Cities all over the world are getting bigger as more and more people move from rural to urban sites, but that has created enormous problems with respect to environmental pollution and the general quality of life.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
Life, it seems, is nothing if not a series of initiations, transitions, and incorporations.
Americans do believe in progress and there is almost certainly a kernel of truth in the joke.
I mentioned that one of the tripartite formulas in American worldview involves time: past, present, and future.
I have a great advantage over many of my colleagues inasmuch as my students bring with them to class their own personal knowledge of national, regional, religious, ethnic, occupational, and family folklore traditions.
Their term project consists of a fieldwork collection of folklore that they create by interviewing family members, friends, or anyone they can manage to persuade to serve as an informant.
The class has become over the years fairly large, running to three hundred or more, but I always insist upon reading all the student folklore collections myself. Although this is a tall order, I look forward to it because I learn so much from it.
In the light of our culture, these are not unreasonable questions and tactics, but if once again, we try to see the lens through which we look, we can see that there is far too great an emphasis placed on the future.
Americans often have trouble enjoying the present moment.
They do not merely collect texts; they must also gather data about the context and the informant and, above all, write an analysis of the items based upon the course readings and lecture material on folklore theory and method.
Future orientation is combined with a notion and expectation of progress, and nothing is impossible.
Ancestor worship, or filial piety so characteristic of Asian cultures, for example, does not really resonate with Americans who favor children, not grandparents.