Intro to Aztec Philosophy

Step by Step Directions:1. State the title and author of the argument in your summary.2.Give a brief summary/explanation of at least one argument in the reading (no more than 200 words)3.Use the remaining space to respond to the article in any of the following ways (choose at least two)Do you agree with the author? Why or why not?Did you find anything the author wrote to be particularly interesting? How so?Can you relate anything the author said to a real life event you have experienced or have seen/read in the news/media? Origins and HistoryAlthough exact records are not available, the Aztec people are said to have originated from a group of hunter-gatherer nomads who settled in the area that is now Mexico City around 1325 C.E.Eagle, serpent, and cactus on Mexican FlagThese nomadic people who spoke the language Náhuatl and were also known as the Tenocha and the Mexica, worshiped a number of gods and believed that they were a chosen people. Because of this, they looked for divine signs of where they should settle. They found their sign in the swampy land by lake Texcoco, in the form of an eagle holding a serpent in its beak and perched on a cactus. You may recognize this symbol as an integral part of the Mexican flag. Once they had drained the water from the swampland, they created artificial floating islands on the lake on which to grow crops such as corn, beans, squash, potatoes, avocados, and tomatoes. They called their capital city by the lake Tenochtitlán.Note: Sometimes the term ‘Aztec’ is used to describe a larger group of Nahuatl speaking people who lived throughout Mexico and Central America. These people are known as the Nahua.The Aztecs of Tenochtitlán built a vast and technologically advanced empire and ruled central Mexico for about two centuries until the arrival of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. Cortés and his invaders (helped by other indigenous people from the area) overthrew the Aztec empire around 1521 C.E. They would be the last great native empire in Mexico to date.200 years is a long time to be in power. As you can imagine, the Aztec people had a lot to say about life and death. We will begin with a description of Aztec identity.Aztec IdentityEarlier in the term, we discussed concepts of personal identity and the mind-body problem. Recall that many of the concepts we discussed involved human identity restng in either body or mind. This mind or spirit is one immaterial substance. For the Aztecs, each region of the body has its own “mind” or spirit. Within this framework of all regions of the body having their own spirit, three regions were said to be the most important because they were the three components of animating force (seen as gifts from the gods): the heart, head, and liver. These three strengths bring life and health to humansAnimating force: the force that creates humans and sets them apart from other living things.Heart: Houses the teyolia or consciousness and personalityteyolia is responsible for knowledge, tendency, affections, passions, memory and willHead: Houses tonalli or character and destinytonalli is responsible for our vigor and energyLiver: Houses ihiyotl or growth/development ihiyotl is responsible for aggression, breathing, and healthAnother important component of Aztec identity was balancing the psyche, in this case the head and the heart. it was important for them to balance their desires with logic. Dia De MuertosA Dia de Muertos Altar/OfrendaThe Latin American celebration of the dead has origins in ancient indigenous society, including the Toltecs and the Aztecs.In the celebrations of today, the lives of the deceased are celebrated with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Celebrations take place in cemeteries, churches, plazas, and homes. Death is seen as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. The dead are believed to be awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.OfrendasTables set up with photos of departed loved ones.Welcomes their spirits back to the realm of the living.Also called altars, these are tables filled with candles, flowers, fruit and other food items the departed enjoyed while they were alive.The spirits are believed to consume the essence of the foods left out for them.Aztec Origins: How Has the Celebration Changed?Although it has become a Catholic celebration in many ways, Dia de Muertos was not always aligned with Catholic traditions.Now celebrated from 10/31-11/2, but was originally celebrated around August.Aztec celebration of the dead is rooted in their ethics and view of the afterlife.Virtue is fostered through social interactionAztec Concepts of the AfterlifeFor the Aztecs, Day of the Dead rituals allowed ancestors to participate in social rituals. The teyolia, tonalli, and ihiyotl were believed to part ways with the body after death.The part that maintained the memories and character of the person after the death of the body was the teyolia. This is the part o the soul that made the journey to the afterlife.The ihiyotl also existed after death, but it did not maintain the memories or personality of the human. Instead, it left the body shortly after death as a wind or luminescent gas and immediately rejoined nature. Life After DeathUnlike many concepts of the afterlife we may be familiar with, the Aztecs believed that where we end up in the afterlife was related to how we died, not how we lived. The dead were also believed to be able to have the ability to interact with their living descendants in different ways. For example, a. grandmother may send an insect appear to their grandchild as a sign of approval or disapproval of their choices. Some examples:Natural Death: mictlan or underworld where they would be tested for four years.This was not necessarily a good place to be. In order to have a truly enjoyable afterlife, you would need to have died in a worthy way. Drowning/Lightning Strike: Tlalocan or divine earthly paradise. Thought to be chosen by the God Tlaloc.Warriors and Women who died in childbirth were destined for Ilhuícatl-Tonatiuh or dwelling place of the sun. They would rise with the sun each day for four years, then come back as hummingbirds.

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