understanding through metaphoric predication and cross-modular
integration of cognitive modules. The spirit world of shamanism
provided models for conceptualizing self and other and their interrelationships, playing a fundamental role in self development and transformation. Shamanic healing used these self/other models in the therapeutic processes and in social integration.
"There is an important spiritual aspect of BPM1, often associated with
a profound feeling of cosmic unity and ecstasy, closely associated with
experiences we might have in a good womb -- peace, tranquility, serenity, joy, and bliss. Our everyday perceptions of space and time seem to
fade away and we become 'pure being.' Language fails to convey the
essence of this state, prompting most to remark only that it is 'indescribable' or 'ineffable" ( Grof 1992, 39).
One characteristic of early humans was their failure to produce in a
medium other than stone (e.g., bone, antler, or ivory) the same type of
highly technical artifacts found in stone tools. Mithen ( 1996) suggested
that early moderns were not capable of thinking of animal materials as
suitable for tools because they thought of them as animals -- part of the
domain of natural history intelligence. They were not capable of thinking about animal parts as objects for manipulation with the skills of
technical intelligence. Moreover, the stone artifacts produced by early
humans were general-purpose tools rather than specialized tools for
specific types of tasks. Social strategies did not integrate tool use, nor
was social information integrated into toolmaking.
"Many of the art objects can indeed be thought of as a brand new type
of tool: a tool for storing information and for helping to retrieve information stored in the mind" ( Mithen 1996, 170). Art artifacts, therefore, served as a form of recording environmental events, particularly
serving as mnemonics. Mithen suggests that these art forms may have
served as a form of "tribal encyclopedia," with the representation serving as a way of storing information about animal behavior. "But they
are carefully arranged to act as a mental map for the surrounding environment to facilitate the recall of information about that environment
and animal behavior. They thus play an important role in decisionmaking about use of resources and improving the predictions about
animal location and behavior" (173).
The term shaman was not part of historical English but was borrowed
from the Tungus of Siberia. Such derivation suggests that there could be
no cognates of the shaman in contemporary English and other I-E languages. But evidence of such cognates exists in many I-E languages. A
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Shamanism:The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing.
Contributors: Michael Winkelman - Author.
Publisher: Bergin & Garvey.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 2000.
Page number: 111.
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