The "is" versus the engine and how it works

I suspect that one of the biggest reasons that people can fail to see the paradigm of shamanism — or, indeed, can fail to see how it appears in some of the works of the biggest intellectuals — is because they read a book or respond to an idea with the expectation that the writing tells them how things “are”.  To read Nietzsche in this way is to get a totally different impression of the writer than if one read him to understand how things “work”.

For instance, young readers respond to Nietzsche’s aphorisms on women by taking away the message, “That is how things really are.”   It would be better if they understood, “This is how my mind (or others’ minds) WORK.”

In exactly the same way, people may hear me discussing how to avoid “conformity” and then misunderstand the whole message because they think there is a fixed state of being — perhaps one that can be socially or sociologically defined — that corresponds to the term “conformity”.  In fact,  my sense of the term,  conformity, has to do with the way things WORK, and is thus a concept of relativity, not a fixed state (just as the concepts of heat and cold do not describe fixed states, but express temperature gradations),

So, the best outcome would come about, it seems to me, if one could read and respond as an engineer addressing a structural concern  rather than as someone asking for directions in a strange place.  This is the key to understanding my way of writing, too, and my videos.  They describe how things are structured.  They do not give you directions.  


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