If anything, shamanism's role in past Mayan culture is still
underestimated, though somewhat less in recent years.
It remains as underestimated as the concept of shamanism itself
remains imperceived, though also somewhat less in recent years -
an imperception proportional to those who never get past an
insistance that only their brand of the supposedly strictist
investigations of component parts, but never theirintegrations,
can yield a perceptible whole.
The grasp of any shamanism and any civilization, much less
their integration, hinges at least as much on matters of
adduction as deduction.
The authors' of the dissertation are (or had been?), I think,
more interested in being the defenders of a status quo for
science (and, in at least one case, a defender against cultural
embarrassment) rather than recognize a great truth of Mayan
They are also convinced that anthropolgy is, in part, the study
of how the component parts of civilizations are so universal
that only a few adaptations for local color and speech make the
whole of any civilization different from any another: that,
given equal environment and freedom from natural calamity, all
cultures would evovle to same attainment and status.
The authors also professed their conviction that all cultures
have had, and attach the same value to, the same role playing.
The authors' argument that many present day Mayanists are, out
of misguided romanticism, over-differentiating between
(nevetheless our) "priests" and (their) "shamans", and over-
emphasizing the role of shamanism, is, in fact, hopelessly
fatal to their ever grasping the concepts of shamanism and
civilization much less their integration .
As difficult as it already is to grasp the concept ofshamanism,
much less as the component it is in one civilization while not
in one's own, especially for those who cannot escape from the
notion, (and oftentimes embarrassment), that shamanism can be
nothing more than over-romanticized, tribal voodoo, it must be
even so much more difficult to perceive the even now unveiling
expanse to which the Maya did take it.
(Whew! How difficult it is, even irreverent, to consider
anything other than the very pressing current events. The news
however that Congress, though for the wrong, at least stated,
reasons, has delayed a decision on Bush's "permenent" 'Homeland
Security' (or as Mexicanists, for example, should
recognize: 'Secretary of Governation') is somewhat of a
It may help Sam to know that the same lack of 'vigor' being
experienced by Aztlan is being experienced by all the academic
groups on the internet. They have been absolutely moribund.)
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