European Integration

European Integration

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The key development in the study of European integration is the growing awareness of the "new world" created for both whites and Indians as a result of their contact. Earlier histories showed the creation of the European civilization over Indian "savagery", or illustrated the decimation of native peoples through military defeat and disease. In both versions, native peoples were seen primarily as passive victims, but recent analyzation of past writings and tell another story entirely. They draw the attention to the enduring native resistance to white domination. Even more importantly to the multiple forms of cultural adaptation and accommodation that took place on both sides. This paper will explain these ways in which the west served to orientalize the native inhabitants of the new world, and will show why the European integration was fundamentally wrong from all aspects.
The first way to describe the Europeans differences from the "other" is religion. As seen in the early drawings of the universe, it is illustrated with earth at the center. Within earth was a place meant to represent hell, and above to represent heaven. This shows how religion influenced early European scientific understanding. As time progresses, the maps begin to show less religious symbolism and more scientific rationalism. But the notion of religion was not eliminated. Nicholas of Cusa explains this by stating he saw the universe as containing everything except God, who contained it. This understanding was applied to the later maps not showing religious presence at all. The aspects that were not understood were derived by religious means, such as the planet’s orbits being perfectly circular and symmetrical, showing God must have created everything in perfect order and harmony. The Native Americans developed religious systems that were composed of cosmologies—creation myths, transmitted orally from one generation to the next. This went to explain how those societies had come into being. Most natives worshiped an all-powerful creator or “Master Spirit”. They also venerated a spirits of lesser supernatural entities, including an evil god who dealt out disaster, suffering, and death. Though some aspects of native religion were similar to the European’s Catholic and Protestant religions, the lack of scientific rationalism in accordance was one reason the natives were seen as inferior.
In addition to the natives lack of scientific rationalism involved within their religious practices, was also the lack of scientific structure involved in their economic functions. As shown in the first illustrations of early natives, their societies consisted of mainly just their homes.

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The homes consisted of basic materials, obtained and constructed through natural means. There was no specific order in which the homes were constructed in relation to one another, but only in the same general area. They had no systems of order like the Europeans, such as towns and houses constructed in an organized fashion. The natives had systems of mostly basic hunting and gathering, farming, and the creating simple tools and weapons. Tomas Hariot portrays, “In some places of the country one only towne belongs to the government of a 'Wirans' or chief Lord yet who we had dealing with had but eighteen towns in his government, and was able to make not above seven or eight hundred fighting men at the most: The language of every government is different from any other, and the farther they are distant the greater is the difference.” He explains this system of government from the western point of view. He tells how each town can have one leader, and some leaders are head of multiple towns. Then explains what type of power they must possess from the number of fighting men they are able to assemble. “Able to make not seven or eight hundred fighting men at most” therefore being inferior to the Europeans from a combative stand point. Hariot then explains how the common language differs from areas of native population. “The father they are distant the greater the difference.” This is the realization that the native are not as interconnected over great distances like the Europeans, therefore not having as great of capabilities.
It is in this manner that the Europeans see themselves throughout all aspects of the way the native cultures function. The perceived way Europeans see themselves in comparison to the natives has created the sense of rationalism in the European society. This is apparent in the early artwork of natives created by European artists. These paintings of natives show them in a primitive sense. They are seen with very little clothing, the religious practices were portrayed as uncivilized, and the basic ways of life are shown to be as savages. In contrast to western artwork of Europeans, they are seen with lots of clothing, and seen more organized and structured. As written by Jean DeLery, “Now this next thing is no less strange or difficult to believe for those who have not seen it: then men, women, and children do not hide any parts of their bodies; what is more, without any sign or shame, they habitually live and go about their lives as naked as they come out of their mother’s womb.” He is explaining them in a primitive sense because of the fact they where no clothes and are not shamed by it. He also states this as it would be difficult for the western society to believe. Through this rationalism they are superior, and natives categorized as savages. They think any view appealing to reason, is a source of knowledge or justification. This is what created the European rationalism.
These subjects explain what was fundamentally wrong with the European integration. The Europeans created a view of the natives based on the lifestyle they have lived and learned to be correct. The failed understanding was that native culture is simply just a different lifestyle rather than inferior race. It was these notions that eventually lead to the conquest of the native society.
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