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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 05:18 AM

 

Do Chimpanzees have shamans?

Thinking about the origin of religion, I thought of the question how are we different from other primates in this respect. Searching net I found source telling that chimpanzees have ritualistic behavior, and discussing how human experience differ from our primate cousins.

http://michaelwinkelman.com/ has five videos on the subject, and the book "Shamanism - A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing" can be read also here:

http://books.google.fi/books?id=8JdYQdukyd0C&pg=PA237&lpg=PA237&dq=chimpanzee+shamans&source=bl&ots=DIpdqZcWdt&sig=-QoKMnS8C_5pzZ2CNLy78_sy6no&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tAQBUeraAeX74QTkqYDwAw&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=chimpanzee%20shamans&f=false

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Reply Do Chimpanzees have shamans? (Original post)
tama Jan 2013 OP
mr blur Jan 2013 #1
tama Jan 2013 #2
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #4
cbayer Jan 2013 #3
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #5
tama Jan 2013 #6

Response to tama (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 05:49 AM

1. Perhapsthey have more sense and have evolved beynd the need for such nonsense.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:02 AM

2. All you seem to communicate here

 

is your block. And nothing else. It's not very interesting and does not make much sense. It would be nice to know other sides of you.

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Response to tama (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 01:14 PM

4. Do you read any of the stuff YOU post?

Its not very interesting and it doesn't make much sense.

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Response to tama (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:56 AM

3. They might. They have politics.

http://www.amazon.com/Chimpanzee-Politics-Power-among-Apes/dp/0801886562

This is a great book that really surprised me.

I can't watch the videos and the link to the book doesn't work, but It's a really interesting idea.

If I had to guess, I would say yes.

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Response to tama (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 01:27 PM

5. Shamans? Unlikely. But they probably do exhibit early forms of belief

In Michael Shermers book The Beleiving Brain, he demonstrates how human brains are belief engines, as a survival mechanism. As we evolved and became more self-aware, our belief systems evolved too.
It is likely that primates are in that early stage and are exhibiting some if the behaviors we did when we were at that stage.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:09 PM

6. Yes

 

Chimpanzees have social rituals (e.g. drumming/banging and howling all through night) that can well be considered rudimentary forms of shamanistic rituals. What chimpanzees don't have is human brain chemistry wired towards various psychoactives, that we actively seek even in cultures where they are declared illegal and social tabu. Psychoactive substances are of course not only method that humans use to seek altered states of consciousness, drumming, dancing, meditation etc. are other means for same results. We are monkeys on dope, quite literally.

What the author in OP suggests is that during such altered states consciousness in fact "expands", as we have in fact no one but three brains for various functions, and fourth level where all three function as coherent whole, or we become "more self-aware", as you say. In the video lecture he uses example of butt-hurt. Normally we are not conscious of how our but feels, unless it hurts, but when we say "butt" and direct our attention there, we can feel how our butt feels.

So what happens during altered states (or various stages of) is bursts of endorfine, opioid and dunno what systems, barriers of coscious experience in lower brain levels open up to lower neural systems that are normally shut out from conscious experience, we have whole-body conscious experience that is usually very euphoric and healing, and more coherent and hightened awareness which enhances our learning skills etc.

Big difference between chimpanzees and dope monkeys like us is that when you teach chimp a skill, it can't delearn it to be able to do same task in other possibly more efficient way. We can through our dopy brain and more flexible neuroplasticity delearn to be able to learn something else, something better.


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