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Shellie McCurdy RELI 121 Midterm I dont happen to know the Honor Code Statement but Please begin

your essay with a statement of the Honor Code, swearing that you have not received aid, consulted prohibited materials, or engaged in intellectual dishonesty during the preparation or completion of this exam. I SWEAR 2) You attend a conference where Nietzsche, Douglas, and Hertz are all speakers. During the Q&A session at the end, an audience member asks the panel, What are mental categories, and how are our psychological dispositions related to religion? How would each author respond? What would they all agree on? To begin with, all three of these speakers would agree that mental categories exist and play and an important role in the way humans view the world. Categories inform individuals about the identities of the things around them and also help to inform the individuals own identity. However, these three authors would perhaps not fully agree on what causes this phenomenon. To this question, Nietzche would respond that mental categories are the shadows of God. He writes, We have arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live but that does not prove them. Life is no argument (The Gay Science, 177). Following the death of God (a result of the enlightenment), Nietzche argues that humanity needed a way to replicate the former absolute Truth which came previously from religion, so they began to impose categories on the world to create order. These categories (the Systems humanity) cover a number of things law, biology, politics, anthropology and are now considered the basis of rational thought and study. This order appears to be natural and absolute, but in reality are just created by humanity, as a shadow of the way things were when religion more fully governed thought. . Everything must be cleanly defined and it into these shapes which people have projected onto the world, but they are just an aesthetic anthropomorphism of order. Mary Douglas goes a bit further and argues that, though mostly culturally informed, categories also have an element that is partly psychological the brain filters information in a way so that it only has to deal with things that are relevant. Human perception is a psychological classification, and this plays a role in how society works. If a group of humans share the same mental categories, they will cooperate more fully, since they impose the same system of organization onto the world they share. She writes, For I believe that ideas about separating, purifying, demarcating and punishing transgressions have as their main function to impose system on an inherently untidy experience. It is only by exaggerating the difference between within and without, about and below, male and female, with and against, that a semblance of order is created (Purity and Danger, 4). In a slightly more functional approach than Nietzsche, she argues that ritual purity is an indicator of a shared set of categories among people, which serves to unite them into a society. By enforcing these categories of purity/dirt, the society solidifies itself. Hertz again moves beyond Douglass argument, into a discussion of how individuals and groups are informed both by culture and by nature. He explores this through a discussion of the right hand, which is culturally favored, but only has a slight biological predilection. He writes, these categories are transcendent only in relation to the individual: placed in their original setting, the collective consciousness, they appear as facts of nature, subject to change and dependent on complex conditions (The Preeminence of the Right Hand, 113). He argues that categories (usually in the form of binaries, as he strongly favored a dualistic form of the world) can be a result of a slight natural preference,

but become naturalized to seem as though they are absolute and greatly favored over another. In summary, Nietzsche argues that the function of categories is to replace the previous presence of God, Douglas argues that the function of categories is to unite people with similar mental categories into a society, and Hertz argues that slight natural predeterminations for things result in a naturalized, cultural categorical preference for things, but they all agree that categories play an integral role in society for the formation of identity. 3) Summarize, compare and contrast the concepts of the sacred in Caillois and the liminal in Turner. How are the sacred and the liminal socially constructed, and how might they help to maintain and legitimize social order? The Sacred, as written about by Caillois, is a place of forces and energy, where nothing is fixed and things are transformative. It causes feelings of awe and annihilation when one enters into it. The sacred resembles a lot of characteristics of the Numinous from Ottos writings, but without being so specifically geared towards Christian mysticism, and rather than being strictly a binary between good and evil such as in Hertz model, within the sacred, there are elements that are both pure/good and evil/impure. He writes, Living energies and the powers of death are joined to form the positive and negative poles of the religious world (The Ambiguity of the Sacred, 45). The pure side includes things such as angels, gods, and the spirits of ancestors, while the impure side includes trickster gods, devils, and demons. People who enter into the world of the sacred often come back to the world of the profane changed, and if they are not careful, they can be changed for the worse, or even go insane. The Liminal period is a stage of life between two well established social states. It begins with a separation, where one loses their previous property, status, and rank, and becomes a neophyte. They undergo social death and lose their identity, experience isolation, secrets, ambiguous monsters, and rebirth via aggregation, which establishes them in a new social state. There they move out of the liminal, gain a new identity, responsibility, and knowledge as a result of their journey through the liminal. Turner writes that the liminal is believed to change their nature, transform them from one kind of human being into another. It intimately unites man and office (Betwixt and Between, 108). While in the liminal the neophyte experiences invisible ambiguity (being between two states and structurally invisible), they move on through this to return to stability and structure, gaining new position, identity, and understanding, and often forging deep friendship bonds with those who went through the process with them. Both the sacred and the liminal in these works are worlds of fluidity, where there are no essentials and things are always shifting, and there are more than the things that reason can essentially define. It is possible to map Turners model onto Calloiss model; the two social states are profane while the liminal is the sacred. However, there remains a key difference. Entering into the sacred via Calloiss model is dangerous, that is why there are prohibitions and taboos constructed by society to keep them separate. An individual enters into the sacred alone and unguided, so if they are not careful, they could come back too transformed. The constructed prohibitions and taboos prevent passage into the sacred in order to prevent the transformation of too many individuals into insanity, thus protecting the social structure. The passage through the liminal, though fundamentally chaotic, is socially constructed by the means of rites of passage. The society the individual belongs to has created rituals and processes to help guide the neophyte through it as quickly and safely as possible. If the passage through the liminal is required, then society helps the neophyte as much as possible, also to insure that their transformation is into something of which it approves. Both the taboos and prohibitions around the sacred and the rites

of passage through the liminal help to maintain control over individuals traveling into the world of fluidity, in order to protect societys well-established world of essences.