||Tue 2015-08-11 06:58|
|Another alternative: the Nam-Shub of Enki, in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.|
Here, the conceptual basis of a 'spell' is that the Sumerians were aware of a foundational language (an Ur-language, if you will) or an 'Assembly Code' layer of cognition which can be compiled or scripted from repetitive phrases and recursive narratives uttered (or heard) in the correct tones and rhythm.
A properly constructed Nam-Shub programs the individual: their loyalty, or motivation, or their actions in surprisingly complex directions for agricultural labour. It is binding on the subject - or subjects, a labour gang or an entire village - and it may be permanent; or it may require reinforcement in a daily chant led by the village priest.