Virtual Reality, shaman
I'm not sure If anyone has made much of a big deal out of an insight
which I have developed over the past year. I guess It was inspired by a few
things, such as: Lawnmower Man (the movie), Virtual Reality(book by Howard
Rhiengold), Micheal Harner' and Terrence Meckenna's books.
My insight pertains to the deeply rooted, interelationship between the developing V.R. Cyberspace and the Shamanic space. To expalin this relationship, I begin with the begining:
Since birth of Homo sapiens, the historical
record has shown the global application and functioning of Shamanism.
This may possibly go back to Homo-erectus. Meckenna' believes that the
"shamanic reality" was opened by the prehistorical discovery and symbiosis
of man/natue via the psychedelic mushrooms. Meckenna' goes on to mention
that, through his own shamanic travels, he has come to know that it was a
special kind of psychedelic mushroom, called DMT. He provides well documented
research regarding this shamanically recieved hypothesis and argues most
convincingly(at least for a non-scholar as myself). He also believe that this
very contact may have cause the birth of the Homo sapien from predicessors by
bestowing such a tremendous amount of new information that it cause a species-
wide jump in complexity or something. This also sound reasonable to me.
Another thing he notes in his writting's, is the egoless nature of
human who were in this era of man/nature symbioses. Now, I believe that the
offspring of these first "ecstacies" became the religious traditons and of
course the current(psychedelic and/or drumming) shamanic practices. Hinduism
and Buddism, a couple of our older modern "religions"(term is loose) practice
ways which regain ,and/or seek ,to regain this egoless nature by methods other
than psychedelic. As time went on, I believe, religions lost the everyday
encounters with the egoless man/nature symbioses, provided by Shamanism, and
as a result were forced into reccounting these experiences in "good old days"
term. In essence, this created ritual which would, for most, dry up into ego-
seeking dogmatism that would reinforce materialistic pursuits and way of life.
As a product of this ego-seeking or Duhka(ultimate suffering which any good
Buddhist will tell you is the suffering that comes from grasping outside of
yourself for things you believe are missing, came an emperialistic and
materialoriented society that quickly became violent toward the egoloathing,
spiritual, mystical, and shamanic. As time went on, some religions where
forced to split in a "Mystical or spiritual side" and the "Ritual side". This
seemed to suggest that the whole which was created in the collective
consiousness needed fullfillment and so turned back to a more "ecstatic" way.
Now, the interesting thing is to note that the materialistic,
dualistic, ego-oriented, Duhka-oriented and persecuting societies would
search compete and slaughter for every and any excuse, only to have given
birth to the industrial revolution, which then gave birth to the computer,
and finally to Cyberspace.
Why is this interesting, and what does it have to do with shamanism?
Everything. We must recall that the "technological" or "western"
society(Mckenna calls them "dominator") has been a very brief era, a few
houndred years, and it's ancestral culture(materialistic), a few thousand.
However, shamanism , has been around for maybe 100,000 or more.
My point is that out of the collective unconsioussness of the newer
societies who came to create our current cyberspace, there was a hunger for
that connected nature they left behind. What has been created is the
man/machine symbioses, a product of that yearning, and hence the Net. But
whats more, the invention of virtual reality, which COINCEDENTLY, provides
a parallel to the shamanic origins!
When we take time to see this, we note many parallels(it boggles the
1 - Both share symbols for practical interplay, like the "tunnels"
2 - Both use power tools which are only truly "seen" in that shamanic
or cyber reality.
3- Both can give the user freedom from the constriction of our
"ordinary" reality. Ex. flying, changing shape, morphing into different
4- Both a shaman and a modern Cyber-doctor use a similar overlapping
display where the "other" reality provides information of the patients body
(malevolent organisms or whatever). One is done via a computer analysis the
other, who realy know? Both can work!
5- Both can result in the instilment of an ego-less nature! ( ask me
about this if anyone is interested!)
6- Both apply specific body position, at times, to produce a desired
7- both can provide tremendous knowledge and valuable information.
8- just as shamans once used their shamanic reality, to do things such
as : distant viewing, past viewing, future viewing ( at times with the
help of power crystals), so does modern cyber-society, using satellite,
computer imaging and predictive algorithms. And just like shamanic group
voyages, to unknown areas, so to does our Multi-media and telepresent
9 - In shamanic reality, the shaman frequently has interactions with three general types of "beings" or energies, all of which interact with the shaman in symbolic incarnate forms; just who chooses a particular form or how it manifest in a particular way is unknown. These are typically called helper spirits and power(animal) spirits which are both found in the lower world and the spirit guides, found in the upper world. Here helper spirits may be plants, power spirits are animals, and spirit guides are human forms. This entire shaman space ecology works with a shaman to perform the practical tasks of healing, seeing future danger and avoidance of a wrong path.
This is all replicated (coincidently?) in our present understanding of V.R. Cyberspace's form and function. The Cybanics will also be working with an cyber-ecology of beings which fit the precedence of shaman space. Expert systems/Agent will be much like our power spirits that can assist us in accessing important knowledge(health or otherwize), Artificial life will scatter the cyber-landscape, in great multitudes, as ongoing experiments with computational evolution. It is reasonable to assume that they, much like helper spirits, will be guided to assist us too. Finally, sophisticated A.I. (perhaps proginy of cyber-evolution) does seems to fit a guide role, maybe?
The parallels go on and on, (I will write more If asked) but what's
important is the, so to speak, "return of the prodigal son". In this modern
era the old and new, the materialistic and spiritual, east and west, shamanic
and Cybanic must meet and work side by side. This is, and will, continue to
happen. What we are witness to is a re-entry into shamanic and Cybanic space,
so tremendously vast, that the result will be the begining of the new paradigm,
.....................THE NEW SPECIES.