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The Bushman Way of Tracking God * Bradford Keeney (2010)

Around the time I started reading Witzel‘s book about the origin of mythology I ran into a book about that original spirituality. According to Witzel all of current humanity stems from the ‘African Eve’ whose descendants left Africa some 64.000 years ago. Of course not all descendants left Africa. In short, a family tree started with the African Eve, much of humanity forms the leaves of this tree, some direct descendants are closer to the trunk. One such direct descendant form the Bushmen of the Kalahari. These Bushmen fear that their way of living will extinct soon after 64.000 years of history (diamonds have been found in their parts) so they were happy to find a Westerner who, on his own, found their original spirituality and the Bushmen themselves. Now this is all tantalizing of course. Bushmen spiritualy is nothing like what we call spirituality. They laugh about books, people sitting still trying to reach God, people who think that knowledge is what we should be after. Quite the contrary. Bushmen spirituality is about fun, games, absurdity and most of all: N|om. That pipe is one of these Bushmen clicking sounds (do you know the film “The Gods Must Be Crazy”? That is the very tribe where the author found his spiritual home.) and supposedly sounds something like “tsk”. N|om is the “non-subtle universal life-force” that connects men to God. N|om makes a person shake to get N|om you have to sing and dance. All this is described abundantly by the author. By climbing “ropes” one can reach “classrooms”. The Bushmen spirituality has no masters and their path is available for anyone and Keeney and the Bushmen like to make fun of other paths, so often actually that the stressing of the one true way becomes weary after a while. Keeney describes pratices and experiences that do make me wonder if the Bushmen do indeed represent a spirituality that goes back to the time of the African Eve. On the other hand, if it is indeed 64.000 years old, would it still ‘work’ (for the whole of humanity).
A book that makes me think for sure and it is interesting to see how the author goes from Louisiana black churches to the Kalahari to Japanese healers. Something different for sure.
2010 Atria Books, isbn 1582702578

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