War Arrow wrote: ... for what it's worth (and no disrespect is intended) but some elements of this seem to be heading towards ideas of the ancient spread of a global culture. I'm afraid this is not something upon which I have strong feelings or any great interest (although I have had strong feelings of wanting to put on my boots and braces when Marduk virtually tried to bully me into being interested) so I would rather leave that element of the debate to others. Just because I like B and C, doesn't mean I have to like A, if you see what I mean.
OK, War Arrow. But I don't think we can keep this debate to only what you're interested in. If you stay in a small room, you only ever see that wallpaper. After a time, you might think that's the only possible design there is for wallpaper.
It's not necessarily about a spread. I know Marduk thinks it was spread, primarily by the Sumerians. But I think it's more about who man was, if you like ... that he was born that way, that the shamanic technique was an inate ability and that that has only has changed in recent millennia, since the advent of agriculture and writing. So it didn't have to spread, any more than noses had to spread.
My answer to your previous post will provide more clarity on the above point, hopefully:
I’m absolutely with you ... until here.
War Arrow wrote:That these experiences may originate in the subconscious (or wherever) is surely of no more contextual relevance than doomed attempts to prove that they actually derive from the same objective reality which science has cited as the domain of pulsars, quasars, Elvis, and everything else. Surely, in some senses, the attempt to marry the shamanic with an objective reality is like trying to prove that a song can occur in nature, all it took was for some person to turn up and pluck it from the aether and bingo - Jailhouse Rock.
I’m not trying to marry the shamanic with objective reality, or prove that shamanic experiences are from the same objective reality that modern day science practises, and maybe this goes to the heart of the misunderstanding between us, and why John has framed the debate in the way that he has.
I’m saying that Mr Objective and Mrs Subjective are already married, or were when man practised shamanism. However, Mr Objective and Mrs Subjective fell out – we think because Mrs Subjective got fed up with Mr Objective trying to dominate her – and so we are the poor, dysfunctional children of this divorce who were forced to go and live with our father who hates Mrs Subjective and so we rarely get to see her unless we sneak out of the bedroom window at night.
War Arrow wrote:Hope I'm making myself clear here. I'm simply trying to present the subject as I understand it (though not being a philosophy graduate, it ain't easy) in order to see what you think here, whether we are describing the same elephant (so to speak) from different angles, or whether I'm in a different room and I've actually got an anteater in there with me.
I’m not a philosophy student either, WA. But no - you haven’t got an anteater in there. Imagine it like this. The elephant is so enormous that it has jammed itself into the small room that you’re sitting in, admiring your wallpaper, and is pinning you against the wall. So you can only see the half of it that’s facing you. However, I wanted to see the whole elephant. So I didn’t invite it into my small room – I went off into the jungle to find it and so now I can see the whole elephant.
Ishtar wrote:All the spirits/ gods support various aspects of nature in their pure, invisible energetic form. They all have their jobs to do in keeping the whole thing from spinning out of control. Of course, you can’t see them – in the same way that you can’t see dark energy. That’s why I always say that dark energy is nothing new. It’s just that it used to be known as ‘the gods’.
War Arrow wrote:
Ooooh... I'd tend to think of this as two separate things, both of which happen to be rather elusive.
Please clarify why you think they are two different things.
Ishtar wrote:I’m not making this up as I go along. Everything I’m saying is attested in work carried out by late 19th century anthropologists who have studied and interviewed shamans from all over the world — from India to Australia and Tibet to Siberia and North and South America to China. The late Mircea Eliade, then professor of religious history at Harvard, was the first to bring all their reports together in his book Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, and he found an amazing number of identical practises and beliefs about the spirits/gods between all these diverse and far-flung cultures – far too many and far too specific to be coincidences.
War Arrow wrote:
You've read this book and I haven't ....
But I have now given you, in my second post, one of the passages that describe these similarities. So I hope by now that you’d would have had time to read it and note that there are too many, and they are too specific, to be coincidences...and he doesn’t even mention the one common factor of all them which is that when any shaman goes on a 'journey', from any culture, he travels across three worlds - an upper, middle and lower world. That applies to every single one of them.
Ishtar wrote:To answer your second question, a classic example of science shot through with superstition and mumbo jumbo was that the earth is the centre of the universe and thus the sun must orbit the earth. Copernicus got his arse kicked over that one. However, the Vedics knew 3,000 years before that the earth orbited the sun:
War Arrow wrote:Gotcha ..... But surely simply because one culture possesses a much better model / more productive mode of thought, it does not necessarily follow that said culture will be otherwise the more admirable / superior in all ways.
You asked me to give you an example of superstitious poppycock science and I did for that reason - not to try to prove that the ancients were superior or more admirable. So I’m afraid you’re either moving the goal posts here, or erecting a straw man — or maybe a combination of both!
War Arrow wrote:Sacrifice: no argument from me, and this is a subject I've boned up on.....For what it's worth I have a pet theory that the greatly increased Mexica thirst for sacrifice, aside from the politics, represented an attempt to swing the balance and place the Gods in dept to the Mexica - a sort of theological potlach and an attempt to rule the universe by symbolic means.
That’s a really interesting theory. Thanks!
I’m not going to join up the dots for you here ... not even to say ‘winged or feathered serpent’ ... . I’m talking to you in picture language....and I think I’m going to have to stop now.
War Arrow wrote:
Hmm though I'd argue that shamanism and science are not different aspects of the same thing (if that's the point you are making), they are different methods of viewing (often different aspects of) the same thing. If that's what I mean. With regard to the DNA / Hermes' stick thing, I must once again state that I am sceptical of being seduced by coincidence.
I hope by now you can see that that wasn't the point I was trying to make. Rather it's that the shamanic contains both the subjective and objective. That the caduceus represents Mr Objective snake and Mrs Subjective snake, lovingly intertwined in happier days.
If you worked across different cultures, as I have for the past God knows how many years, you’d soon become aware that there are just too many ‘coincidences’ for them to be just ‘coincidences’. And this is now widely accepted. That’s why you can study degrees in Comparitive Religion or Comparitive Mythology at university these days.
But I wasn’t trying to seduce you, WA. I was showing you two examples of a holistic process, because you asked me for a definition of holistic, or asked me what it meant anyway. I couldn’t resist the little visual joke at the end, but that needn’t distract from the main purpose of my answer which was to explain to you, as you asked, the meaning of the word ‘holistic’.
It's been good talking and I hope my point of view is starting now to make some sense to you.