Contra Hills, who speaks of 'Masters of Reality', I believe Knightian Uncertainty militates for 'Hannan Consistent' or other similar 'regret minimizing' heuristics or cognitive biases and, further, that every 'coordination game'- including risk pooling- can give rise to a 'discoordination game'- featuring 'hedging', costly signals and separating equilibria. A Shaman is an arbitrageur between coordination and discoordination games in line with a model elaborated by Conley & Nielson. But so is almost everybody else who has salience as Schelling focal in a coordination game of any sort.
I claim that robustness in mechanism design, which will Muth Rationally obtain under Chichilnisky & Heard 'Goldilocks' conditions, but not otherwise- requires 'ontologically dysphoric' preferences- i.e. a valorization of the notion that we are in the 'wrong' universe would be part and parcel of actually advancing a 'Presentist' moral agenda such that we fulfill a duty to make a better home of this world. Of course, I can't show this mathematically precisely because Knightian Uncertainty exists. But General Equilibria must be 'anything goes' unless there is some ontologically dysphoric intensional 'anchoring' outside all compossible ways of being human on this earth.
Prof Hills' mathematical background perhaps explains the similarity I perceive between our views on Shamanism. His being an academic- and therefore as stupid as shit- explains the divergence.
I will now look more closely at his article to establish whether any similarity actually obtains.
...there is a common theme to shamanism wherever it is practised: the use of spiritual (or shamanic) trance to facilitate journeys to a non-ordinary reality. Here, in this non-ordinary reality, the shamans do their work. According to the historian of religion Mircea Eliade writing in 1951, shamanism is the ‘technique of ecstasy’, involving the purposeful invocation and use of dreams and visions to solve problems.Eliade's Romania was actually more primitive than the Calcutta he came to as a mining engineer. He repaid the hospitality of his bhadralok host, who was planning to settle in Paris after retirement, by seducing his under-age daughter. Eliade thinks she was married to a tree! He was as stupid as shit. But, in poetry, only the charlatan is genuine and Eliade was a Poundian mythopoeticist somewhat less evil or academically mischievous than Paul de Man.
My parents read Eliade- at any rate his shite was on the bookshelf- and people of their class did talk bollocks like Eliade when confronted with shamanic- or, indeed, any culturally unfamiliar- phenomena in a different part of India. This was because India wasn't yet a culturally unified country. So, though Granny would ensure that the Bon as well as Buddhist was fed and placated- though 'non-veg' ceremonies for the grandson must be done out of sight- Mummy and Daddy would talk stilted shite at cocktail parties in Gangtok. But, if I tried to use similar 'etic' language re. our own Tamil orthopraxy, I'd either have the black smacked off me or, after I got a phoren degree and White Wife, have had to conform to the orthodox Vadadesi Vadama Marxist Vulgate- which conserves the Caste System- as represented by Op Eds in the Hindu, or else leave the country and go clean toilets in the West. Siddhartha Varadarajan chose the former course. The man who didn't know what or who a 'Kurmi' was is now blasting Modi for his casteism!
The fact of the matter is that Shamanism, like talking shite about the coming Marxist Revolution, isn't really a technique of ecstasy. It is a boring and stupid way to pay the bills. As a Brahman, I was made to understand in no uncertain terms that even the subaltern 'kurrati' fortune-teller was more venerable than my LSE eschatology. My own ancestors had been brought up by them- because, during recessions in demand for their services, they sit things out in Brahman, or Vaishnav, or Jain, or Pirzada Muslim, homes. You can't understand the efflorescence of Pentecostal Christianity- which was giving our good friends in the Church such a headache!- till you accept that Shamanism is merely Shramanism without a Collidge edumication.
By this definition, shamanism is the landscape of the spirit-journey, populated by good and evil spirits and the souls of the deceased and yet-to-be-born.Shamanism may be one type of sherpa- the shittiest- of this mountainous landscape. It isn't itself that landscape. I believe Marxian 'species man' has an ontologically dysphoric fitness landscape for purely mathematical, decision theoretic, reasons which it would be very boring to spell out. But that spirit landscape is even more boringly ideographic. This does not mean it can or should be ignored. But acknowledging it is best done on the basis of 'suhrit-prapti'- the gaining of the 'same-hearted'- and what follows is AA or Weight Watchers or Surviving Socioproctology or other such 'workshops' or sodalities. Magic is done in such places. There are Wizards there. But there are also many very ordinary people- men and women of sorrow- who are Messiahs absolving you of your original sin of being a superficial, self-involved, shithead of little use to man or beast.
Hills next waxes poetic- but to what purpose?
It is the place where mountains speak and Grandmother Skeleton points out which plants to eat when the dry season lasts too long.Right! Coz the old woman who knows stuff like this aint called Granny. She is prancing around as a Shaman! How stupid is Hills? I am plenty stupid. But I've stayed in villages in East Africa and both the far North and South of India when the rains were delayed. Grannies- men tend to die young or have moved to the Cities- knew this stuff. They could tell when there would be a landslide or a drought or a flood. I suppose, everybody could- if they wanted to. But the Grannies had auctoritas- i.e. exercised residual control rights under an incomplete contract. Some stoned Shaman prancing around would have had no such thing.
In this form, shamanism is everywhere in the old ways of humans. Every tribal culture – alive or dead – has some broker of spiritual capital. The Indonesian Mentawai have their sikerei. The Inuit have their angakok. The Columbian Desana have their paye. The Mongolian Buryat have their böö. The American Sioux have their heyoka.An aunty of mine, the wife of our Air India Chief based in Moscow, was a good bharatnatyam dancer. When she came to visit us in Ulan Bator, she agreed to give a recital at the Palace of Proletarian Culture or whatever it was called. I went with her to check out the stage. I am very black and quite tall. She was short and fair skinned. The people queuing up for tickets made way for me- I was a foreigner- but would not let her pass. She was clearly a Buryat because she was replying to them in Russian. Absurdly, she was claiming to be Indian! These fucking Buryats are such cheats! Just because Sukhabator, or Choibalsan or some other such mythological character, was seduced by one such, us Khalkhas have had all our natural resources stolen from us!
I told this story at diplomatic receptions to great hilarity. That Aunty of mine grew to love me. For some reason, my Mummy was not happy. No one ever mistook her for a light skinned Mongolian. I explained to her that this was because she was rather tall and broad shouldered and had muscular arms and legs. I alone, in my family, have small shoulders, slender arms, stick like legs and no ass to speak off. I do have a pot belly- but this suggests fecundity, if not the Pharaoh Akhenaten's being sodomized by the Sun so a poo baby Messiah might be born.
It is funny to read of Buryats as backward and primitive. They are utterly brilliant. Too brilliant. The Khalkhas had a point. Buryats- like Ashkenazis- were too quick to put their faith in 'Scientific' solutions.
Let me be honest. I am proud of my own stupidity and deep-seated aversion to the pursuit of, forget about excellence, even ordinary utility. But this is because I am a diplomat's son. From within months of my birth, I was sitting in the laps of Lamas and Pirs and- coz Indian diplomats hire locals- their vernacular equivalents. On the other hand, my claim to have so shat upon Paul Hacker as to drive him out of 'Benares on the Rhine', the city of my birth, appears to be historically unsustainable. But, my point is, Eliades and Hackers and Radhakrishnans and so forth are all worthy of being shat upon. They too are as shite as any Shaman.
Smart people fuck up when it comes to Politics, or Psychology, or Econ or any subject whose Tarskian primitives are better known to proles rather than to pedants.
Politically Correct Shamans and Savants, Bauls and Bureaucrats, must- like the best sort of baby-kissing Tammany Hall, Deleuzian, 'Major', get shat upon by the diaperless condition of our own salutary infantilism in all matters of epistemics.
The sheer magnitude of our shamanic ancestry means one of two things: either shamanism originated once prior to the human diaspora some 70,000 years ago and has been preserved since, or it has arisen independently countless times in premodern human cultures.Foolish. That's not what the maths says. There is no 'shaman' gene. There is no Waddington type 'canalization' here. One may as well speak of our 'Prostitute' or 'Pedant' ancestry. Is Hills a 'Manuvadi' casteist?
If we consider that preagricultural human societies are each experiments in how to run a village, with each competing in the evolutionary market of survival and reproduction, then we must ask: what good is shamanism?Again, very foolish. Villages have to be interconnected by a pastoralist or other highly mobile caste or tribe. The reason I spick such gud Inglis is coz Brittania ruled waves innit? It is still a fact that it is cheaper for an Indian businessman to buy stuff shipped through Singapore or Colombo than from across State borders. That is why India has not taken off economically.
My ancestors were shamans who, once they could constitute an endogamous group with a diversified portfolio of realty, and the provision of ontologically dysphoric, irreal positional goods, became ... urm ... indistinguishable from any other group which worked hard, saved money, talked high falutin bollocks, and refrained from masturbating while giving lectures or attending faculty meetings.
Hills is younger than me. We're both British Citizens. He is smarter. But his ancestry is more, not less, Shamanic, than mine. His people produce Alan Moore. Mine- at best, a tedious blathershite like Pico Iyer. We haven't even got a Salman Rushdie. Yet this Hills fucker probably comes across, in England, as being of lower class than I do. The police will treat him worse than me if we are both arrested for getting drunk and causing a nuisance. Why? Because this fucker could be a real Shaman or Shraman. He has a revolutionary potential- i.e. irremediably self-destructive romanticism- which I, by reason of my stupidity and senilely, self-cultivated, 'wog' (Westernized Oriental Gentleman) status entirely lack. I'm fucking VS Naipaul mate! Kids love me. I'm the fucking Women's Institute, innit?, but without the nice Cakes and boring Social Work.
Hills is not an Econ guy. He is young. He wasn't a kid wot grew up in places where there were Sacred Kings and Apocalyptic Commissars and, though the two might play musical chairs all they liked, what remained was, to use Art Buchwald's words, 'sheep on the runway'.
The answer to the question 'what good is shamanism' is the same as the answer to the question 'what good are prostitutes or pedants?' These aren't jobs anybody wants to take. Yet they contain 'techniques of ecstasy' which enable their practitioners to differentiate themselves from each other for reasons of an entirely pathetic kind.
Prof. Hills takes a different view-
The answer is a lesson in both the psychology of problem solving and the construction of meaning.Sadly, there is no 'psychology of problem solving'. There is merely the diminishing returns to a foolish academic availability cascade. As for the 'construction' or 'deconstruction' of meaning- just go fuck yourself okay? We have had it up to here with that type of shite. Fuck is wrong with you? You did some Math as part of your ascent to being a worthless credentialized cretin presiding over a Baumol cost-disease type Ponzi scheme only sustainable by sucking in foreigners wot don't spick Inglis gud.
In order to get there, we first have to understand what the prominent explanations of shamanism are in contemporary anthropology.But, contemporary anthropology is widely regarded as utter imbecilic shite by everybody including its practitioners.
These explanations all rely upon a common set of psychological and evolutionary principles, and these principles in turn explain the adaptive value of shamanism.But these guys are even stupider than Economists or fuckers wot teach MBA students! Why not simply get on Skype and talk to an actual Shaman? It will turn out that his Guru is living in London or New York and Gwyneth Paltrow has already trademarked that dude's shite.
The market works that way. Aeon is a brave effort to keep the Academy from resigning itself to a but adversely selective 'signalling mechanism' fate. But, the method is meretricious. It is the process by which an Eliade becomes an 'emic' expert of a wholly fraudulent availability cascade. Why not simply say that Lobsang Rhampa was the greatest Tibetan Lama precisely coz he was actually a West Country plumber? Oddly, this claim is perfectly true. An uneducated guy with a broad accent, which neither Hills nor I have, prefigured the manner in which Tibetan Buddhism would cease to be 'magical' or 'shamanistic' and become the bedrock of a praxis of 'suhrit prapti' such that victims of sexual or other abuse could recover their sense of autonomy and thus Buddhist 'cetana'.
Hills speaks of therapeutic practices without mentioning their close connection in the Medieval world with the spiritual and moral sciences. The fact is the Philosophically informed Physician- even charlatans like Malfatti and Freud- triumphed over the barber and apothecary. Only the former had a well developed theory of ecstasy and claimed to find it in, entirely fraudulent, scientific discovery.
So, they are charlatans till they get lucky. But this is the discovery process sanctioned by the F.D.A. Why not simply call every Steve Jobs a Shaman?
One explanation holds that shamans are beta-versions of modern healers.
They treat everything from tiger bites to depression. Their expertise in medicinal plants and associated healing practices extends from the physical to the psychological. This happens because many tribal cultures do not differentiate between the material and mental in the same way that modern science often does. It is also well-known that many of the plants used by traditional healers have active properties and are used accordingly. But this explanation doesn’t say much about a key element in shamanic practice: the shamanic trance.Nor does an explanation of modern Medicine which neglects the fact that it is a merely entrepreneurial discovery process characterized by large scale fraud. Trances are like availability cascades. They are a case of self intoxication by a Kavka toxin of a commercially useful and amour propre defending kind. Freud and Jung and Bruno Betthelheim were frauds. But Marcuse was a greater, for derivative, fraud. His propagandizing for liberative techniques of ecstasy culminated in Cohn Bendit's unmanly belle-lettrestic paroxysms sentimentalizing the rape of three year old girls who, truth be told, were just asking for it- indeed, by their bourgeois behavior, actively provoking and encouraging their own destruction as an oppressive, hegemonic, class.
A second prominent explanation is that shamans exploit human gullibility by taking advantage of psychological biases, such as the human fear of ‘dread risks’.WTF? This isn't a 'psychological bias'. It is eminently rational. Econ theory says, in good times, you should invest in 'positional', 'reputational', 'epistemic' and soteriological assets as a hedge.
Hills may not be aware that, in the heart of London, young Somali origin people have rational 'dread risks'. They get knifed or shot by others of their ilk. Their Mums send them back to Somalia for this reason. Because I was a kid in Kenya for 4 years, I know a bit about 'shamanism' in the Horn of Africa. But, Al Shabab aint shamanistic. It is the opposite.
These are risks that are essentially arbitrary, or outside of one’s control, but can nonetheless wipe out entire families or villages.But this has always been true of every family or village anywhere. Why bring up 'Shamanism' which, historically is associated with demographic replacement?
Modern examples include plane crashes, terrorist attacks, nuclear meltdowns, pandemics and the like: events with low probability, but very high consequences.Fuck off! Nuisances don't have abiding consequences. Hills isn't currently in any great fear that his foreskin will be chopped off or that he will be forced to grow a less unsightly beard.
The science shows that humans will pay a lot to minimise these risks, even if the associated consequences are more lethal over the long run.Nonsense! Experience shows the regret minimizing strategy is to permit, nay actively invest in!, the burgeoning of existential threats to all human existence. Either Hills is a cretin or he is playing to a cretinous gallery.
In this case, some anthropologists claim, the shamanic trance represents a kind of folk proof that shamans can protect people against dread risks. The shaman can interact with invisible forces and effectively neutralise them.The problem here is that if you live in London or New York or Paris, you can actually order up some 'Muti Magic' as easily as you can order a Pizza. Just for Google Ad Revenue, you can gawk or grok your fill of this shite without paying a penny. For a few dollars more you can get an authentic mummified piece of a child sacrifice. So what? This is a police matter.
A third argument holds that shamans organise social groups around common beliefs.As though nobody else does. The truth is Commerce is what does this most effectively.
These, in turn, lead to better outcomes for the group as a whole. For example, using the threat of magical retribution, the shaman can keep everybody from killing the last gazelle.Fuck off! Shamans did not have Radio or Internet. They couldn't prevent rival groups from precipitating a 'tragedy of the commons'. The last buffalo was killed coz the First Nations were militarily effective but created no 'incentive compatible' economic or legal mechanism.
This mitigates a ‘tragedy of the commons’ scenario, in which shared resources are overused and depleted.But, we can see for ourselves that lawyers, not fucking Shamans, solved the problem long ago. Any way, Elinor Ostrom's Lake Victoria Coasians didn't rely on Shamans at all. Why write this ignorant tosh? How stupid does Hills think Aeon readers are?
Shamans can also unite the tribe around arbitrary decisions by making them sacred and putting everyone on the same page, thereby eliminating potential conflicts over where to hunt, what crops to plant, or whether to fight or flee a neighbouring tribe.Legalistic hereditary priests and aristocrats and successful warlords do a far better job. Genghis Khan wasn't a fucking shaman was he?
This extends to organising groups around social-commitment ceremonies that enhance cooperation and create the soothing in-group vibrations common to traditions such as Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.So, Jewish Rabbis are actually Shamans! And American institutions like Thanksgiving weren't created by guys named Washington or Lincoln but by dudes with sobriquets like 'weaves with spiders' who spent most of their time stoned out of their gourds!
The shamanic ability to organise social groups around common beliefs is certainly an advantage.Really? Shamans can organize social groups can they? Should we elect a Shaman leader of the Labor Party so as to fight back against Bo Jo?
Shamans have the ability to be shamans. Guys who have the ability to organize social groups very seldom have the ability to do a fuckin spirit journey to kill the totemic teddy bear of their elder sister who beats them mercilessly when they fuck up a domestic chore.
It might seem at first to be a somewhat weak evolutionary explanation, but in fact the opposite is true. Consider the following example. Up until the arrival of the Europeans, much of North America was home to peoples whose ancestors had crossed over the Bering Straits roughly 20,000 years before. But by the mid-1800s, Europeans were arriving in a steady drove, and the Native Americans were under serious threat. They needed to repel the invaders. But what was to be done?This fucker doesn't get that we dun all got smartphones now. We know what happened. There was a militarily very successful First Nation military force at the heart of the Continent. But it was somewhat more shite than that of Whitey coz it was too exploitative and thus incentive incompatible.
In 1889, a Nevadan Paiute elder named Jack Wilson had a dream-vision of a sacred dance that would enlist the spirit armies of the dead. This dance would lead to the inevitable swallowing of White people by the Earth. It became known as the Ghost Dance.So what? Back in 1857 some teenage South African girl- who was not a Shaman- got the Xhosa tribe to slaughter their cattle coz, like obviously dude, this will make dead warriors come back to life and kill Whitey.
All sorts of shite rebellions against Whitey or the powers that be, occurred around the same time. Was the Taiping rebellion 'shamanistic'? Its leader claimed to be the younger brother of Christ and some of the first English speaking Mandarins were initially his followers. What about the Boxer Rebellion? Is that Shamanistic? It coincided with the Maji Maji Rebellion. But, in both cases, we are speaking of ancient, highly elaborated, indigenous epistemic systems- not Shamanistic hi jinks.
Hills's ignorance and eurocentricism causes us to consider him a fucking cretin. However, a careful perusal of his academic work would have the same effect.
The Ghost Dance was immensely attractive, and it united previously warring tribes from Oklahoma to California. With a common enemy and a belief in divine providence, the Native Americans organised themselves and their beliefs in a way that had never been seen before. They became a far more formidable force by working together rather than singly. This terrified the US government, and contributed to rising conflict, which eventually culminated in the Massacre of Wounded Knee in 1890.How fucking ignorant is this guy? Does he not have access to the internet? Has he no common sense? The earlier First Nation domination of the American centre, achieved because of the higher productivity of its trained killers, was not incentive compatible. Look at the Economics. They could never do better than 50,000 fuckers who could fuck up any other fucker across a vast territory. This did not 'alarm' anyone. Everybody made alliances and paid tribute so as to get their goods across the spine of the Continent. Then, the spine collapsed. Instead of guys who were great at killing people, you had cunts who liked dancing.
Though the Lakota were savagely killed by US soldiers, the Ghost Dance offers a powerful example of the potential strength of shamanism as a social organiser.Fuck off! Being 'savagely killed' means 'not offering any effective fucking resistance'. During the Second World War plenty of White people were 'savagely killed' by other White People. But the Brits and the Americans and anybody else who didn't have a shite Army weren't 'savagely killed' unless they were cowardly- as happened to the Brits in South East Asia- or viciously attacked by marauding Iyengars of a type who exist entirely in my imagination.
But, if Hills can talk shite, why can't I? If the horrible joke of the 'Ghost Dance' offers a powerful example of some stupid shite this virtue signalling cunt is grandstanding with respect to, why not accept the fact that Ghost Dance was launched by true Red Indians- i.e. Marxist Iyers like me- against fucking Iyengars and their cohorts?
This is the problem with Racist shite. Anybody, including me, can adapt it to their own purposes.
But while this explanation for shamanism is heavily supported,By people stupider than any shaman
it cannot be the entire explanation since there are many things that organise people: shared hunts, competitive sports, simple fireside songs.But we don't need to be 'organized' to say 'Hills has shite for brains. His academic papers are worthless'.
The thing is self evident. Still, the kinder thing is to support a Social dispensation where shitheads like him are simply ignored- unless they start masturbating in front of their students, in which case maybe they should be accommodated at a Think Tank, in not All Souls- as was the traditional practice.
So what exactly is the evolutionary added-value of shamanic trance and how in the world does it work?Everybody has this 'trance' capacity. But so do poultry. Few peoples or Societies accept that there is anything 'shamanic' in their make up. Why? No President of a newly established Republic says 'We are a Barbarian Nation. We think Civilization sucks. We don't have Priests. We have Shamans. Kindly enter into Trade and Diplomatic Relations with us on the basis of mutual Voodoo and getting out of your gourd on Ayahuasca'.
Hills is a native English speaker. He is sensitive to the 'dhvani' or nuances of what he writes. Yet, for the benefit of Aeon, he says-
Here is a crucial clue: shamanism often arises among people exposed to uncertainty. A case in point is the recent rise of shamanism among the Buryat in Upper Mongolia. Following the collapse of socialism in 1989-91, the economic rug was pulled out from under the Buryat. This led to terrible poverty and starvation among a people whose cultural identity had largely been rubbed out over a series of generations. In this existential vacuum, the Buryat shamans blossomed like wildflowers as people sought new ways to control the uncertainty in which they had found themselves.I must tell you that because my Mum & Dad were well liked in Mongolia, I gained very good friends in that region. Internet has made communication easy. I know the truth about what this cretin is writing about. He says 'economic rug' was pulled. I say the fucking KGB, Gulag rug was pulled. How stupid is this Hills? Has he read nothing about incomplete contract theory? Does he not know the literature on contract enforcement in post Soviet economies? Why is this man a member of the Turing Institute? Is it to show that being an Academic of a certain sort means being not just chemically castrated but fucking lobotomized?
But shamanic powers are not seen as methods for defying the natural order, as one anthropologist found out when he tried to convince a shaman to engage in a rain ceremony, to which the shaman replied: ‘Don’t be a fool, whoever makes a rain-making ceremony in the dry season?’ Shamanism is not a method of controlling reality in defiance of one’s own experience. Shamanic peoples, just like the majority of Western Christians, prefer Western doctors when they can find them. Shamanism does not make one blind to the power of penicillin. Rather, it is only when visible technologies fail that people look for help from forces outside this world.You stupid cretin, it is only when contract enforcement by the Government fails that shamen and mafias get intermediated.
To understand what shamanism adds, let’s take a step back and take a look at how minds, especially human minds, work.We know how your mind works. It shits its academic diaper and proudly gets the result published in Aeon coz your Turing institute is shit.
All organisms require resources to keep themselves alive and to reproduce.So we should cut off funding to your worthless Turing Institute.
This has led to one of the most prominent theories on the evolution of the mind. Put simply, the mind is a search algorithm.Rubbish! The mind supplies the weightings for a m.u.w.a type, wholly mimetic, process. This stupid cunt didn't come up with any of the worthless shite he writes by himself. There is a multiplicative update weighting process- albeit of worthless academic availability cascades- going on in the background. Either that or this shithead used an AI to generate this worthless, deeply racist, article.
Minds make their living by being able to find things.So do living things which lack minds. This fucker should know that.
Food, mates, a good place to hide, effective methods of revenge, and the means to reach your goals, whatever they may be – all of these and more are targets of the mind’s searching eye.Fuck off. We rely on Tardean mimetics or otherwise outsource all this stuff. The mind does not have a 'searching eye'. It does however generate ontological dysphoric objects and values which, however, have reputational and 'endogenous learning' effects.
Whereas many animals use their brains to search in physical space, human minds (and those of some other animals) can search via simulation. That is, the brain can simulate potential future realities. This is possible because brains like ours encode a mental model of the world. By searching inside that mental model, we build narratives that tell us how to get from one place to another. Sometimes we do this backwards, by constructing counterfactual alternatives to explain how, if we had behaved differently, things might have gone. But just as often, we conjure up simulations to better understand how to influence outcomes in the future.Really? So everybody in the financial markets has their own econometric model of the economy. Thus, there can be no bandwagon effects. Muth Rationality must prevail. How stupid is this cunt?
You might get only one chance to decide which house to buy, which partner to marry or what project to invest the next 10 years of your life in. Our brains allow us to solve these problems by projecting ourselves into alternative versions of these potential futures. This is called self-projection, which already starts to hint at the shamanic forces that might lie therein.Fuck off! There was only one guy who was granted this power. It was Arjuna. Some Gandharva pressed 'chaksuchi vidya' on him. He refused to take it. But, since the Gandharva didn't take it back, the thing came back to haunt him when he was alienated from himself (Vishada Yoga).
There is a good reason we should prefer mimetics to cognitively costly simulation. However, deontics has a reputational effect which can secure rents under Knightian uncertainty. But this involves being sensible, not a Shaman. Pirzadas have this quality though descended from guys who ran around naked babbling nonsense. Charisma generates the chaos which extinguishes it, till an incentive compatible 'vow' or vinculum generis is hit upon.
Most academic availability cascades start off with the investiture of auctocritas, charisma, or shamanic status to a fool or charlatan. Thus, 'researchers' never know what they are looking for or how they would recognize it if they stumbled upon it by accident.
Consider the following. This stupid academic doesn't get that guys in villages spend a lot of time thinking 'what if the harvest fails?'. Mums keep thinking 'what if baby gets hurt or falls ill'.
He thinks you have to be a fucking Shaman, off your head on drugs, to worry about this stuff.
You fucking cretin! No 'semantic connective tissues' hold reality together. Wait and see what happens when your kid falls ill. You will run to the hospital just like a low IQ cunt like me. Your posh language won't save baby. Antibiotics might.
Sometimes, however, we don’t even know what we’re looking for. The threat of collective starvation from a bad harvest. The death of a child. The decimation of one’s entire village from a landslide. Such problems unravel the semantic connective tissue that holds reality together.
They don’t seem to play by the rules of our past experience. When that happens, humans need a ‘search engine’ that knows how to do what Google cannot: to generate search terms for a problem that they don’t yet fully understand.Try this you cretin- type 'Mummy be ill and Doctors puzzled. What I do?' Google will give you lots of answers having to do with fucking over Extra Terrestrials or sodomizing Genies or outright lies about antibiotics and other such nostrums.
A 'search engine' is just asking a large bunch of guys. In the old days, in some places, a guy who could not be cured in his own village went to the town and set up his cot in the market square. Every quack would try to cure him hoping to get lucky and make their fortune thereby.
What the fuck does 'generate search terms' mean? Is it that smart people use technical jargon? But Aeon readers know that their Doctor uses such jargon when she picks up the phone to book you in with a specialist to find out why you have a pain in your butt despite the fact that you definitely did not shove anything in there coz you were bored and there was nothing good on Netflix.
When minds can’t find things, they engage with the random.Really? You can't find your car keys and so, suddenly, your brain goes all random access? Does that happen to Hills? Is he lying or just shite at writing cogently?
A desert ant that can’t find its nest starts hunting randomly.But that is rational! If we lose our keys we don't hunt randomly. We do so methodically. Why? Our brain is bigger than that of an ant.
When in 1898 the psychologist Edward Thorndike put hungry cats in puzzle boxes made to be super tricky to get out of, the cats scratched and clawed at everything – until they eventually, randomly, figured out how to escape. And when the human mind gets stuck on a problem it can’t solve, it starts adding noise to past solutions until it eventually hits on something that might work.Does this cretin listen to himself? Cats aren't 'adding noise to past solutions'. Nor are humans- even expert Statisticians. I know there is a narrow class where something like this features in the heuristic. But it isn't 'noise' which is being added. It is a specific type of perturbation which is the opposite of noise because it has a direction and amplitude. It doesn't cancel itself out on average.
Everything this cretin is describing can be captured better by a regret minimizing m.u.w.a which is responsive to particular types of 'reset' thumps. But this has shit to do with Shamans or Hippies or Spirit Journeys or Dream Catchers or whatever.
There is an old computer algorithm called simulated annealing that helps to explain why this works. It simulates the method by which metal, when heated and cooled on a certain schedule, can be made harder. By heating it, one relaxes the crystal structure of the metal, allowing the randomness of jiggling atoms to literally explore the space of metallic configurations. When it is cooled after this temporary heating, the metal can find a more solid arrangement.This cretin does not understand that the very word annealing already meant this long before there were computers. That's why the thing was a simulation. It showed that an old theory was plausible.
Writing for Aeon, this cretin is trying to make out he has something new to say and Science backs him up. The truth is, he is a cretin and the Science he references is shite.
Similar metaphors of high-temperature exploration are found throughout biological evolution. Some genes can alter their mutation rates in response to environmental heterogeneity in a process called evolvability. Bacteria can randomise their own genetic information by a stress-induced uptake of genomic material floating around in the soup they swim in. These evolutionary strategies insert randomness in direct response to uncertainty.No they don't. The thing occurs in any case. Baldwinian evolution- at least of the Waddington, Dennett sort is not Lamarckian. I personally prefer to speak of co-evolved processes as drastically reducing Kolmogorov complexity. But this means Stochasticity and Knightian Uncertainty are fundamentally changed. Why? The fitness landscape has been artificially restricted. However, this is not a Global effect. Basically, your Stats go awry coz of Simpson's paradox. It looks like there is a local 'Maxwell Demon'. Maybe there is. But we can't know for sure.
This is Stats 101. When you are 17 and having your first pint of Beer, it all seems very cool. But not later on. Which is why Hills is writing about Shamans.
The mind’s use of randomness is how we think new thoughts and come up with creative solutions to vexing problems.Nonsense! If this were true Lullian combinatorics would have made Newton and Einstein otiose. The Arab zairja would have enabled them to invent the atom bomb or time travel or whatever. But, the Umasvati, the Jain, would have gotten there first.
Why is this cretin writing this shite?
This is an inbuilt feature of minds such as ours, and one we don’t often notice. If you sit quietly and let your mind wander, you can get a glimpse of this randomness at work, as your daydreams put together odd combinations in a kind of Rube Goldberg approach to problem solving.No we are not. Divination means being able to tell the future. Stupid fuckers who went in for that shite got defeated and overrun by people who had no time for such stupidity.
But we also use randomness more purposefully. For example, when we use practices such as the I Ching or Tarot card readings, we are engaging in a form of exploratory divination.
Such practices have been used for thousands of years to help people understand their problems by confronting them with meaningful but random interpretations.Such practices have also been used for thousands of years to get people to drop their trousers and bend over. So what?
Appropriately used, these methods can help to escape one’s natural biases by being forced to consider alternative hypotheses.So can being buggered to buggery.
These can, upon consideration, lead to new insights, especially in situations where there are no competing solutions.But you now probably have AIDS and a prolapsed rectum. There is always a competing solution- viz. kick shamen and shawomen and every other quack in the goolies. Take their money. Beat them if they ask for it back. Then, give them a proper job so they can live with dignity.
Shamanism is a form of exploratory divination.So is lying.
But this doesn’t yet explain the full extent of its power.Because lying never explains the full extent of its power coz like it is so super awesome I can't even tell you about it- unless you can give me some more money and, like, your 12 year old daughter.
The final step towards understanding shamanism’s adaptive contribution also makes it clear why shamanism is such an effective social organiser, why it might offer an extra-strength placebo effect in psychosomatic healing, and why it can capture the tribe’s collective capacity for fear.The 'final step' is lying your arse off. But everybody already has their boot stuck half way up it. So, why bother?
Shamans do this by accessing a particular part of the mind.Coz their arse has a boot stuck up it. They have to find a very particular, not to say peculiar, part of the mind to stick with their story.
Through purposeful and yet exploratory investigation, shamans make lucid the mental associations that lurk quietly underneath our understanding of reality.In other words, they fasten on stupid people and tell them what they want to hear.
As what the US ethnobotanist Terence McKenna in the 1980s called ‘astronauts of inner space’, shamans help to make explicit a part of our mind that is thousands, if not millions, of years old.Just like liars.
No one did a more thorough job of explaining the characters that populate this inner space than the US literature scholar Joseph Campbell.Campbell, at any rate, didn't have a PhD. He did fall for a Hindu Swami but his record of his Indian visit is as good as anything in V.S Naipaul. Still, the fucker was a gullible cretin. He thought Iyer boys like myself had our heads chopped off at our 'kuladevam' temple. We have our head shaved. That's all.
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), Campbell set out the basic narrative figures that are common to countless cultures. The hero, the wise elder, the mother/sister/love-interest, the trickster, and the dark shadow are all themes that appear throughout humanity’s many stories and explanations of itself. The US filmmaker George Lucas used Campbell’s work as an inspiration for Star Wars (1977), which sheds interesting light on the elements of our narrative addiction. These narrative figures and the challenges they face are embodied in characters such as Luke (the hero), Obi-Wan (the wise elder), Leia (the mother/sister/love-interest), Han (the trickster), and Darth Vader (the dark shadow). In a deep psychological sense, these figures are the molecules of meaning that fuel human narrative.That's a deep psychological sense? Try this one on for size, Hills you cretin- Psychologists have their heads up their arses. In a deep psychological sense, obviously. Incidentally, Han (the trickster) was too a fucking love interest. Initially he was into a 'bear'- that big Wookie whose dong was never shown- but then Luke turned out to be boring and Obi- an obvious pederast- became incorporeal. So Leia, who only got sexy once a lizard tongued her, had to stand in for her hard-bod bro. Much good it did her.
Shamanism uses in-built associations to construct meanings for which the mind has a natural affinityLike lying.
For those fond of depth psychology, these characters are Carl Jung’s archetypes, the Rosetta Stone by which our unconscious mind makes sense of reality.Does this cretin actually read what he writes? A Rosetta Stone is not a characteristica universalis. It merely presents the same text in two or more languages. If Life evolved by natural selection we know it must be the case that perception can't rely upon anything factorizable as a universal script. Why? Because then we would be too easy to hack. Regret minimization requires robustness such that a predator or parasite is baffled in the same way, and for the same reason, as a stupid pedant like Hills.
If you are an evolutionary psychologist, they are the survival and mating modules that compete for our attention (‘Is it a threat?’ ‘Is it an opportunity for love?’ ‘Is he someone I can trust?’ ‘Is this the end?’).If you are an 'evolutionary psychologist' you are as stupid as shit. Why? Because you are a psychologist. Also your maths is crap and you smell bad and you probably think this article in Aeon is cool.
If you are a secular Buddhist who takes the practice of mindfulness as an opportunity to get a hawk’s-eye-view on the mind, then these are the vines on which the monkey mind swings.Fair point. Secular Buddhists- like other Buddhists- are as stupid as shit.
In Why Buddhism Is True (2017), the US science writer Robert Wright combines these ideas to make clear the shoulder-sitting angels and devils of human motivation.Good to know there are 'science writers' who make things clear about 'angels'.
Through the ritualised invocation of these mental spirits, shamanism makes these characters explicit.But lying does a better job. Smelly old shamans biting the heads of chickens and getting high don't talk good English. What I want to hear is 'Your Mummy and Daddy are so proud you didn't fall into the trap of passing exams and getting a good job and not marrying a whore. Also your poetry is super excellent. OMG! The angel sitting on your right shoulder just told me that Mother Gaia is gonna give you a blow job coz u r such a special little boy! Incidentally, that devil sitting on your left shoulder is telling me you masturbate too much. Mother Gaia wants to get a full load of your spunk to swallow. So kindly quit tugging at your todger- at least during our sessions- and like build up some reserve of smegma under your tiny little foreskin coz Gaia, is French, and likes things cheesy.'
In so doing, it offers us the opportunity to make sense of our reality in the mental light of forces that are hard-wired into our understanding.So, 'forces are hard-wired into our understanding' are they? That's what Professors of Psychology at Warwick believe, is it? This man is a Fellow of the Turing Institute. How come he is more stupid and ignorant than I am? Does it have to do with having to spend time in Warwick? Or is this tosser just trying to ingratiate himself with Aeon readers- most of whom are very elderly or, like me, are employed cleaning public toilets- or were till it was discovered they smelled better in our absence?
An evolutionary bias towards seeking out the safety of mother figures, avoiding enemies, respecting the wisdom of our elders, and for seeing ourselves as the heroes of own adventures is a powerful advantage over creatures that might fail to make such associations.Very true! That is why, if I am attacked by a lion or a deadly virus, I can be sure of prevailing.
As a form of exploratory divination, shamanism uses these in-built associations to construct meanings for which the mind has a natural affinity.Which is why being a liar is actually a noble profession.
There is little that is as important as this constructed meaning. Research consistently finds that experiencing a coherent and meaningful life is one of the strongest predictors of our wellbeing. By meaningful, I mean having a story to tell, a higher reason as to why one thing happened and not another. This makes us feel good and helps us to act in ways that are consistent with our higher goals, instead of pursuing more short-term pleasures.Very true. Writing Mein Kampf sure made Hitler much more self-confident.
In his memoir Black Elk Speaks (1961), the spiritual leader and sacred clown (heyoka) of the Oglala Sioux put it like this:Bullshit! Some White dude wrote this shite. He said a Red Indian told it to him. But, the First Nations had known English for a long time. The fact is talking to Paul Brunton changed what Ramana Maharishi had to say- as my family knows full well. This 'Black Elk' dude was ahead of us, not behind.
When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror like a thunderstorm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier… You have noticed truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping … as lightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have.
By contrast, British working class schizophrenics say things which sound more authentically 'mantic'. Hills should write their testimonies up as the narratives of 'fat cow' or 'ginger menace'.
To gain mastery over reality is to create a mythology worth living for.Fuck off! If I had mastery over reality I'd marry Beyonce and travel around the universe farting in the faces of the Galactic Overlords. Fuck I'd bother with creating a mythology for?
Your head is the space from which all meaning derives.But your arsehole is the sphincter from which all your maunderings arise.
It is the shaman’s role to shine light on that meaning in order, like a wind-up doll, to make you go.To the toilet on their flashlight.
Hills is a terrible writer. He has no ideas. Thus he is eager to prostitute himself. No doubt he has some terrible book to shill.