Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Tell me my future my... eh... my feces!
I am reading this very interesting book called Breaking the Spell by the American philosopher Dan Dennet. The book is an attempt to summarize the previous scientific work that try to explain all forms of religion as a natural phenomenon, based on our genetic and cultural evolution, and make further very intriguing philosophical and scientific speculations.
Along the evolution of religion, the concept of divination plays an important role. Divination is any form of delegating important decisions in human life to the God, Gods, or Ancestors. Divination takes very different forms, from looking at the broken stern bones of a human sacrifice, to looking at feces' of animals or the kings to see the future, or help us taking important decisions! As a matter of fact all forms of astrology and fortune telling are nothing but cultural traditions that exploit the basic human trait of looking for an intelligent agent behind everything in the world, and the human insecurities when it comes to important decisions.
Here is a list of all such weird practices. I feel lucky to be born after the scientific revolution when I read them: