A third opinion takes psychological motivation much further into the realm of tribal

  • A third opinion takes psychological motivation much further into the realm of tribal ceremonies and mystery: the belief that certain animals assumed mythical significance as ancient ancestors or protectors of a given tribe or clan. Two types of images substantiate this theory: the strange, indecipherable geometric shapes that appear near some animals, and the few drawings of men. Wherever men appear they are crudely drawn and their bodies are elongated and rigid. Some men are in a prone position and some have bird or animal heads. Advocates for this opinion point to reports from people who have experienced a trance state, a highly suggestive state of low consciousness between waking and sleeping. Uniformly, these people experienced weightlessness and the sensation that their bodies were being stretched lengthwise. Advocates also point to people who believe that the forces of nature are inhabited by spirits, particularly shamans* who believe that an animal’s spirit and energy is transferred to them while in a trance. One Lascaux narrative picture, which shows a man with a birdlike head and a wounded animal, would seem to lend credence to this third opinion, but there is still much that remains unexplained. For example, where is the proof that the man in the picture is a shaman? He could as easily be a hunter wearing a headmask. Many tribal hunters, including some Native Americans, camouflaged themselves by wearing animal heads and hides.

    According to the paragraph, why do some scholars refer to a trance state to help understand the cave paintings?

    Answer (score 79+):
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