Talking to the Shaman Within: Musings on Hunting iUniverse (2014) 436 p.
Everything about hunting leads inexorably to death; the challenge for all hunters is how to justify the kill. But the hunter’s emotional response to the kill is immensely complex. Hunters respect—and even love—the animals they kill. Talking to the Shaman Within: Musings on Hunting addresses this paradox head-on, dissecting the emotional and psychological response of the hunter to his quarry and, more broadly, his surroundings. The climax of the chase brings the hunter closer to realizing the “nature intelligence” that modern civilization has suppressed. Through his investigation of the “instinct” that lies beneath the urge to hunt, author Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries reveals something basic and fundamental about human behavior. The hunting instinct is hardwired into the human psyche, and, for all our sophistication and urbanization, it exerts a powerful influence over the way we conduct our lives even to this day. Talking to the Shaman Within draws on depictions of hunting in art and literature throughout the ages exploring changing trends in human social norms with frequent reference to literature, art, film, television, and music. It unites a dispassionate academic hypothesis with an engaging and colourful narrative into which Kets de Vries weaves stories from his own life—as both an academic and a hunter.