon’s.



E.P. Thompson theory of Time is now currency: it is not passed but spent.

Companies use Thompsons theory for business and looking at employee’s performance.  From the past performance to the current performance to judge their future performance.  This is also how schools judge your performance in school when you take a test this helps the teachers to judge your performance and understanding of the material.  The results of your test would be similar to being paid for time spent or invested.

Time is a social construct that people have decided on the rules of time. People are the ones that made daylight savings time as well as how many days in a week and weeks in a month and year.

Looking back into the past about measuring time. There is two ways to measures time. one way is calendar and the second way is using an hourly device.  The first calendar was established by using the moon this was about 6000 years ago.  We are now using the Gregorian calendar.  This is to measure the passing days and to schedule things in the future.

The second way we measure the passing of time is measured through a device of some kind.  One of the first devices was the sundial.  This has some draw backs you had to have the sun and it must be a clear day.  The sundial is extremely accurate.  The next time piece is a water clock it dates to 1525 BC it was found in an Egyptian tomb.  The water clock drips water down the clock and moves the gears to keep the time.  Someone must make sure that the water is full or you will lose the time accuracy.  We also used an hour glass made with water or sand to count time.  Someone had to keep turning it to keep accurate time.  Now we use digital time pieces to keep our time.  Time has governed our lives we are always looking at time pieces to know what we are to do next based on what time it is.

One of the ways this is done is by the way we cook, for me personally I must cook using time and timers to ensure accurate results.  Another way is when I am walking I go by time and distance I don’t count steps.  If I count steps and if someone talks to me I would lose my count and would have to start over again. This is how I use time and distance.  In the education system they use time to keep time and schedules.  They also use it for tests to see how well you know the information in a timely manner.  They also use it in sports to see how fast you can run.  When I worked on the fire department we used time to measure when a call came in how fast we responded, how fast we got to the scene and how fast we got to the hospital.  These times where recorded to make sure we responded in a timely manner that had previously been set as a benchmark.  Most work places run off schedules or times that certain tasks are to be complete.  Whether you’re in manufacturing or hospitals you are always using time to measure quality in the workplace.  Manufacturing usually uses time and piece measurements to see how productive they are.  Hospitals use time to measure responses to emergency situations as well as diagnoses of patients results.

Time and calendars are essential in our daily lives.  We use them to document our lives they keep us on task and even tells us when to eat.  We are given 24 hours in 1 calendar day. We have a choice on how to spend those given hours.  Time helps us to manage our work, rest, play, and other activities.  Most things are directly impacted by time.  Time can be your friend or enemy depending on how you utilize your time.



Carins, S. (Chapter 7). The Good Book Theory. In The Good Book.