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Observations placeholder

Reichel-Dolmatoff – Amazonian Cosmos - Wisdom vs knowledge



Type of Spiritual Experience


The difference between wisdom and knowledge.

Knowledge is memory based and can be wrong.

Wisdom comes from spiritual experience.

Wisdom needs the symbol system for comprehension

A description of the experience

Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff – Amazonian Cosmos

Mahsiri is to know, and mahse is a person, a thinking being, who sees and hears the echo and thus knows. A mahse is he [she] who knows the symbolism of things, objects, acts, events, and who has the capacity to establish chains of symbolic associations, which become more and more abstract. A mahse is one who can reduce an abstract concept to its simplest symbolic expression.

The ability of conceiving resides in the ka'i.  The ka'i permits man to reflect; man comes to "stabilize" his thoughts and emotions by reflecting. This cognitive act is designated as pesi k'ranyeari, a term derived from peri/to hear, to understand, k'rapiri/to step, and nyeari/to seize. Mentally, this expression is accompanied by a fixed image: a man standing upright, firmly planted on the ground as a cosmic axis, stepping firmly.

Mere understanding, pesi turage (derived from tulari/force) is something very different because it only refers to intellectual agility, good memory, and eloquence, but "to understand-step-seize" embraces a more profound dimension because it leads to wisdom and not simply to knowledge.

To achieve this state of reflection, of "stabilization" and equilibrium, is the ideal of a Desana man ….. But in order to achieve this goal it is necessary to hear the echo of things; in other words, it is necessary to know the ramifications of the symbolic system and to be able to reduce them to their elemental bases.

The source of the experience

South American shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Celestial pole

Science Items

Symbol system

Activities and commonsteps