By Robert R. Desjarlais
Body and Emotion is a examine of the connection among tradition and emotional misery, an exam of the cultural forces that impression, make experience of, and heal serious discomfort and malaise. which will examine this courting, Robert R. Desjarlais served as an apprentice healer one of the Yolmo Sherpa, a Tibetan Buddhist those who stay within the Helambu sector of north-central Nepal.
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Extra info for Body and Emotion: The Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in the Nepal Himalayas
How can we best render this knowledge to others ? "69 Yet my sense is that empathy, which is at work, arises from a visceral engagement with symbolic form. If this is so, how can a storyteller's words assist in the act of "vicarious introspection" (as Kohut defines the process) ? 70 Whatever the answers ( and novelists certainly have their own), the ethnographic entails special constraints. Empathy rides on the faith that the grounds of experience between two people are similar, such that we can "know'' what another is feeling based on what we ourselves would feel in that situation.
My hope is that the various strands of this tale, diverse on the page, will come together in the body of the reader. As with all ethnographies, the present story is thus, at best, a transla tion of-or conversation with-native voices. More "map" than "terri- Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads 33 tory,"62 it engages a geography that represents the hilly terrain of Yolmo experience. "63 Yet as the concerns of this book have more to do with the somatic sensibilities of certain Yolmo wa, a study of those sensibilities might require a different method, a method that seeks to convey something of the felt quality and "imaginative force" ofYolmo lives.
There is also the fear that if others know too much, they may take advantage of this knowledge (through witchcraft, business affairs, etc. ) . I therefore found many of the usual inroads to anthropological understanding (life histories, clinical data, residence patterns, personal narratives) to be hin dered by local constraints on social communication. I was restricted, much like Yolmo wa, to glimpses through my neighbors' "windows" to interpret the shadowplay within. How can an anthropologist transcend the limits to social knowledge and so gain insight into the "unknowable"?