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[identity profile] hairyears.livejournal.com 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.

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