The last shaman documentary and the movie into the wild intersect in a very important area for me; Anger. Especially the anger towards the authoritarian and oppressive father causes both boys to turn towards a common goal; The common goal of both male characters is to get away from father, family and even everyone. One prefers to go to Alaska, the other to Peru and deep into the Amazon.
In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.Jiddu Krishnamurti
There is an important difference that separates the two young men from each other.
As described in the book into the wild, Christopher does not think that he is psychologically ill, and aims to be liberated, not healed, to combat the situation he is in.
The Last Shaman – Review
In The last shaman documentary, there is a young man who admits that he is sick and tries to get better; James.
What impressed me the most about these two men is their relationship with their father. They feel a deep anger towards their father. This anger increases their anger towards themselves and other people.
The compassion, sincerity and love that Christopher has for other people in Into the wild is quite surprising. In fact, Christopher, who wants to get away from all people and be free and experience absolute happiness, touches other people’s lives with love in his journey to achieve this.
However, in The last shaman documentary, James cannot feel the feeling of loving and being loved. He complains that he is apathetic and this pushes him into a deep depression and he wants to take advantage of all the possibilities of modern medicine and psychiatry for a long time to get out of this chronic depression.
After being admitted to a mental hospital, he is receiving electro-shock treatment of his own accord. Psychiatrists prescribe medications and even take cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapies. However, James thinks that none of these psychological treatment methods work for him, and with suicidal thoughts, he refuses all treatments and goes to Peru.
At this point, we learn that, according to James, he felt love and happiness in childhood, but lost these feelings over time. That’s exactly what James complains about. He complains that he can’t feel, that he has no ambition, no passion for life, and that even when he sees a beautiful woman, he feels nothing.
Towards the middle of the documentary, James explains why. He especially talks about his father trying to raise him with a focus on success. Competitive work and the pressure he feels are extremely stressful. For all these reasons, especially James is quite angry with his father. And he is helpless in the face of this anger.
The anger that boys feel towards their fathers is very common all over the world. If this anger is uncontrollable, it can cause serious tantrums. Most men reflect the attention and love they did not receive from their father as a negative emotion to their children in the future. Many men struggle with their father’s anger issue, but few overcome it completely.
In the documentary, James seeks help from shamans in Peru to overcome his illness, but many shamans use a mixture of herbal liquids called ayahuasca for commercial purposes. When James realizes this, he moves into the Amazon and stays with a local tribe for about 5 months. In this tribe, a local shaman named Pepe helps him. Pepe does this not to make money like other shamans, but to help people, and a teacher-student relationship develops between him and James.
James, who does what Pepe says, is fed only 5 different plants and fish for 4 months. Cleansing his body of drugs and animal foods, James also observes life within the tribe. He sees that the children of the tribe are raised in love and freedom, away from oppression, and it is good for him to observe this lifestyle.
Having an uninformed breakup with Pepe, James thinks it’s time to go home after 5 months. Ayahuasca, which shamans describe as a sacred medicine, is just a tool for James. Although he says that he has not fully recovered, James tries to establish a stronger communication with his mother and father, feeling that the life energy and the feeling of love are there again. Seeing James smile at the end of the documentary gives the audience some relief.