The fetish of connectivity

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    Introduction

    When a person uses pen and paper to give form to his ideas, this can be understood as quite literally extending the machinery of mind out into the world that are themselves minimal material bases for important aspects of human thought and reason (Clark 2008 : xxvi). This is what Andy Clark writes in Supersizing the Mind , his most recent work on the extended mind thesis, which he formulated with fellow philosopher David Charmers more than a decade ago (1998). For Clark and Charmers and other proponents of an externalist model of human cogni-tion, much thinking amounts to an embodied or distributed mental process in which the human mind-brain is augmented by material artefacts or cognitive scaffolds, like note-books, mnemonic tools and religious talismans (see Clark and Chalmers 1998 ; Clark 2008 ; Hutchins 1995 ; Mithen 1996, Day 2004 ).

    Some years ago, this model of human cognition inspired me to write a paper on Shamanist Ontologies and Extended Cognition in Northern Mongolia for the volume Thinking Through Things (2007). My aims were interdisciplinary: I wanted to explore what seemed like an obvious theoretical connection between, on the one hand, the aforementioned writings on distributed cognition and, on the other, the anthropological literature on distributed person in Melanesia and beyond (Strathern 1988 ; Wagner 1991; Gell 1998 ). After all, as Charmers (2008: xiv) notes in a recent paper, it is natural to ask whether the extended mind thesis might itself be extended. What about extended desires, extended reasoning, extended perception, extended imagination, and extended emotions?. Talismans of Thought, as my article is called, was an attempt to argue in support of such a double extension of what might count as a distributed mind in a given cultural context. Apart from showing how certain Mongolian shamanic artefacts provide crucial external cognitive scaffolding that renders religious cognition computationally [p]ossible (Day 2004 : 113), I also wanted to show how these talismans allow for people to be constituted as specific kinds of persons through these things. People, I thus concluded, are not only thinking through things. They also come to be through them. (Pedersen 2007 : 162).

    However, this begs a question or indeed set of questions (of the sort that tend to come up with a few years of hindsight). For what happens in those situations in which people do not want to think through things? Surely, there are people out there in the world who do not want their

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    The fetish of connectivity Morten Axel Pedersen

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    1thoughts extended to things, and who spend a lot of energy avoiding their minds becoming distributed into the world. Further, even when artefacts are being used in religious practices, as is the case in many animist or shamanic contexts around the world, this is not always done simply with a view to enhancing peoples obligations towards, or enhancing their beliefs in, spiritual phenomena, but also in order to reduce their attachment to them.

    The fact that these kinds of questions are not high on the agenda of extended mind scholars suggests that they, like many social scientists, have fallen victim to what might be called the fetish of connectivity. The title of Clarks latest book is telling in this respect. For if the use of certain artefacts is posited to be all about supersizing the mind and therein give human cognition its distinctive power, character, and charm (Clark 2008 : 108), then it appears to be given beforehand that connections must be inherently Good Things: that the more the mind can extend itself into the world (without losing its integrated nature, including basic trust in its various tools of think-ing), the better it is. My aim in this chapter is to challenge the interpretive possibility of limitless-ness (Strathern 1996 : 531) that underwrites this fetish of connectivity. Although many anthropologists focus on practices that bring the cosmos into closer proximity with itself by facilitating ever less distance between subjects and objects, and ever more closeness between subjects, my aim in this chapter is to explore creative cuts that expose dormant cracks in the fabric of worlds by triggering capacities within persons and things for self-differentiation. Could it be that, by critically examining the fondness for connections and closeness that seem to be shared by so many phenomenologists, externalists and other students of relatedness, a new post-relational theoretical space could be laid bare? (Pedersen 2012 ).

    Based on a revisit to my ethnography on Northern Mongolian shamanism, I begin by showing that the magical gown worn by shamans while possessed by their spirit involves a labour of division that curtails the same spirits capacity for influencing both shamans and their clients outside ritual contexts. I then turn to the more specific question of creative cutting by showing how, in practices of wood chopping and other seemingly violent acts of material detachment, the world becomes relationally reorchestrated in particular ways. In doing so, I critically examine the impoverished relational ontology upon which the fetish of connectivity rests and, in the same process, also sketch the contours of a theoretical alternative that takes the labour of division seriously as a creative activity.

    Shamanism without shamans

    The Darhads, who numbered 21,558 individuals according to the 2010 national survey, are a Mongolian-speaking group of pastoralists, hunters and village dwellers who inhabit the far northwestern corner of Mongolias Hvsgl Province, in what is a highly remote, mountainous and forested region situated 1000 km away from the national capital of Ulaanbaatar and 200 km away from the provincial capital, Mrn. The Darhads originate from a mixture of clan group-ings, only some of whom were Mongolian in cultural and linguistic terms, whereas the rest were Tuvinian, Turkic and Tungus of origin (Badamhatan 1986 : 2425, 4163; Sandschejew 1930 ). Today, these clans ( ovog, yas ) are largely defunct in sociological and economical terms, although people still make reference to them, particularly in the context of possession rites and other shamanic contexts, as I describe below.

    It is no coincidence that Shishged Valley is the only region in Mongolia where Darhads are in a majority. For a period of nearly two hundred years, and possibly longer, the Shishged region constituted the main territory of the Darhad Ih Shav, a Buddhist ecclesiastical estate belonging to the office of the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, the leading reincarnation (or Living Buddha) of prerevolutionary Mongolias Lamaist church (Badamhatan 1986 : 2426; Bawden 1986 : 6880).

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    1 It was the workings of this estate that rendered the Darhads into an ethnic group of ecclesiastical subjects ( shabinar ) corresponding to a specific territory of land, and it was this ecclesiastical estate that served to firmly establish the Buddhist religion in the Shishged region (Pedersen 2011 : 115147). Thus, in addition to the submission of the shamanic institution to clan law (Hamayon 1994 : 83), Darhad shamans were also made subject to the Buddhist laws of an ecclesiastical estate. This did not happen without a fight. Darhad lore is full of narratives about the conflicts between Buddhist lamas and local shamans ( b ). Although the Buddhist church never succeeded in annihilating shamanism from Darhad traditions (as in many places elsewhere in Mongolia [Heissig 1980 ; Humphrey 1994 ]), the presence of pre-socialist Mongolias biggest Buddhist ecclesiastical estate in the Shishged did have the effect of pushing the shamans and their objects of worship further towards and into the taiga . Thus, the genius loci of most Darhad shamanic spirits ( ongod ) are today found in or around the edge of the taiga , whereas, on the other hand, its flat steppe zone is dominated by Buddhist (or Buddhist-influenced) spiritual entities, such as mountain spirits ( gazryn ezed ).

    After Mongolias communist-led revolution in 1921, and the death of the eighth and last Jebtsundamba Khutuktu in 1924, the Shishged region was made subject to a series of socialist reforms that steadily undermined the position of the Buddhist church. In 1938, as part of the communists final showdown with the Buddhist church, the Shishged regions monasteries were demolished, and the monks ( lamas ) were killed, imprisoned or otherwise immobilized. Darhad shamanism fared marginally better during socialism. Of course, like the other occult specialists who were active in those years, the shamans were forced to practice outside official contexts to avoid political repercussions from the authorities, repercussions that could range from public denouncement over the loss of social rights (like assess to high school or university for ones

    Figure 17.1 Shaman Tree ( bgiin mod ), site of ongod worship. Photograph by Morten Axel Pedersen

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    1children) to, in the more extreme instances, imprisonment or even (in the 1930s) execution. Still, shamanic ceremonies were performed in the secret ( nuutgai ) throughout the period, just as sha-mans were consulted for divinatory and other purposes that did not require full-blown rituals in which the shaman is possessed by shamanic spirits (Pedersen 2011 : 108112).

    From 1956 and onwards, the Shishgeds population was offered voluntary membership of two newly established collective farms ( negdel ) (and, from 1985, a state farm as well), and these socialist institutions eventually came to organize practically all aspects of political and eco-nomical life. In 198990, with the collapse of state communism, and with the subsequent intro-duction of a market economy and various democratic reforms, the institutional framework of Mongolias planned economy was wiped away (Bruun and Odgaard 1996 ; Rossabi 2005 ). During the early 1990s, most livestock and other collective assets from the former negdels were privatized and, faced with a nationwide economical crisis and a rapidly deteriorating infrastruc-ture, most Darhad households reverted to a substance economy based on nomadic pastoralism as well as a variety of supplementary economic activities, such as hunting and berry foraging (Pedersen 2011 : 2029).

    Darhad shamanism has been a topic of significant scholarship since the early twentieth cen-tury (Badamhatan 1986 , 15794; Dulam 1992 ; Diszegi 1961 , 1963 ; Prev 1999; Sandschejew 1930 , 4165). I was therefore more than a little disappointed, when I first began fieldwork in Northern Mongolia in the late 1990s, to hear people telling me that there were hardly any genuine Darhad shamans ( jinhene Darhad b ) left. Instead, as I was eventually to learn, the seminomadic community in which I conducted my fieldwork was full of half shamans ( hagas b ): a distinctly post-socialist cohort of men and women in their thirties, who, because of a shortage of shaman teachers ( b bagch ) caused by several generations of repressive state socialism, were stuck in the process of becoming shamans for lack of the necessary esoteric knowledge and sacred objects to complete their metamorphosis.

    The problem about these potential shamans, as one might refer to them, was that their pres-ence was perceived to signal a more general occult awakening in the community, whereby sha-manic spirits, which had largely left people alone during the state socialist era, had increasingly begun interfering in peoples lives with the advent of liberal democracy and the age of the market ( zah zeeliin ye ). Thus, people found themselves in the paradoxical situation in which, at the same time as the shamans had largely disappeared, the spirits had come back. Above all, it was the annoying and dangerous abundance of potential shamans in the community that sparked the fear that too many shamanic spirits were on the loose, and that too little knowledge and skill were available to rein in this occult excess.

    In fact, as I describe in more detail in my recent monograph Not Quite Shamans (Pedersen 2011 ), if there was one common thing that was on peoples minds all over Northern Mongolia in the late 1990s, it was how to establish a safe distance between themselves and the omnipresent spirits. With the advent of transition, people found themselves exposed to a violent intrusion of invisible spirit souls, energies and forces, which, for seventy years of socialism, had hovered only in the shadowy margins of self, household, community and nation (2011: 4753. As one Darhad man told me, it was as if all sorts of uninvited guests crashed the gates of the households hashaa (compound), forcing him and his family to engage with all sorts of spiritual entities that he had never quite believed ( itgeh ) in, let alone shown any real interest in knowing ( medeh ) about.

    Far from trying to establish more connections with the shamanic spirits, my Darhad Mongolian interlocutors seemed more concerned about how to best avoid them. For it was only by identifying ways of cutting, curtailing and severing a perceived overabundance of occult connections (as opposed to celebrating an imagined treasure of spiritual relatedness) that the

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    1 relentless flow of spirit metamorphoses and shamanic affects (including worries about the pres-ence of spirits) could be slowed down and, perhaps, managed. Yet, the paradox was that the people who alone were considered to be able to fulfil this role (namely the shamans) were not present in the community anymore.

    The labour of division

    All this begs a question: how do the genuine shamans (a handful of whom could be found in a neighbouring community 100 km to the north of my main field site) go about managing the spirits? What methods of spiritual detachment did they master that the not-so-genuine shamans lacked? As I also argued in my 2007 paper, the shamanic costume ( b huvtsas , also known as huyag , meaning armour) and the associated sacred paraphernalia are of crucial importance here. For although all the genuine shamans that I met in northern Mongolia in the late 1990s were in possession of shamanic gowns, the reason why the potential shamans were both too shamanic and not shamanic enough was clearly inseparable from their lacking ritual attires.

    In fact, possession of a shamanic costume always seems to have served as a key marker of authenticity and efficacy for Darhad shamans. During the heyday of Darhad shamanism around the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the shamanic costume apparently represented a material proof of clans acceptance of their shamans. The consecration rite of new shamans was considered vital for the continual well-being of the clan; the cost of the initiation (as well as the costume) was also incurred collectively by the clan members (Sandschejew 1930 , 35, 5057; Badamhatan 1986 , 18586; Pegg 2001 , 13037). Although the clans have stopped playing a cen-tral role in the social reproduction of Darhad communities, as also reflected in the composition of audiences at sances (who tend to come from all areas and segments of Mongolian society), it is still the norm that shamans receive their gowns and other sacra from members of local ritual communities, whether bilateral kin networks or non-cognate shaman teachers (Pedersen 2011 : 150156).

    However, possession of a gown is not only a material sign of the rituals communitys accep-tance of the shaman. It is also what enables the shaman to fully master the spirits by curtailing the shamans liaison with them to a restricted set of ritual sequences. As her indispensable armor, the gown protects the shaman by absorbing ( shingeh ) the souls ( sns ) of both people and spirits into its many bundles and layers ( salbagar ), so that they do not pierce ( tsoolnoh ) her body too deeply. At the same time, donning the gown also exposes the shaman to the potentially lethal risk of becoming lost in the world of the sprits and never returning to the world of humans. Unlike the ordinary gown ( deel ), which protectively encloses its wearer with a minimum of openings (Lacaze 2000 ), the gown (which is not worn with the otherwise ubiquitous sash [ bs ], and from whose baggy exterior multiple cotton knots, strings and flaps point in all directions) is a sort of hypersurface, which, far from patrolling the boundaries of the shaman, invites maximum inter-vention on her body.

    In that sense, the attire donned by the Darhad shaman during possession rituals simultane-ously invites and exorcises spiritual attention. For although it is true that the shaman is made able to enter the realm of the spirits by donning the gown (which is what the literature on shamanism usually focuses on), it is also true that she, ipso facto, also become able not to see the spirits (and not to be seen by them) by taking it off. This ability opposes to that of the half-shamans who, for lack of ways of blocking the paths ( gidel ) of the spirits, are exposed to them all the time, without being able to see them, let alone control them (Pedersen 2011 : 176180).

    Yet, make no mistake: this does not make the spirits less important in Darhad lives. In fact, the spirits seem to be made stronger, more durable and more distinctive because of the attempts by

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    1shamans and other to detach them. After all, were the shamanic cosmos not to be continually bounded off, the spirits might become half-spirits like the wannabe shamans without costumes, who are doomed to remain in a permanent state of metamorphosis. Instead of constituting durable entities with known origins and distinct names and personalities, like proper spirits (Humphrey 1996 ), for lack of magical calibration tools to apportion optimal distances between human and nonhuman worlds, the spirits might turn into ghosts ( heer ): ephemeral quasibeings too amorphous to even deserve a name. That is to say, the spirits need to be detached from the shamans to remain intact.

    On this analysis, connections (and more generally, relations) are not always considered good things (as in most work on distributed cognition, my own included), but are also annoying, bad or even downright dangerous. Indeed, in many places across the world, ranging from Melanesia over Mongolia to the Amazon, relations are conceived of an immanent feature of the world, as the stuff that everything is made of (Wagner 1973, 1981, 1986 ; Strathern 1988 , 2004 ; Viveiros de Castro 1998 ; Pedersen 2011 ; Empson 2011 ; Holbraad 2012 ). Whereas many anthropological studies of relatedness have focused on practices that, so to speak, bring the world into ever more proximity with itself by collapsing ever more distances between persons, or between persons and things, recent studies have instead highlighted practices that trigger latent potentials in persons and things for self-differentiation. Here, the cutting of connections is understood, not as a way of doing away with relations, but as a technique of doing something with relations by turning persons, things and worlds into something different from what they were before. In this sense, the recent focus on relations that separate (Strathern 1988 ) within anthropology amounts to a widening of the concept of the relation to encompass also engagements (like antagonisms and conflicts), which cannot meaningfully be described as connections, and certainly not in the fetishized sense criticized in the introduction to this article (see also Pedersen 2012 ).

    Figure 17.2 Shamanic drum with characteristic bundle of ceremonial silk scarfs ( hadag ) attached. Photograph by Morten Axel Pedersen

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    1 Once again, it should be emphasized that I do not mean to say that this cutting of connec-tions is less relational than the seemingly more peaceful art of making connections. What it does mean is that we as ethnographers need to take seriously that the world is full of people who are making a social quality of engaged separation (Stasch 2003 : 325; see also Candea 2010 ), and who, for this reason, invest a considerable amount of energy into what might, to coin a term, be called the labour of division. Thus understood, the costume worn by the Darhad shamans does not reduce the world into a less complex place. Rather, such artefacts are fine-grained relational tools applied to the cosmos to redistribute its complexities and its uncertainties along specific trajectories of change and transformation, which ideally serve the interest of the shaman as well as her clients.

    Creative cutting

    Let us now try to theorize further what relations that separate do. To begin with, it may be noted that in Mongolian shamanism (as indeed in many Amerindian shamanic traditions [Turner 2009 , Viveiros de Castro 2007 ]), the forms of things are considered to be alive, to be rather than to have force; namely, the occult capacity to compel the cosmos to orchestrate itself in a particular manner. Thus, shamanic forms are not mental schema through which some structure of order or meaning is imposed on an empty tabula of social and material content, but immanent features of the cosmos itself, which must be continually reapportioned for it to assume its right shape, and for human and nonhuman lives to unfold at a suitable pace (Willerslev and Pedersen 2010 ; Pedersen 2011 ).

    But, if forms are not about the imposition of shape on shapeless matter, what then is the nature of creativity: how are new things brought about? It is here relevant to consider Ingolds ( 2007 ) work on lines and associated practices like drawing and writing, in which he offers an alternative to recent theories of networks. The problem with the network imaginaries of scholars like Latour, Ingold suggests, is that the nature of lines is presented as a join[ing of] dots. They are connectors. However, the lines [I study] form a meshwork of interwoven trails rather than a network of intersecting routes along which life is lived (2007: 81). For the same reason, Ingold ( 2010 : 92) convincingly argues, creativity is not about imposing preconceived forms on inert matter [but about] intervening in the fields of force and currents of material wherein forms are generated. Ingold himself offers an illustrative example of what such a cocreation of new forms out of other forms might involve, namely the skill of the seasoned woodsman, who,

    brings down the axe so that its blade enters the grain and follows a line already incorpo-rated into the timber through its previous history of growth, when it was part of a living tree. The carpenter is one who fashions (Sanskrit, taksati ) not [through the] imposi[tion] of form on pliant substance but the slicing and binding of fibrous material.

    (Ingold, 2010 : 92)

    This is a compelling phenomenology of the creativity of (wood)cutting. Indeed, when reading Ingold, one is left with the impression of a seasoned woodsman; of someone who is himself very familiar with the skilled material practice of reading creativity forwards in a generative move-ment that is at once itinerant, improvisatory and rhythmic (Ingold 2010 ). But what about those people of whom the world has more than its share: people like myself and a few (mostly female) of my informants who know how to prepare firewood without chopping their fingers off, but who have little or no capacity for carpentry proper? Presumably, what such persons do also amounts to a certain kind of skilled woodsmanship, namely the creation of new forms through acts of chopping and splitting.

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    1 Not surprisingly, people spend a lot of time preparing firewood in Northern Mongolia, and they are very good at it. Yet, the many cold afternoons that I spent with the male members of my host household splitting wood at their winter residence was never about slicing and binding of fibrous material into new shapes, like the recognized woodsmen ( modchin ) were recognized to do. Rather, the skill of splitting firewood involved using our hands and our eyes to locate the best cracks in the surface and gaps in the texture of the wood at which we could apply our skill of chopping. The same can be said for many other Darhads. They are undoubtedly skilled woods-men ( modchin ); yet, for most of them, this skill does not involve connecting wood together to bind it into new forms, but in revealing hidden fissures buried within the firewood itself. In that sense, the skill of creative cutting may be said to involve the ability to go through the crack (Deleuze 1990 ) to expose otherwise hidden fault lines within the texture of things by eliciting, exposing and expanding gaps and voids that are, so to speak, immanent to the world as such.

    In many ways, this point is already anticipated in Ingolds theory about creativity as the elici-tation of forms and lines of flight that are already immanent to the worlds ongoing autocreation.The one thing that my focus on creative cutting as a distinct variety of what I have called the labour of division might add to Ingolds argument is my idea that crude and violent practices of cutting amount to a distinct mode of creativity, also without any accompanying binding. There is, I suggest, an entire dimension of forgotten form-making waiting to be explored by anthropologists: the dark side of creativity. This largely ignored kind of creativity (Leach 2004 ) comprises those skilled practices that involve detaching connections through different practices of cutting, as opposed to affirming connections through different practices of binding. Thus, creative cutting (no matter whether it involves the esoteric art of cutting the shamanic spirits down to size [but without for that reason severing all relation to them] or the rather mundane

    Figure 17.3 Preparing firewood for the winter. Yaks and sarlag (cow and yak crossbreed) are being used to transport logs from the forest to the village. Photograph by Morten Axel Pedersen

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    1 skill of chopping tree logs into manageable lumps of firewood [without making them splinter into too many pieces]) may be defined as the fundamentally transformational and creative pro-cess of cracking open hidden fissures buried deep inside the interiority of things, which are, so to speak, patiently waiting to be brought out in the open by the gifted relational cutter.

    Returning now to the dual role performed by the Darhad shamanic gown by simultaneously inviting and exorcising spiritual attention, I suggest that this ongoing calibration of spiritual relatedness may be conceptualized as a form of creative cutting: essentially, the shamans gown works like an occult axe that chops, cuts and slices the shamanic cosmos into a pile or heap of ontologically distinct logs of spirits. To substantiate this point, it is relevant to consider the work of the feminist post-humanist philosopher Karen Barad, notably her concept of intra-action:

    The notion of intra-action (in contrast to the usual interaction, which presumes the prior existence of independent entities/relata) represents a profound conceptual shift. A specific intra-action (involving a specific material configuration ) enacts an agential cut (in contrast to the Cartesian cut an inherent distinction between subject and object) effecting a separation between subject and object. In other words, relata do not preexist relations; rather, relata-within-phenomena emerge through specific intra-actions. Crucially then, intra-actions enact agential separability the local condition of exteriority-within-phenomena.

    (Barad 2003 : 815; emphases omitted)

    With Barads concept of intra-action in mind, we may think of Darhad Mongolian shamanic artefacts as intrafaces. Unlike the more well-known inter faces, which serve to bring things into closer contact with one another by establishing a bridge between realms that would otherwise be less connected (or perhaps not be connected at all), intra faces like the shamanic gown work by outstretching things and realms that might otherwise become too close (if not collapse into one). In that sense, the shamanic gown emerges as a technology of optimal (dis)connection, which helps to maintain a necessary and strategic distance between people and otherwise omni-present but invisible spirit entities (cf. Willerslev and Pedersen 2010 ). Because the spirits are always already (virtually) related to people before they even meet them in the form of an imma-nent potential for misfortune and luck, my Darhad interlocutors (and the shamans in particular) were constantly striving to identify procedures for keeping this otherwise infinite totality of potential spiritual relatedness at bay. Thus, in Northern Mongolia, talismans are used, not only as magical interfaces that serve to expand the power and the reach of the shamanic spirits, but also as magical intrafaces that serve to cut the spirits down to a manegable size and reach.

    Conclusion

    What I have argued in this chapter flies in the face of the fetish of connectivity and its unsub-stantiated insistence on the absolute moral, epistemological and ontological superiority of close-ness and connections in human and nonhuman lives. Still, in making my case against the fetish of connectivity, I have not meant to say that relational complexity is in any sense being reduced in processes of cutting connections. Far from being a way of making the world a simpler, less relational place, the cutting of connections is, or can be, a subtle art, which makes the world complex in new and sometimes surprising ways. Thus, as we have seen, there are many different kinds of relations to be found, and still more ways of doing and accomplishing things by means of them and their transformation, one of which is the material practice that I have referred to as creative or intra-active cutting. Clearly, in order to study ethnographically such practices of

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    1intra-active cutting or engaged detachment, anthropology needs to engage in what might be called a phenomenology of distance: a return to the dark side of things as they are.

    Although it is undeniably the case that Mongolias shamanic talismans are sort of cognitive scaffolds that help people to entertain religious ideas that they would otherwise not be able to think (or at least find it highly difficult to think [cf. Day 2004 ; Pedersen 2007 ]), it is also true that these artefacts are imbued with the obverse capacity of aiding people not to think about the spirits all the time. As well as supersizing the mind (Clark 2008 ), by extending peoples cognitive apparatus, one could argue that the shamanic gown curtails the reach of shamanic thoughts by downsizing peoples minds. In fact, might this be the role, or one of the roles, of many religious artefacts across the world? Rather than being instruments for connecting with occult realms that are otherwise too distant, magical objects might in many situations serve as cutting tools by which optimal distances are calibrated between humans and nonhuman intrafaces. This certainly is the case with the magical paraphernalia used by Darhad shamans, which, far from being talis-mans of thought (as I argued in my 2007 paper), are also anti-talismans by which the spirits cannot be thought. Unthinking things, as it were.

    Acknowledgements

    I thank the organizers of and the participants in the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change workshop Materialising the Subject: phenomenological and post-ANT objects in the social sciences held at the Manchester Museum, 2627 February 2009. In particular, I am grate-ful to my two co-panellists, Tim Ingold and Christina Toren, as well as the editors of this volume, especially Elizabeth Silva, for their challenging comments and questions about my chapter.

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