Shamans, yogins and indigenous psychologies

John H. Crook

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568308
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Shamans, yogins and indigenous psychologies

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  • Cognitive Psychology
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This article offers a brief account of the processes of world-view, particularly in selected representatives of the ‘ancient matrix’, and indicates how they may change as the second and third of Michail Bakhtin's phases impact upon them. The forms of religion found in hunter-gatherer societies of the ‘ancient matrix’ are commonly described as ‘shamanic’. Although they vary considerably in form and function, such cultures share several key attributes in common. Members of the society participate in a common understanding or world-view from which they draw an understanding of themselves in relation to their perception of the universe. Shamans usually have a deep knowledge of natural history and/or a sensitive appreciation of their social system and the personal tendencies of community members. Interpretation of social conflict on a ‘cosmological’ level removed from actual social process amounts to an appeal to a neutral world transcending actual interpersonal conflict or sickness.

Keywords: world-view; ancient matrix; Michail Bakhtin; religion; cultures; shamans; universe; social system

Article.  7825 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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