Politics of Eremitism (4)

Who can vouch for the wisdom of the people? In an agrarian culture, left to their own devices, the people can be wise, for their only teacher is nature. Shamans thrive in such simple circumstances. Their insights are experiences, not doctrines. They teach a wisdom seen, felt, and lived, not inherited. They have no permanent or compelling authority. But this collective wisdom is broken, stolen, and destroyed by the dominance of hunter-based society. Under the hunter, nature’s voice is silenced. At first the propitiation for animal sacrifice is made, but gradually animal sacrifice is an end to itself, and the propitiation of gods merely a symbol, the propitiation of nature forgotten. Then everything must be “run” through the agencies of king or emperor and his warlords and priests. There is no room for shamans with experiences, only priests with doctrines. There is no end to sacrifice: human sacrifice and war become necessary and common. Thus does society create — or, rather, suffer — politics.