Ate, Shamanism, and Violent Films


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One of the many interesting things that I have found in E.R. Dodds’ The Greeks and the Irrational, is the concept of ate or some manifestation of divine wrath. One of the manifestations of ate is in madness, rage, and anger with which a victim is inflicted.

This sudden seizure of one with madness was also linked to shamanistic rituals in which divine madness was instilled in the subject.

This experience of rage as the effect of shamanistic ritual may have a connection with the deterioration in not only sexual continence but also control of the irascible appetite that is produce by the watching of movies.

While Catholics generally give often gruesome violence a pass when choosing films, the effect of such violence on even a natural level has a debilitating and even traumatizing effect.

Combined with the trance-like state in which the audience glued to a screen, this experience of realistic, graphic violence could have a shamanistic or theurgic magical effect of shocking the pneuma or spirit of the audience and may even induce demonic oppression or possession that would inspire, terror, rage, depression and other manifestations of what the Greeks would call ate.

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