Märipa: to know everything. The experience of power as knowledge derived from the integrative mode of consciousness

Rodd, Robin (2003) Märipa: to know everything. The experience of power as knowledge derived from the integrative mode of consciousness. Anthropology of Consciousness, 14 (2). pp. 60-88.

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Abstract

Shamans of the Piaroa ethnic group (southern Venezuela) conceive of power in terms of knowledge derived from visionary experiences. Märipa is an epistemology concerning the translation of knowledge derived from the integrative mode of consciousness, induced primarily through the consumption of plant hallucinogens, to practical effect during waking life. I integrate mythological, neurobiological, experiential, and ethnographic data to demonstrate what märipa is, and how it functions. The theory and method of märipa underlie not only Piaroa shamanic activity, but all aspects of Piaroa life; mythology, causality, eschatology, and history. Piaroa shamanic practices involve conditioning the mind to achieve optimal perceptual capacities that facilitate accurate prediction and successful psycho-social prescription. Piaroa shamans describe their technologies of consciousness in terms of gods and spirits, but also in terms of studying and the acquisition of information. Because neurobiological processes underlie the development and experience of märipa, the language of neurobiology enables a partial translation of this indigenous epistemology. The concepts of feed forward neural processing and somatic markers are central to the processes of mental imagery cultivation that Piaroa shamans employ to divine solutions to adaptive problems. Piaroa 'techniques of ecstasy' involve the ability to apply mythological templates of human adaptation to schemas of human behaviour based on years of social analysis in association with heightened information processing capacities derivative of refined experimentation with the integrative mode of consciousness. Keyordsshamanism, neurophenomenology inugrativeconsciousness, hallucinogens.

Item ID: 1407
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: shamanism; neurophenomenology; Piaroa; mental imagery cultivation; integrative consciousness; hallucinogens
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ISSN: 1556-3537
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2007
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950406 Religious Traditions (excl. Structures and Rituals) @ 100%
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