After all we do not come to a curandero just to jam together and listen
his singing while we stay under influence, but we come as individuals
with specific issues to solve, and we need to be treated so.
There are songs designed and/or improvised for each person, each case,
sung directly to them, this is what traditional practitioners do,
not just singing for all and limiting personal treatment to blowing smoke
at each participants. One of the few places I could experience that was
at Laura and Ines, Shipibo ceremony at Arco Iris place, and here,
so even if you are charged 200 soles per night, it is worth it.
There is a lot of work done in this place and you will get your money’s
worth before the morning comes, and afterwards,
integrating the night into your life.
“I was traveling in the joy of completion. I guess Roman sensed this, for when it my turn to approach him, after a short conversation he decided to sing icaro of coronación for me, crowning meaning a mark of completion of certain level, progress and a confirmation of stability. This was the way I understood this, because this was the way I felt. That coherence was the reason I was able to accept this, otherwise I tend to be staying away from all those hierarchies, status points, titles, all those things dangerous because of the way they can inflate already large egos.
That night, that moment I felt I deserved it. I knew more and more of how little I understood the Great Mystery, but the best was that insatiable greed of knowing was going away, that I was content with knowing nothing, I was content in the bliss of ordinary, regular breath, working bowels, the song of jew’s harp on my lips, company of good men and women, breeze of the night and clearly visible stars, in the empathy and co-creating, in health. I was content in being there, and in the awareness of leaving soon. I knew I deserved that symbolic crown for the precise reason of not needing it.
This feeling is something, really, ineffable. I can use words, and yet, what it means to you when I say “I was feeling alive”? Can one understand it without approaching death? Can you be really grateful for something you were never about to loose?
All other things mean nothing, and we all here knew that. We could joke without any shame about Ed shitting in his pants, because we all know it matters nothing. Money, job, success, pride, law, jail, culture, all is just bullshit. Experiencing this is another step from which there is no turning back. It is lasting, it is permanent, it is healing. If one can help in any way, even one more person, to participate in the experience, what best there is to do?
Sincere thanks to Joel and fellow pirates. That was the port I will always remember and try to come back whenever around.”
Recognizing the Problem
The first thing in order to fix a problem, it’s to recognize there is a problem, unfortunately our Western society have gone in a wrong direction for too many years now, centuries in fact since Descartes, or somewhere around that time I hate to blame it in a single individual, or event, no doubt the problem existed at many levels, some of them subtle causes, that escaped the critical eyes of historians, like the choosing of Aristotelian philosophy to meet our materialistic ends, to view a world devoid of causa prima (first cause ) rather than a Platonist approach, if instead of following the ideas rationalist, and positivist philosophers who since the Enlightenment launched us in to a false search for truth, in a denial of Spirit, as a reaction to the abuses of kings, and church who falsely claiming the rights as the representatives of God on this Earth, decided to throw the baby with the bathwater, if we only had stick to now days obscure philosophers like:
Nicolas Malebranche 1638-1715 was a French Oratorian priest and rationalist philosopher. In his works, he sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world. Malebranche is best known for his doctrines of Vision in God and Occasionalism. In 1664, Malebranche first read Descartes’ Treatise on Man, an account of the physiology of the human body. Malebranche’s biographer, Father Yves André reported that Malebranche was influenced by Descartes’ book because it allowed him to view the natural world without Aristotelian scholasticism. Malebranche spent the next decade studying the Cartesian system. In a section of the third book of the Recherche devoted to “the nature of ideas,” Malebranche argued for his famous doctrine of the vision in God. The argument for this thesis begins with the claim at the beginning of this section that “everyone agrees that we do not perceive objects external to us by themselves” since it can hardly be the case that “the soul should leave the body to stroll about the heavens to see the objects present there”
Or Doctor Eximius et Pius Francisco Suarez 1548-1617. For Suárez, metaphysics was the science of real essences (and existence); it was mostly concerned with real being rather than conceptual being, and with immaterial rather than with material being. He held (along with earlier scholastics) that essence and existence are the same in the case of God (see ontological argument), but disagreed with Aquinas and others that the essence and existence of finite beings are really distinct. He argued that in fact they are merely conceptually distinct: rather than being really separable, they can only logically be conceived as separate.
On the vexed subject of universals, he endeavored to steer a middle course between the realism of Duns Scotus and the nominalism of William of Occam. His position is a little bit closer to nominalism than that of Thomas Aquinas. Sometimes he is classified as a moderate nominalist, but his admitting of objective precision (praecisio obiectiva) ranks him with moderate realists. The only veritable and real unity in the world of existences is the individual; to assert that the universal exists separately ex parte rei would be to reduce individuals to mere accidents of one indivisible form. Suárez maintains that, though the humanity of Socrates does not differ from that of Plato, yet they do not constitute realiter one and the same humanity; there are as many “formal unities” (in this case, humanities) as there are individuals, and these individuals do not constitute a factual, but only an essential or ideal unity (“In such a way, that many individuals, which are said to be of the same nature, are so: only through the operation of the intellect, not through a substance or essence of things which unites them”). The formal unity, however, is not an arbitrary creation of the mind, but exists “in the nature of the thing, prior [ontologically] to any operation of the intellect”.
His metaphysical work, giving a remarkable effort of systematization, is a real history of medieval thought, combining the three schools available at that time: Thomism, Scotism and Nominalism. He is also a deep commentator of Arabic or high medieval works. He enjoyed the reputation of being the greatest metaphysician of his time. According to Christopher Shields and Daniel Schwartz, “figures as distinct from one another in place, time, and philosophical orientation as Leibniz, Grotius, Pufendorf, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger, all found reason to cite him as a source of inspiration and influence.”
William C. Chittick give us a glimpse of this extraordinary Sheik Al-Akbar
“Ibn ‘Arabî (1165–1240) can be considered the greatest of all Muslim philosophers, provided we understand philosophy in the broad, modern sense and not simply as the discipline of falsafa, whose outstanding representatives are Avicenna and, many would say, Mullâ Sadrâ. Western scholarship and much of the later Islamic tradition have classified Ibn ‘Arabî as a “Sufi”, though he himself did not; his works cover the whole gamut of Islamic sciences, not least Koran commentary, Hadith (sayings of Muhammad), jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, and mysticism. Unlike al-Ghazâlî, whose range of work is similar to Ibn ‘Arabî, he did not usually write in specific genres, but tended rather to integrate and synthesize the sciences in the context of thematic works, ranging in length from one or two folios to several thousand pages. Nor did he depart from the highest level of discourse, or repeat himself in different works. The later Sufi tradition called him al-Shaykh al-Akbar, the Greatest Master, a title that was understood to mean that no one else has been or will be able to unpack the multi-layered significance of the sources of the Islamic tradition with such detail and profundity.
Ibn ‘Arabî’s writings remained unknown in the West until modern times, but they spread throughout the Islamic world within a century of his death. The early Orientalists, with one or two exceptions, paid little attention to him because he had no discernable influence in Europe. His works, moreover, are notoriously difficult, making it easy to dismiss him as a “mystic” or a “pantheist” without trying to read him. Not until books by Henry Corbin (1958) and Toshihiko Izutsu (1966) was he recognized as an extraordinarily broad-ranging and highly original thinker with much to contribute to the world of philosophy. These two scholars, however, limited their attention almost entirely to one of his short works, Fusûs al-hikam (“The Ringstones of the Wisdoms”). Although Ringstones was the focus of a long tradition of commentary, it represents but a tiny fraction of what he offers in his massive al-Futûhât al-makkiyya (“The Meccan Openings”). More recently, scholars have begun to look at this work (which will fill an estimated 15,000 pages in its modern edition), but less than ten percent of it has been translated into Western languages and even this has not been explained and interpreted adequately.”
You may be baffled as to why I bring forth these philosophers, who may appear on the surface post-medievalist, and obscurantist, well not so fast, first let’s explore what it’s wrong with our current society.
Since the Enlightenment many early Romantic writers such as Chateaubriand, Novalis and Samuel Taylor Coleridge inherited this Counter-Revolutionary antipathy towards the philosophers. All three directly blamed the philosophers in France and the Aufklärer in Germany for devaluing beauty, spirit and history in favor of a view of man as a soulless machine and a view of the universe as a meaningless, disenchanted void lacking richness and beauty. Of particular concern to early Romantic writers was the allegedly anti-religious nature of the Enlightenment since the philosophers and Aufklarer were generally deists, opposed to revealed religion.Yet many Romantic poets were either Deists or Pantheists, and neither they nor the Enlightenment Deists can be considered anti-religious, unless in a fundamentalist sense. Rather, they questioned the idea of a personal anthropomorphic God who interfered with the laws of nature. Some historians nevertheless contend that this view of the Enlightenment as an age hostile to religion is common ground between these Romantic writers and many of their conservative Counter-Revolutionary predecessors. However, Chateaubriand, Novalis and Coleridge are exceptions here: few Romantic writers had much to say for or against the Enlightenment and the term itself did not exist at the time. For the most part, they ignored it.
The philosopher Jacques Barzun argues that Romanticism had its roots in the Enlightenment. It was not anti-rational, but rather it balanced rationality against the competing claims of intuition and the sense of justice. This view is expressed in Goya’s Sleep of Reason (Above), in which the nightmarish owl offers the dozing social critic of Los Caprichos a piece of drawing chalk. Even the rational critic is inspired by irrational dream-content under the gaze of the sharp-eyed lynx. Marshall Brown makes much the same argument as Barzun in Romanticism and Enlightenment, questioning the stark opposition between these two periods.
By the middle of the 19th century, the memory of the French Revolution was fading and Romanticism had more or less run its course. In this optimistic age of science and industry, there were few critics of the Enlightenment, and few explicit defenders. Friedrich Nietzsche is a notable and highly influential exception. After an initial defense of the Enlightenment in his so-called ‘middle period’ (late-1870s to early 1880s), Nietzsche turned vehemently against it and subscribed to the earlier view of conservative Counter-Revolutionaries like Burke and Maistre who attributed the French Revolution (which Nietzsche always hated) to the Enlightenment.
It was not until after World War II that ‘the Enlightenment’ re-emerged as a key organizing concept in social and political thought and the history of ideas. Shadowing it has been a resurgent Counter-Enlightenment literature blaming the 18th century trust in reason for 20th century totalitarianism. The locus classicus of this view is Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), which traces the degeneration of the general concept of enlightenment from ancient Greece (epitomized by the cunning ‘bourgeois’ hero Odysseus) to 20th century fascism. (They say little about Soviet communism, referring to it as a regressive totalitarianism that “clung all too desperately to the heritage of bourgeois philosophy”).
While this influential book takes ‘enlightenment’ as its target, this includes its 18th century form – which we now call ‘the Enlightenment’ – epitomized by the Marquis de Sade. Many postmodern writers and some feminists (e.g. Jane Flax) have made similar arguments, likewise seeing the Enlightenment conception of reason as totalitarian, and as not having been enlightened enough since, for Adorno and Horkheimer, though it banishes myth it falls back into a further myth, that of individualism and formal (or mythic) equality under instrumental reason.
Michel Foucault, for example, argued that attitudes towards the “insane” during the late-18th and early 19th centuries show that supposedly enlightened notions of humane treatment were not universally adhered to, but instead, that the Age of Reason had to construct an image of “Unreason” against which to take an opposing stand. Berlin himself, although no postmodernist, argues that the Enlightenment’s legacy in the 20th century has been monism (which he claims favors political authoritarianism), whereas the legacy of the Counter-Enlightenment has been pluralism (something he associates with liberalism). These are two of the ‘strange reversals’ of modern intellectual history.
The key of the problem
Now let’s go to the heart of the problem, the roots of the accusation “Devaluing beauty, spirit and history in favor of a view of man as a soulless machine and a view of the universe as a meaningless, disenchanted void lacking richness.”
Perhaps we can resume it by saying that by abandoning Metaphysics, and Ontology, we have abandoned our subjective Self, our Spirit, and Imagination, now we are reduce to the empire of mechanized solutions to our more subjective and complex problems, like for example our mental health, and to minor degree our physical health, where we look for a cure on drugs, that would cure a chemical imbalance in the brain, rather than seeing it for what it is a sickness of the soul, but of course, if we don’t believe in a soul, how can we heal it..?
No wonder when our physicians declare you incurable, you start looking for other solutions, and may decide to look for a Shaman in the Amazon! At least they don’t lack imagination!