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Archive for June, 2017|Monthly archive page

TOTEM

In Culture, Life, Philosophy on June 26, 2017 at 9:19 am

 

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Reason for the existence of mental illness such as Schizophrenia is the dichotomy of individual reality and social reality. An individual’s reality exists solely on the basis of that person’s perception. Imagine a person who cannot see. That person will have a very deviant opinion on beauty which might be rooted in sounds or voices, rather than visual aesthetics.

Coming back to persons with their senses functioning optimally, we find that individuals in proto-societies devised a method to amalgamate discrete realities into one single, all encompassing one by submitting themselves to a common ‘totem’.

Definition of totem. 1a : an object (such as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also : a usually carved or painted representation of such an object

b : a family or clan identified by a common totemic object.

It is only natural for a species like the intelligent humanoids as we appear to be, to devise such methods to offset our mass space dementia, floating along hopelessly and unpredictably through uncharted territory with an obscure history that noone really knows when it actually began. The punishment or consequence for not accepting the social totem is banishment to the fringes of societal existence, or death in most extreme cases. Territorial and aggressive as we are, most clans prefer to kill the non-believer than risk a future uprising that will topple their precious totem.

The author sees an end to the relevance of totems in the propagation of social anthropology only after a technological breakthrough to link individual minds of persons into some kind of hive-mind so that a thought can be said to be shared absolutely as opposed to being strictly discrete. That brings in even more conundrums but we’ll worry about it when we get there. The Conjoiners in Alistair Reynolds’ Revelation Space saga is a valid imagining of that scenario.

Until that era of Transenlightenment, we are going be apes on a floating rock, murdering opposing clans with differing totems, in an endless gallop to merge all realities into that ever so slippery and incomprehensible single reality of an Ultimate Truth.

 

Read more:

Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud

 

 

 

 

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