Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bringin' Shamanism Back

A discussion about Zach's video, "I'm Bringing Shamanism Back", found here:

The Trio discuss what has been lost from the world of mental health treatment by the replacement of ancient practices such as shamanism and witchcraft with "reason" and medical diplomas. The key feature of Shamanism which attracts Zach is the idea that mental illness is itself the initiatory event in the creation of a mental health expert - that authority and expertise in mental health comes primarily from those who have already had mental illnesses - unlike physical illnesses, where one can merely study and practice in order to become competent.

The Placebo effect is considered. "The shaman creates a custom placebo just for you. And it might have to do with wrapping a snake around your neck, or dancing in a pile of mud or something… in other words, he doesn't just have one pill that he gives to everybody. He's an artist of the Placebo. A Placebo should be a work of art, and that's the job of the shaman."

Zach claims one must have a mental illness before one can be an expert in the field. Ethan: "[But] the Westerner in me is always going to find holes in this. I'm thinking about the practical implications. How do we operationalize this? It's really not practical, unless we reduce communities to a smaller size and we have the community shaman again."

Society as a whole is like a mental health patient. Perhaps it requires a shaman (Zach?) to heal it. Zach: "When somebody gets depressed, you need to go to where they are. And they need to know that you get what they're saying. You can relieve them of a huge burden if they realize, 'Oh, this is where I am, and this other person is here with me.' If the world itself is the patient, you need to go to where the world is."


…and tell us about your friends!

Check out this episode!

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