However, the Enlightenment also saw the romanticization of some aspects of folklore, particularly the spirits, spells, and sympathetic magic
In Charles Taylor's terms, the modern self is 'buffered', yet traumatic events puncture that protective sphere and return us instantly to the pre-modern self which is 'porous', and thus open to all kinds of belief in occult transmissions and sympathetic magic
. Discussions of pathography typically account for the rise of the genre as a counter-reaction to the birth of the clinic--of technological medicine and the patient as a disarticulated vector of disease.
(10) Taussig himself returns to late-nineteenth-century anthropological theory, citing James George Frazer's discussion of sympathetic magic
in The Golden Bough: In keeping with the "Law of Similarity," one of the fundamental principles of sympathetic magic
, the "magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it" (qtd.
In a third instance of sympathetic magic
, this time from stories Campanella had heard from the Puglia region, a man stung by a tarantula had begun to "dance wildly." Such wild gyrations and consequent heavy sweating could not drive the offending spirits from the man's body.
Even barring the collective analogy of the series to a working brain configured as so many "band-limited" signals, it readily lends itself to being understood as a type of reverse engineering of memory along the lines of sympathetic magic
. As with Plato's Allegory of the Cave, we easily see how one might mistake nostalgic shadows for the real deal.
Although the universe we live in may be characterized by a "dearth of meaning and lack of discernible purpose," we build and arrange collections of books as if they could represent a universal order, or will one into being as if by sympathetic magic
In their study of the possible religious significance of Paleolithic cave paintings, Jean Clottes and David Lewis-Williams critique earlier efforts to understand ur-religion as sympathetic magic
, totemism, structuralism, and shamanism, and opt for the last, emphasizing that the significance of the cave art is not the art itself, but the act of producing it.
The proposed "conceptual conductivity" between image and environment mirrored the sympathetic magic
percolating in Schorr's photographs, as viewers inadvertently piggyback on the artist's own desire.
For example, in his highly theoretical essay, "Roots in African Drama and Theatre," de Graft describes voodoo as a ritual designed to generate "sympathetic magic
." There is a European equivalent to this concept--it is what Stanislavsky called "method." American stage actors train for years, using objectives, sense memory, transformation and many other exercises to achieve what de Graft posits as magically available.
Jan Baptista van Helmont's prosecution by ecclesiastical authorities for his unorthodox opinions regarding sympathetic magic
and magnetism, and his tendency to ground the miraculous in the natural.
(11) In these works, Picasso seems to be evoking the principles of sympathetic magic
as defined by Frazer in The Golden Bough: 'private magical rites and incantations practiced for the benefit or injury of individuals...the magical virtue of these sharp things enters [the] body and causes those acute pains which the ignorant European puts down to rheumatism.'(12)
In Sympathetic Magic
(1997)--arguably his most ambitious, and certainly his most underrated, play--Wilson investigated cosmic concerns by assembling a couple of astronomers and an anthropologist with a sculptor and a priest, providing each with an individual voice.