virus: How Does a Shaman Pay?

Brett Lane Robertson (
Sun, 10 Aug 1997 14:33:54 -0500

How does a Shaman pay...

"[A shaman} balances supply, demand, "value" (avail) and "worth" (ability).
By doing this, he may take from the supply to affect demand, from the group
to affect the individual (or from all quadrants to affect himself; though to
be aware of the balance of each quadrant irrespective of his own influence,
he must balance himself to them by giving back equally what he has taken).
On the other hand, the medicine man is in the best position to profit from
any excess in any quadrant." (from Robertson, "Psycho-Social Economics").

I didn't want to translate this model into a cultural format--I believe that
culture and sub-culture is based on the individual and individual
psychology--still, it is an easy model to translate and might be more

Supply: This key word refers to the sub culture of the "hunter" who is
responsible for taking raw materials and producing what is needed for the
tribe. This subculture also relates to land acquisition, land management,
and land distribution. The bureaucratic aspects of a tribe--its
organization in regards to a hierarchy of leadership (ie. chain of command)
falls here but is better understood by the word "government" which
differentiates it from the religious hierarchy. The aspect of "control"
which operates here are those aspects which translate "money" in modern
societies (ie. tokens which imply access to materials and labor).

Demand: This key word refers to the subculture of "gatherer". The gatherer
is in charge of preserving the utilities of a tribe. This subculture
relates to promoting the welfare of a tribe through it's health, community,
planning, cooperation, process, and quality--through it's "religion". A
gatherer's work is verified by the cooperative nature of the tribes
homelife, schools, emotional health, physical health, its "class" standing
among other tribes, and the degree to which it is copied by other tribal
systems. In a modern culture, this function is provided by teachers and
police. The aspect of "control" which operates here are those aspects which
translate "pleasure" in modern societies (most notably sex and tokens of
sexual control--acceptance, esteem, etc.).

Avail: The subculture of "warrior" is denoted by this key word. Warriors
are in charge of individual safety issues. Individual prowess, athletic
ability, physical ideals, strength, and ability are related. Order, life,
the physical body of "tribe", technology, tools, history, and new ideas are
signs of a successful warrior subculture. The element of "control" which
operates here are those aspects which loosely translate "stability"
(ownership, power, control, connections, influence, family name, reputation,

Ability: The subculture of "priest" is indicated. Priests are in charge of
group safety issues. Morals, values, and ethics are some of his/her
concerns. Signs of a successful priest are faith, hope, charity, respect,
awe, wonder, grace, love, compassion and goodwill. The element of "control"
which operates here are those aspects which loosely translate "influence"
(The priest takes responsibility for the final product and condones it's
worth to the culture by holding it up for examination and setting it as an
ideal toward which the culture can aspire).

"Control" was chosen as a the basis for this translation between subcultures
because it seems that SOME can only understand the value of a subculture by
the amount of "money" it produces (using money in the "Western" sense of who
has the power to manipulate the other cultural elements). To review, the
farmer *controls* using raw materials as "money", the teacher *controls*
through distribution of the public utilities (assets), the warrior
*controls* using the power-base, and the priest *controls* the direction of
growth using influence--and that's how they are paid (materials, assets,
power, influence).

The shaman exchanges one coin for another (ie. raw material for
influence)--this is not an easy task: Why use would a farmer have of
influence...How would this--directly--produce more crops? The closest
modern interpretation of "shaman" might be "supervisor/manager". The shaman
coordinates the "processing plant". S/he is involved with freedom,
specialization, children, language, art, imagination, standards, and
recreation. The aspect of "control" is non-control, or "impulsivity". The
shaman encourages each subculture to give up control in exchange for
freedom--the coin in which s/he is paid (for a manager must have the freedom
to live outside the rules which govern the "economy" of a tribe). Complete
freedom from rules *may* result in bizarre behavior from the perspective of
any or all of the subcultures. It is this bizarre behavior which insures
that the shaman does not get caught up in the individual perspectives
embodied by each subculture; thus, s/he can remain free from their control.


see "Time Chain",

Rabble Sonnet Retort
Success has made failures of many men.

Cindy Adams