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What Comes After Postmodern

Culture as an Evolutionary Force



Where you will find information and linksmost literally in the above linkthat are invitations to deep and thoughtful play...



  This month's featured homepage features the multimedia story, "The Shaman's Journey."  The story is told in a series of collages along with a written story line.  This project was inspired by Joseph Campbell's idea of a universal hero's journey that can be found in stories in every human culture, and also by the the cross-cultural phenomenon of the shaman.

  Michael Harner, anthropologist and founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, explains the meaning of this term:

The word shaman in the original Tungus language refers to a person who makes journeys to nonordinary reality in an altered state of consciousness ... Although the term is from Siberia, the practice of shamanism existed on all inhabited continents. 

After years of extensive research, Mircea Eliade, in his book, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, concluded that shamanism underlays all the other spiritual traditions on the planet, and that the most distinctive feature of shamanismbut by no means the only onewas the journey to other worlds in an altered state of consciousness.

From an interview with Michael Harner titled "Shamanic Healing: We Are Not Alone" by Bonnie Horrigan © Shamanism, Spring/Summer 1997, Vol. 10, No. 1


  More information about shamanism can be found to the right   and much more at The Foundation for Shamanic Studies website: shamanism.org

 Also explore the content on this site, especially this month's homepage, for more on this and related themes.  Enjoy your journeys!


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More about Shamanism:

... the fact is that today, when we have the highest level of technology, when we have the highest development of the medical healing arts and so forth, this is just the time now that people are turning to shamanism, or the rediscovery of some of the principles in shamanism, to develop what they call holistic health, to develop many shamanic techniques that already were present for thousands of years, such as visualization.  So I think the high level of technology has been proven not to be adequate.  And the reason that shamanism went out of fashion, in a way, was for political, not technological reasons. 

The shaman is a subversive person inherently.  The shaman is a person who believes that each person can directly contact this hidden universe, the spiritual universe, and receive information.  Every shaman is his or her own prophet.  Now, when the first kingdoms arose, and the empires arose, it was necessary for the priests to be consolidators of the political power, and shamans then were persecuted, and not just by Christianity but by many other state religions.  They had to go, and they went underground, and they finally disappeared in most of these cultures. 

Now, when we have essentially the age of science, it's ironic but science makes it easier to do shamanism.  For example, shamans anciently claimed that we were related to the animals and the plants.  Only with Charles Darwin have we again had permission to reassert this understanding, this belief.  And there are many other things I could point to that science gives us permission to again inherit.

From an interview titled "THE WAY OF THE SHAMAN with MICHAEL HARNER, Ph.D." Transcript from the series Thinking Allowed, Conversations On the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery, with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove




ABOVE: Cutaway of a nautilus shell showing the chambers arranged in an approximately logarithmic spiral.



ABOVE: The Newgrange entrance slab


ABOVE: The 53rd plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur (1904), depicting organisms classified asProsobranchia (now known to be polyphyletic). 

Above images and captions from Wikipedia

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CLICK HERE to read "Spiral Gate: The Arc of the Covenant" including text, rock art photos, and maps by Gary A. David

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CLICK HERE to read about the Celtic Triskele / Triple Spiral / Triskelion

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 ~ courtesy of the "Math Wizards" at Geometry Junkyard ~  

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Especially useful for computer programmers, and of interest to anyone who seeks to understand codes→ all sorts of "magicians" in this day and age, who are discovering / developing / deploying "spells" like these 

Including highly regarded physicistsas can be clearly seen in the work of Varadara V. Ramanwho have increasingly been insisting upon the "magic" that underlies the foundation of all matter

Indeed, computer programming "magicians" and the "spells" they have cast are generating the experience of reality you are having as we speak. And as I am writing this, I am also a coder of another sort...

As with all "magic," proceed with caution. First ask yourself, Dorothy: Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?  

  "But, I'm not a witch at all!"  

Okay, Dorothy.  Whatever you want to think!  No need to quibble about semantics here.  Just remember, "Let's be careful out there"

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NOTE:  I tried like the Dickens to get the font styles consistent in these paragraphs, but in most browsers the formatting will appear "mixed-up".

But upon consideration, this is perfect--or "prefect" as I like to say nowadays—as you will see if you read the last quote on this page...



Below text from the Zenzibar Alternative Culture website.

Images and captions from Wikipedia article on spirals


Why is the spiral such a compelling shape? Why does it have a positive meaning for every culture that ascribes a meaning to it? Could it be because we, on this tiny planet whirling around one of 100 billion suns, can call a spiral galaxy home?

The spiral has found its way into the art of almost all cultures, from ancient primitive rock carvings on all continents to today's corporate logos. They show up in Celtic art, Native American petroglyphs, Nazca earthworks,  Arabic architecture, Japanese rock gardens, Hindu spiritual texts, Australian aboriginal paintings and African art. Surprisingly, no religious or political group has claimed exclusive rights to the spiral. It remains non-sectarian, or maybe pan-sectarian. The spiral belongs to everyone and excludes no one.

In various mythologies, the spiral is a globally positive symbol. Here are some of the meanings that have been attributed to the spiral.

Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist, said that the spiral is an archetypal symbol that represents cosmic force.

In ancient Britain, the spiral seems to have been associated with the feminine as the doorway to life.

It has been associated with the cycles of time, the seasons, the cycle of birth, growth, death, and then rebirth. The cycles of time and nature are the cycles of life.

Some consider the spiral a symbol of the spiritual journey. It is also considered to represent the evolutionary process of learning and growing. It seems that life doesn't proceed in a straight line. The path of life more closely resembles a spiral. We seem to pass the same point over and over again but from a different perspective each time. To walk and then stand in the center of a spiral or labyrinth has been a psycho-spiritual exercise for centering the consciousness. The spiral stands for coming into being.

The spiral shows up often in nature--in hurricanes and tornados, in the pattern of seeds in a sunflower, in the growing tips of ferns, in the pattern that leaves grow on a stem, in the shape of a nautilus shell, and, as a helix, the shape of the DNA molecule.



VIDEOS OF THE MONTH: Mandelbrot Fractal Spirals


   "Spirals All the Way Down"  




    ↑  "Into Spirals and Galaxies"  ↑ 


QUOTES OF THE MONTH: Fiction and Nonfiction

FICTION - From The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz by Russell Hoban(1973).  Jachin-Boaz is a maker and seller of maps who runs away from his wife and son, Boaz-Jachin.  The father takes with him the map he had made to give to his son. This map shows the location of everything in the world--everything except the location of lions, his son had pointed out, as lions are said to be extinct.  Nevertheless, a lion will soon appear to the father, Jachin-Boaz, conjured by the disgruntled son in a series of drawings.  And in a town far away from his old life, the father awakens in the night:

Jachin-Boaz, naked in the dark, touched the map. "There is only one place," he said, "that place is time, and that time is now. There is no other place."  He ran his fingers over the map, then turned away.  The sky was lighter than before.  Birds were singing. 


NONFICTION - From "The Search for the Primitive" by Stanley Diamond, taken from Man's Image in Medicine and Anthropology (1963). The essay was later expanded for In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization (1974).

Our illness springs from the very center of civilization, not from too much knowledge, but from too little wisdom.  

What primitives possesthe immediate and ramifying sense of the person, and all that I have tried to show this entailswe have largely lost. 

If we have the means, the tools, the forms, the rational imagination to transform the face of the earth and the contemporary human condition, (then) primitive society at its most positive, exemplifies an essential humanity (that we have lost).  

That is what civilization must selectively incorporate; we cannot abandon the primitive; we can only outgrow it by letting it grow within us.   

CLICK HERE for the entire 42-page essay "The Search for the Primitive" (1974)

Or CLICK HERE for a few select pages from the essay


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MORE QUOTES...Compiled by Kevin Brockmeier for his book The Illumination: A Novel (2011) 

The reality cuts across our minds like a wound whose edges crave to heal, but cannot. Thus, one of the great sins, perhaps the great sin, is to say: It will heal; there is no wound; there is something more important than this wound. There is nothing more important than this wound.    

As one has to learn to read or to practice a trade, so one must learn to feel in all things, first and almost solely, the obedience of the universe to God. It is really an apprenticeship.
Like every apprenticeship, it requires time and effort. He who has reached the end of his training realizes that the differences between things or between events are no more important than those recognized by someone who knows how to read, when he has before him the same sentence, reproduced several times, written in red ink and blue, and printed in this, that, or any other kind of lettering.
He who does not know how to read only sees the differences. For him who knows how to read, it all comes to the same thing, since the sentence is identical.

Whoever has finished his apprenticeship recognizes things and events, everywhere and always, as vibrations of the same divine and infinitely sweet word. This does not mean he will not suffer. Pain is the color of certain events.

When a man who can and a man who cannot read look at a sentence written in red ink, they both see the same color, but this color is not so important for the one as for the other.    


What Comes After Postmodern?

Click below for the multimedia essay...

In Search of the Neoprimitive

The most explicit answer to the question posed by this site!


click line segment to hear Modern music


click circle to hear Postmodern music


click spiral to hear Neoprimitive music

NOTE:  afterpostmodern.org is currently being reconstructed. Some images/links may be missing. Thank you for your patience as the site is being restored!

In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization by Stanley Diamond

The essay central to this site is based on anthropologist Stanley Diamond's classic book, In Search of the Primitive: A Critque of Civilization.

CLICK HERE to buy (book & ebook)

CLICK HERE to read review

CLICK HERE for an excerpt

And CLICK HERE for an excerpt from Eric Wolf's Europe and the People without History


And please considering joining afterpostmodern.org...

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