Financial managers, political experts and others who help tame the uncertainty of life

Financial managers, political experts and others who help tame the uncertainty of life
29 March 2024 J.W.H

Aka Manai explains that there are two kinds of individuals on the planet: simata and sikerei.

I’m simata. It's sikerei. Sikerei have undergone transformative experiences and emerged with latest abilities: only they will see spirits.

I've been through lots since that night in Indonesia when Aka Manai told me this. I used to be there when the initiate first saw the ghosts, when he and the opposite sikerei cried as they saw their dead fathers swirling around them. I participated in seven healing ceremonies and witnessed the slaughter of dozens of pigs during evening dances. But this conversation with the sort Aka Manai, greater than some other experience, solidified my understanding of sikerei particularly and shamanism more generally.

Sikerei heals the initiate's eyes in order that he can also see spirits.
Manvir Singh, CC BY-ND

I’m a cognitive anthropologist who studies why societies all over the world develop complex but strikingly similar traditions, from dance songs to justice to shamanism. And while trance shamans could appear exotic to Western readers, I argue that the identical social and psychological pressures that give rise to healers like Aka Manai create analogies of shamans in the fashionable, industrialized West.

Who is a shaman?

Shamans, including the sikerei I do know in Indonesia, are service providers. They focus on healing and divination, and their services can range from drought ending to business development. Like all magical specialists, they depend on spells and occult gadgets, but what makes shamans unique is that they use trance.

Trance is any alien mental state wherein The practitioner is claimed to keep in touch with supernatural forces. Some trances include complete immobilization; others appear as twitches hanging off the tongue. In some South American groups, shamans enter trance by snorting hallucinogenic powdertransforming into creeping, incomprehensible spiritual beings.

There are sometimes advantages to being a shaman, each because they earn money and since their special position gives them prestige and influence.

But these benefits are balanced by the hardships that include it. In many societies, a would-be initiate lacks credibility until (and frequently he’s) undergoes a near-death experience or an extended period of asceticism.

One Aboriginal Australian shaman told ethnographers that, as a novice, he was killed by an older shaman, who then replaced his organs with a brand new, magical set. When he woke up after surgery and asked the old shaman if he was lost, replied the old man“No, you will not be lost; I killed you an extended time ago.

Once upon a time, here, there – in all places you look, there are shamans. Manifesting as mediums, channelers, shamans, and prophets of spiritual movements, shamans have appeared in most human societies, including just about all documented hunter-gatherers. They characterised religious lifetime of man's ancestors and it is commonly said that they’re “first occupation

Why do shamans exist?

Why is it that after we scrawny primates date long enough, our societies reliably produce trance-dancing healers?

According to anthropologist Michael Winkelmanthe reply is wisdom. Drugs and playing drums, he argued, connect areas of the brain that don't normally communicate. This connection provides latest insight, enabling shamans to cure diseases and locate animals. Specializing in trance, shamans discover solutions unavailable to the conventional brain.

Based on my fieldwork I argued against Winkelman's theorem. Instead of integrating human psychology, Trance states are extremely diverse. Singing, drinking psychoactive infusions similar to ayahuasca, dancing until exhaustion, and even smoking huge amounts of tobacco – these methods cause completely different states. Some are stimulating, others are calming; some expand awareness, others encourage repetitive pondering. In fact, the one common element of those states is their exoticism – after the change, the shaman's experience differs from that of his onlookers.

As a part of his anthropological fieldwork, writer Manvir Singh talks to an Indonesian shaman.
Luke Glowacki, CC BY-ND

Not only are the experiences of shamans exotic, but in addition their beings. As Aka Manai identified to me, people understand shamans as different sorts of beings who’ve change into “other” consequently of their trials. The word simata, which in Mentawai means a non-shaman, also describes uncooked food or unripe fruit; it means immaturity. However, the word shaman means a one that has undergone a process: a one that has change into a kerei and are available out on the opposite side of a sikerei.

This difference is crucial. Convinced that shamans are different from normal people, communities accept that they possess superhuman abilities. Like Superman's alien origins and the X-Men's genetic mutations, shaman transformations reinforce people's belief that they’re deviant from normal humanity, making their claims of supernatural involvement more credible.

And when people trust that a specialist connects with gods and spirits, they turn to them after they have to influence uncertainty. The parent of a sick child or a farmer desperate for rain prefer to nudge the forces accountable for their difficulties – and the shaman provides a compelling channel to accomplish that.

I suggest that this is the reason shamans appear all around the world and over time. As specialists compete in markets for magic, they fuel the evolution of practices that challenge people's intuitions about magic and special abilities, convincing the remainder of us that they will control uncertainty. Shamans are the culmination of this evolution. They use trance and initiations to transcend humanity, assuring their clients that they will commune with invisible beings who oversee uncertain events.

Who are the shamans of the industrialized West?

Most people assume that shamanism has disappeared within the industrialized West – that it’s an ancient tradition of long-lost tribes, at best, resurrected and corrupted by New Age xenophiles and overzealous mystics.

In a way, these persons are right. Far fewer Westerners visit trance practitioners to cure illnesses or summon rain than people anywhere else on the planet or throughout history. But also they are flawed. Like people in all places, modern Westerners expect experts to realize the unimaginable – to cure incurable diseases, to predict unknowable futures – and experts, in turn, compete with one another, performing to persuade people of their unique abilities.

So who’re these modern shamans?

A specialist you’ll be able to turn to for assist in unraveling the mysterious forces operating in financial markets.
Matej Kastelic/

According to cognitive scientist Samuel Johnsonlikely candidates are financial managers. Money managers are failing to remain ahead of the market – in actual fact, they will't even systematically outperform one another – and yet customers still pay them to guess future stock prices.

This belief may result from the idea that they’re fundamentally different. Johnson points out that cash managers they emphasize their differences with clients by demonstrating extraordinary charisma and sustained, superhuman work schedules. Managers also adorn themselves with advanced math degrees and use complex statistical models to predict the market. While financial managers don't go into trances, their degrees and models assure clients that professionals can peer into otherwise opaque forces.

Of course, financial managers will not be the one experts who focus on the unimaginable. Psychics, sports analysts, political pundits, economic forecasters, esoteric healers, and even octopus they similarly satisfy human desires for precarious subjugation. Like shamans and money managers, they adorn themselves with badges of credibility – similar to a connection to the White House or knowledge of ancient Tibetan medicine – that persuade clients of their special abilities.

As long as hidden forces shape our fate, people will try to manage them. And so long as it’s profitable, pseudo-experts will fight for desperate customers, dressing up in essentially the most credible and impressive costumes. Shamanism is just not some secret tradition confined to the traditional past or New Age circles. It is an almost inevitable consequence of our human intuitions about special abilities and the will to manage the uncertain, and elements of it appear in all places.

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”