Firstly. I am sorry if it seemed I was knocking the anthropologists. I assure you I was not! If I could go back, (and I dont want to cos I love it just where I am, ), BUT if I could, then surely the profession I would choose would be the life of an anthropologist!
In fact I guess it is a natural hobby of mine because discover[ing] the relation of man to his planet, to each other, and to his relationships to the entire world including its vast elements is when I am in my element!
Secondly, I would LOVE to ramble your bookshelves! One of the first things I try and find out about people I meet is, what books do they read?
The first of the three subjects you mentioned, beginnings, evolution and religious psychology. Well, for the Now, it IS this very beginnings that I am attracted to. So I feel an affinity with those dealing with Beginnings. Ever since the ole Erich von Däniken days, my first inroad to off the beaten track stuff, have I often wandered slightly and not so slightly off the accepted Norm. ANYWAY, I am just trying to say that I think you a bit harsh to say those that believe their own motivators appear to have missed some stuff, or ignored it, or just file it away cos they do not understand it, (rightly or wrongly), well, these authors do not disrespect MOST of their peers, though one or two indeed seem to be condemnable by their actions but that happens). They just have just got moved in some way to push maybe what they see as barriers that need pushing.
I would say that the best teachers of anything are happy when their pupils not only reach their level of understandings but rise above and make new headways.
I have no idea what your religious fundamentalist statement was about. Reminded me of an oopart. Smile.
Ok, THIRDLY and most happily!
Michael Harner! I admit I have not come across him before though I have touched Shamanism quite a few times. Just found his article about Science, Spirits, and Core Shamanism . A great read.
Shamanism is a path of knowledge, not of faith; and that knowledge cannot come from me or anyone else in this reality. To acquire that knowledge, including the knowledge of the reality of the spirits, it is necessary to step through the shaman's doorway and acquire empirical evidence.
The way is open, and the first step through it only requires, as it would for a true scientist, honest curiosity, an open mind, and some courage. Once you pass through the doorway, preconceptions are replaced by first-hand experience, and you can test for yourself the validity of the principle of the reality of spirits. One small warning, however, to those who are new to the practice: you and your view of reality will never be the same again, for passing through that doorway will be the beginning of a major paradigm shift, not only for you, but eventually for the parameters of science, and science will no longer be truncated by a major ethnocentric and cognicentric a priori assumption of what is impossible.
As for evidence of certain cultures, yes, it appears flimsy. But for whatever reason, it dont matter none when your spirit gets spurred on to get stuck in , physical proof or no proof. But that is me! And I guess, others as well. And, again, with a spiritualist background, I just take so much stuff deemed improvable for granted cos it just seems natural to me. And again, I am not alone.
This Way is NOT condemning what may be called the tried and the trusted way(s), it is using the tried and the trusted ways, as someone like Ian Lawton does, but with an added dimension, shall we say?
Anyway, thanks Iceman. As always, very welcome to chat with you and thank you especially for the introduction to Harner. I just checked at Amazon and oh my, some neat looking books by him.
A quote about Harner:
"What Yogananda did for Hinduism and D. T. Suzuki did for Zen, Michael Harner has done for shamanism, namely bring the tradition and its richness to Western awareness."
Well, I know Yogananda and I know Suzuki, now to get to know Harner.