According to the principles of shamanism, what one says doesn’t have to be True, but it has to work. By contrast, patriarchal reasoning demands that something has to be true when it is based on authority. However, it can neither show that its principles work, nor produce its authority. One may not be better off with shamanistic texts, but at least one is not worse off.
Due to the nature and intensity of opposition to the intellectually shamanistic paradigm, I understood there is a formidable amount of emotional investment in the view that both morality and knowledge have predetermined structures. These are thought to be made known though the inspiration of certain wise men, whilst being inaccessible to women. Nietzsche, too, can be read as promulgating a foundationalist position in the pattern of old testament prophets whose oracles were only decipherable by those of the greatest spiritual elevation. Many of his contemporary readers believe that belonging to the generic category, “men”, suffices for one to understand Nietzsche’s works.Shamanistic literature is much more evasive than foundationalist texts about who has the right to understand it. Nietzsche’s naming of one of his works as Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None is very much within the shamanistic tradition, which appeals to a heightened subjectivity. If the book appeals to you, it is “for” you, but otherwise it isn’t.In contradistinction to this are the quintessentially patriarchal texts of the Christian God and Allah. All foundationalist texts seem to fall from the sky already formed but in actual fact are the products of much prevarication and revision. Given that none of the patriarchal texts lie on a firm foundation, despite the vigorous promotion of the opposite idea, monotheistic religion does not have a better leg to stand on than shamanistic texts. The idea, “these texts are true because they have an authoritative source”, does not seem to hold up where patriarchal authority is shown to be multiple, historically variable, subject to the political climate and ultimately devoid of an actual God to assure the authenticity of all interpretations.Herein lies the advantage of shamanistic writing, in that it does not require one to first believe in anything in order to gain benefits from it. One can read Carlos Castandena’s Don Juan without any concern as to whether it is a reliable text. If Castaneda was in a sense Don Juan himself, having made up all the information and advice, the value of the text remains unaltered. Psychological trickery is fundamental to shamanism, just as it is a means by which its wisdom can be communicated. Nietzsche adoption of the tone of an old-testament prophet, despite being nothing of the sort and indeed inimical to the aims of religiously inspired persons, is a concession to the shamanistic spirit of mockery as a means for communicating wisdom. So if you come to the ultimate conclusion that you have been “had” by a shamanistic text, perhaps this is the principle lesson of life you needed learn all along: the meaning and value of skepticism.