Let’s toss out pretty much everything those old — and confused — anthropologists used to say about what animism is all about. Those ideas have gone musty in the fridge of Modernism.
Animism is so much more than the idea that animals have souls. Animism is an understanding — no — the experience of the world as alive.
We know the world is alive because people have relationships with its inhabitants. A mountain has moods, a dog is a member of the family, an old machine’s idiosyncrasies are tolerated because you’ve been through so much together.
Animism is not some kind of ‘primitive’ or inferior belief system. It is simultaneously new & dynamic and as old as humanity itself.
So let’s throw Modernism into the compost bin and cultivate our animistic tendencies in its stead. If that sounds drastic, if that sounds reactionary because you believe Modernism is all about progress, technology and wealth, well …
I can’t explain the real situation better than Marc Luyckx Ghisi has.
Although modernity thinks it is tolerant and universal, its epistemology, its very definition of the truth is extremely intolerant. Modernity has killed almost all other cultures and civilizations. Even further, it has convinced all other cultures that they were “underdeveloped” and thus ontologically inferior. It has, in many cases, destroyed the very history and memory of those cultures.
Modernism is a zombie philosophy inhabited by despair and the walking dead. The evidence is everywhere: record numbers of suicides, record numbers of addictions, record numbers of people prescribed antidepressants.
The alienation that walks hand in hand with Modernism causes human suffering because we are hard wired to seek out relationships with the world around us. Modernism diverts that impulse replacing real relationships with lies. We are bombarded with commercials that tell us we are all inadequate but there is an app or product for that — if you have enough money. You are what you buy or what you exploit instead of who you love. In fact people themselves are seen as commodities.
Happily, the seeds of animism are sprouting everywhere. A new subculture of people exist, we are growing in numbers and we are quietly changing the world.
Please join us in celebrating and discussing the experience of animism.
3 thoughts on “Welcome to Anima Monday”
Good luck with your new blog. 🙂
Isn’t it wonderful when people from diverse points of view come to a common understanding? John Paul II’s first encyclical warned of the human propensity “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption” Pope Francis built upon that foundation with a lovely inclusive welcome for all of us to join together to solve this planetary emergency. In LAUDATO SI’ he says:
“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: ‘Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation’. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”
The entire document is worth reading:
Yes, it is indeed wonderful when people of good will can put aside their differences when it comes to the common good. If only it happened more often.
Thanks for the quotes. I have a copy of Laudato Si but I haven’t got around to reading it yet!
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