Feel the need to engage more? Look and be moved. It will happen.
To understand much of the thinking of the old world, you have to look at the metaphysics they subscribed to. For them, metaphysics was physics, no difference.
Now there were two schools of general thought on the big picture around the world. One held that god remained present and continued to participate in the workings of the world, and in the other it didn’t. In a fringe school, and one that didn’t get very large until the modern era, god incorporated into the world so it was both in a sense present and not present. Irregardless, god never remained the single cosmic agent in the macrocosm/microcosm.
Death is one of the most powerful metaphysical and spiritual forces world wide. In fact, you can see the impact of any cultures view of death in the structure of their broader world view. Everything is defined by it, the ultimate black line.
Now when considering god or the divine in whatever form the culture conceived of it, agency was differently organized from belief system to system. In some, god had no hand in any evil. In others, god was the sole author of evil, but one way or another, death, disease and every suffering were seen as intelligent, or intelligently guided. Most of the spirits of disease and disaster were later seen as demons. All such agencies revolving around the exercise of the duty of death are classified reapers.
So they brought in shamans to exercise the spirits that brought sickness. Indeed, they did if that seemed possible. Failing that, the shaman was responsible for uncovering the source or agent of death and helping the tribe avoid it in the future. Breaking tribal taboos was often believed to lead to death, or had the potential.
It’s interesting how the word exercise is used today. I guess we’re still ‘exercising’ death? We are indeed, in newer and more virulent ways. (Exercise: to practice or exert.)
Humanity has always held a unique position in this world. Most creatures of nature and the spirit world occupy a specialized niche. It’s in humanity that the authority of any organism can be imitated, copied, or borrowed so to speak. We now call this ability science, but before it was just knowledge and skill, an art like any other, and both the thinking and practice of this ability had a much different quality than it does today.
I read a quote that someone said people should be well rounded. Specialization is for bugs. I didn’t necessarily agree with it. Specialization is for co-existence. The belief in human privilege has caused more grief than good.
There is a budding theory about matter and the origin of life which should illuminate today’s topic of Reapers rather well. Life is seen in this theory as an innate potential of matter and the inevitable outcome of energy dissipation. There is physics to back this up, especially at the molecular level, though it does leave some important traits unexplained as seems to be always the case. But to apply the theory to today’s topic, a reaper serves as an energy converter, both transferring and transforming energy from one state and location to another. They exist on the fringe of the life system as a sort of surge suppressor. When too much energy fills the life web, the infrastructure of matter living and otherwise, then should it fail to be bled off, everything would die.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.