Re: virus: shamanism (Was FW: JCS: Three and a half years of JCS)

Eric Boyd (
Wed, 13 Aug 1997 14:51:21 -0500

Robin Faichney wrote:

> Note the implication that shamanism
> is "a technique for spiritual or other personal
> development".

interesting. Maybe I'll take it up!

> The second answer is that of course it makes no sense to study shamanism
> academically because it is first and foremost an experiental practice.
> No
> one can tell you what it feels like to go into a shamanically induced
> trance or to go on a shamanic journey. You can describe the physical
> effects of a roller coaster ride in terms of increased heart-rate,
> g-forces
> applied etc. but I'll never know what it's like until I take the ride.

Exactly. While we may attempt to describe subjective experiences in the
*inter*subjective thing we call language, or even in the "objective"[1]
terms of science, such an attempt is bound to be just that: an attempt.

It's like trying to talk about Zen. It can be done, but what have you

"Religion is Zen"... that is, religion is about deeply subjective


[1] Science claims objectivity, but it's really no more than carefully
applied inter-subjectivity. That is, a formallized process for
establishing "truth" based on the experiences of multiple persons and
instruments. Right?