Repost: Marechera as shaman

summary

Marechera’s writing enables us to see the psychological effect of power relations, instead of simply leaping to conclusions about their moral status. His analysis of power relations is not limited to something isolated and set apart for its particular negativity, termed ‘colonialism’. Rather, his psychological methodology is consistent for pinpointing the effects of unjust power relations wherever he finds them.

His writing is philosophical and far-reaching as he is not intent on condemning the latest outrage of his time, but is rather taking a look at what it is in human power relations that can cause them to distort and shred the fabric of the human psyche, but his concern is with the psychological illnesses of society and the possibility of healing them. I deem his approach to be shamanistic, in the sense that traditional shamans directed their work towards diagnosing and healing the ills of their societies, which had resulted from social imbalances of power. Belief in society’s totems can insulate the believer against a fear of death. 

 This has relevance to shamanism, for it is a sacrifice of the belief in totems through facing death that allows the shaman to see reality in a way that isn’t determined only by his emotional needs. This is what is needful to produce  detachment — which in turn facilitates (although doesn’t guarantee, as this depends on the quality of the character) a greater capacity for an ethical orientation in the long run.

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