Early Native Americans would seek the aid of the shaman or witch doctor for assistance in times of trouble. The holy man (usually with the aid of peyote or some other hallucinating drug) would enter into a trance-like reverie during which he would access and communicate with the spirits for advice.

Problems of every description, illness, failures in love, personal disputes, failures of conception, curses and all other needful occasions .The witch doctor or shaman could be designated, in modern parlance, a “general practitioner” (apparently there were no specialists then).

Honor and special status was accorded to this useful holy man, gifted with the franchise to commune with the spirits. It would appear that such office and function was of great value in the preservation and peaceful functioning of the tribe.

In the modern era, we are culturally inclined to look askance at the professed ability to commune with the” spirits” for solutions to problems.  While we recognize the benefits of such phenomena in its time, we are ethnically reluctant to certify to its validity.

It is unfortunate that we have become inordinately reliant and dependent upon the universe of digital electronics; our ability to do research, to solve problems and to procure entertainment are some examples. It is, in fact, disheartening to admit that we have surrendered so much of modern man’s evolved skills and facilities to mechanical contrivances and have therefore necessarily suffered a great dependence upon them.  Additionally, while most individuals have acquired a working familiarity with the operation of these devices, few actually have the ken or ability to comprehend the “magic” behind their dynamics and operation.

It is possible to construe a limited, functional, analogy between the shaman or witch doctor and those whose profession incorporates the seemingly “magical” ability to communicate with the rarely understood forces behind these digital contrivances. The computer professional has the “Merlin”-like power to commune with the celebrated “cloud” and, as in the case of early man, provide a solution to the problem including no less than the dramatic act of bringing a dead computer back to life.

However, the comparison is a limited one because the computer professional’s power and utility is strictly limited to the world of the computer and related digital- type problems.  Outside the specialized, limited area of the computer specialist there exists a plentitude of human problems, personal and interpersonal, disappointment in love, failure in business, illness and a myriad of others. These are not within his calling or professional capability.

For these problems we are obliged to designate ourselves our own personal shaman and, commune with our inner self, our personal resources for solutions or for accommodation. Our inner resources are the essential tool for the solution to, or amelioration of our problems. (Blog #8). In similar fashion as the mining of natural resources in commerce, we have to unearth the mature and developed ore of reason and wisdom for the purpose.

We are born with the innate potential for learning and the potential for the acquisition of wisdom. The “mining” of our inner resources, of course, is necessarily dependent upon their sufficient presence and accessibility. These are developed through meaningful life experiences and interactions and especially, as personal shamans, communing with the eternally wise spirits of our great authors of literature. (Blog # 9).

Most problems of humanity are not unique (although they may feel that way); in reality they are universal and within in the broad spectrum of human existence. The exposure to humanities’ universal challenges can be derivatively experienced and studied though their situational portrayal by the many world class novelists (our spirits). We can derive necessary detachment and perspective relative to our problems, with which we may from time to time be confronted, from their classical iteration.

The office of providing assistance to all and unlimited manner of problems, in their day, should entitle the witch doctor or shaman to no less than three cheers, however, we have deducted one from our title by reason of the employed  methodology.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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