Re: virus: Re: shaman

Tim Rhodes (
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 00:00:43 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 18 Aug 1997, Wade T. Smith wrote:

> However, I can only hope to impart to you that while I totally think that
> organized science is a marvelous cultural institution, I also think that
> _science_ is a way of observing the universe, and it is a far more valid
> method than magic.

Its definitely more _useful_.

> And I totally think this protean science is just as solid a portion of
> the mind as is religion, (or anyone's imagined need for it), and it is
> this approach which the shaman (whoever and whatever he is) stands
> against.

I don't think the Shaman defines himself by setting himself against
science nearly as much as science defines itself by setting itself against
the mystical.

> If, for my part, I see a bias in you _for_ the shaman, I still listen.

It may indeed appear that way on your side of the fence.

Understand, though, that I have found throughout my life that you get much
better (and far more interesting) answers to questions about unusual
behaviors *if you assume* that the people in question are acting out of an
honest belief or what they see as goodwill, than by *assuming* that they
are misguided or crooks.

How many answers about human nature will get from a study of the Heaven's
Gate phenomena if your founding premise is: These people are kooks!

How many more can you glean from assuming (if only for the sake of
argument): These people had a belief (right or wrong) that was more
important to them than their own lives.

Understand the difference?

Now back to the question you *could* have asked (if not for the bias):
Assuming that Shaman are working under the belief that what they are doing
is good and vital for both their clients and their culture, *why would
they withhold information?*

(You see, Wade, this question nets you much more interesting results about
memetics and the human mind than a quick dismissal ever will.)

-Prof. Tim