Planet Medicine: from stone age shamanism to post-industrial healingRichard Grossinger
This is a book about healing: its origin in primary and ancient systems of human knowledge, its basis as a social category, and its diverse meanings and values, from culture to culture and through human history. Our starting point is the oldest medical images and activities. Though we cannot know these exactly, we imagine them by comparison with our own modes of perception and idea formation, we reconstruction them from Ice Age remnants, and we find their equivalents practiced by tribal peoples in Africa, Australia, Asia, and the Americas. This book examines hermetic and elemental medicine, medicine of the vital force, and medicine reconciling mind and body.
Disease perception and healing both touch the core of our human meaning. How we locate disorder, and remedy it, is an aspect of how we imagine our existence as body and mind. Each person’s ‘struggle’ with his biological being is recorded in his health. There are deep and urgent collective images, both personal and cultural, which cannot be expressed as variations and difficulties of health. Their ‘philosophical ‘ meaning is akin to that of the genes themselves, which also carry a biological message into the human world. This book is a statement on the cultural and metaphysical status of all medicine and an attempt to revise assumptions, both academic and popular, about what the process of disease and cure is.