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My response to a Reddit post about religion:
One evolutionary explanation for the emergence of monsters and spirits into human consciousness is a logical consequence of the "theory of mind" present in several animals, but greatly expanded in humans.
Being able to model what others might be thinking is a cause of modern paranoia, but also the basis for plenty of cultural development. Early on in our evolution, however, a particular heuristic (mental shortcut, subconcsious) produced a sort of "false positive".
Let us say that two apemen are sitting around a fire, 2 million years ago. Both hear a sound beyond the light that could be the wind, harmless game, or a serious predator.
One apeman always ascribes "agency" (bad actor and intentions) to the noise and runs away, while apeman 2 always brushes it off as the wind.
There is no consequence to apeman 1 running away and pissing himself because he fears something that does not exist, beyond primordial embarassment.
Apeman 2, however, faces the prospect of being eaten when he is wrong and no longer contributing his DNA to the genepool.
Therefore, belief in a "spirit world" develops from pantswetters who do not get punished, reproductively, for running from nothing.
While the preceding paragraph seems like a complete dismissal of the "spirit world", there is an odd feedback, by which this path leads to an "underworld". Oddly enough, this week's episode of the X-Files ("Babylon", S10E05) is a great illustration of the Shamanic Journey.
Here's a first draft (two guys; a & b) of something currently called:
"Shaman Story" March 09 First Draft 2016.
a “I think that Fox Mulder is a shaman... He's been through some shit, but never got any training.”
b My cousin, Lefty, has some strange ideas about things. Some folks say that he was going to be a medicine man, when he was young, “But, it didn't take...”, or something.
a “In the latest episode of the X-Files, Mulder went on the shamanic voyage, thinking that he had taken magic mushrooms, not realising that the new agent bon-Scully gave him a placebo, but he induced shamanic trance, 6 bucks the hard way, and traveled to the underworld, just like Carlos Castaneda tried and failed to do, seein' as he was too concrete in his thinking and refused to follow the dancing hankerchief.”
b “Ayuh. Couldn't give in to the power... I am pretty sure that he still called himself a Shaman, after.”
a “Anyways, Mulder's vision finally puts him in the shamanic canoe. Perhaps the most real moment of his life, and he is nearly paralysed with astonishment.”
b “Terence McKenna says that astonishment is the greatest danger of DMT.”
a “He sees the guy, spoilers, who's basically a lump of meat surrounded by sniffer dogs back in the real world, but here, he can talk... but Mulder is too amazed to make sense of it.”
b “Transdimensional communication without internal peace is hard.”
a “So, Mulder comes to, in the hospital, and EVERYBODY, is on his dick!”
b “I don't think that means what you think it means.”
a “EVERYBODY is standing on his dick!!”
b “Okay, well, that's different. She's on my dick, or he's on my dick just sound sexual. It can't be helped, they're vague and suggestive; but someone standing on your dick is painfully obvious.”
a “Mulder probably got anally probed, at some time. He's been abducted by aliens and spent time in Russian prisons.”
b “That's got nothing to do with whether or not he's a shaman. Anybody can be a shaman.”
a “Well, I think that you need a certain amount of real crazy, real natural, not just being an asshole. That's not good enough.”
b “William S. Burroughs wrote of a man, disgusted with the way that the world had treated him and his retort was something like: You can't treat me like some greased and nameless asshole!... It's a double entendre without an innocent component.”
a “So, everybody thinks that Mulder failed and the bad guys are winning, then it all comes together and all the brown guys get arrested... I don't think that he's banging Scully anymore.”
b “So, the metaphorical boat supplied real-world information?”
a “Yeah. Didn't you watch it?”
b “I think so. I'd still bang Scully. See her in that British mystery series, she bangs everyone.”
a “It was just a week ago. How can you not remember if you saw it?”
b “I don't have cable.”
a “Oh... I bet that Mulder won't be able to sleep, for days. His brain has been illuminated by vision and werehumans. Well, one.”
b “Nah. Too grounded. He'll be sleeping before the credits... and never fly, again.”
a “He's a secret agent, he flies all the time.”
b “You know what I mean. He'll probably cave in and join the cabal eventually. I bet he smokes smokey pole before the end of the mini-series probe of our collective anus and declare depopulation is yummy.”
a “Georgia guidestones.”
b “Amen, brother. You're feeling me.”
a “I'll never love you the way that you want me to. Whomever contracted the Georgia Guidestones says that we should stick to 500 million people to survive on Earth.”
b “Yeah. 500 million honkys, crackers, old boys and aristocrats. Ted Cruz is gonna wake up someday and be shocked to find he don't make the cut. Shit, they don't even want to take Bill Gates money. Too wet.”
a “I figure that Mulder has got to take the pledge, fuck a chicken on video tape and kiss Geronimo's skull. Then they will make him Bishop of Padua, the Vatican will put some fucking discipline in him.”
b “I like the new guy.”
a “You're such a victim.”
b “The entire reason that we're here, is to save your ass.”
a “Nobody asked you to. I think that I asked for pizza and weed, actually. Where's the pizza?”
b “I don't think that's relevant to our discussion.”
a “Ah, Bro. Really?”
b “I thought that you were dead.”
a “Why? How?”
b “When I broke in, there was a definite whiff of rotten bananas and santorum. Lots of it. Like the Banana boat tried to dirty Sanchez a trucker at the Husky Stop and the waittress locked them in and turned out the lights and brought them to her dungeon, under the fryers. There's nothing like the horrors that you can imagine in a stone and mortar basement, dirt floor and ”
a “Is that the place behind the Minnow Shack?”
a “The Buddhist monks of Asia were supposedly able to enter a shamanic state through discipline. The same sorta thing is claimed for the Bullshido of twentieth-century Chinese film. And, the Hong Kong cinema, of course.”
b “I remember trying to visualise my way into the underworld using techniques from that Micheal Harner guy. Harmer? No, I think it's Harner.”
a “How did it go?
b “ Not very good. I could enter the tunnel to the underworld, beginning with a crack in the ground, past the first guards. When I lose the light of my eyes, however, and have to follow the path down, falling. I could never stay the path. No discipline. Tried it for years. Starting throwing chemicals into the mix. Started by experimenting with nicotine. It found the path, quickly, but was useless for sustained navigation. Even that felt like cheating, but I was determined to stick with wild medicines. Smoking Labrador Tea that had been cured inside a moldy pumpkin induced shared telepathy in a group but couldn't get you to the underworld. How are you supposed to fly, if you can't reach the underworld?! Dried banana peel was a bad joke until I found out about “wild bananas”, that celebrity is wrong about them being god's dildo, they're a delicious little Chihuahua.”
- Joint, whiskey-
I never was able to follow the path down. Lucid dreaming escaped me. I hadn't dreamt a good sex dream better than the one that I had at 15. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I went camping for a few weeks, and once I was able to get away from television, I became a participant in my dreams again. I had been watching my dreams, not being an agent in my own nights, but a viewer. I woke one morning and unzipped my tent, to see dozens of loon pairs in the tiny bay. This is very unusual, Loons are solitary creatures, who prefer one pair of loons per lake, but will make exceptions, if the lake is big enough that they never see the neighbours. They had flooded my bay at the end of summer, the air vibrated with their calls and I knew... I knew, that if I reached out and grabbed a strand of the energy in the air that I would fly out the tent and finally reach the end.”
a “Did you reach out and grab the energy?”
b “Nope. No point. I already knew what would happen and had the certainty of finally achieving mastery of the underworld and the power of flight amongst mortals. I zipped the tent up and went back to sleep, after the bears left.”
a “I don't think that Mulder claims any Indian blood. Unless he's part Navajo. The Navajo keep appearing in the X-files.”
b “That was because of Scully. Some dirty old Navajo fell in love with her and went to war with the smoking man and made love to her from the dead. The Navajo figure prominently in the mythology of the X-files arc.”
a “Navajo's no joke. They came stomping out of the North like a mongol horde and cleaned out the whole Southwest before the Spanish were wearing diapers around their neck and travelling to the New World.”
b “Did I just say that an old Indian man ghost made love to Scully?”
b “See. Navajo's no joke.”
a “Do you suppose that Mulder will quit the FBI and become a witchdoctor, selling sweatlodge fingerbangs and sage bundles?”
b “I think the FBI has a pretty good retirement plan.”
a “I think that thewriters will have him go totally off-grid, like Grizzly Adams, tripping on Amanitas and reindeer piss and dictating his visions on a top-50 “Itunes” (Copyright, TradeMark, Registered) podcast. I bet that he's alot like the Californication guy after he loses the suit and goes “full Native”
b “Never go full Native.”
|Papier mache element of #ReturnOfTheThunderbirds , acrylic #painting #BingoRageStudio #Ottawa. 2016|