new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

animism instead of alien nation, recovering the natural mind  RSS feed

 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
some reading, and food for thought on animism.
(apologies if this isnt the best forum, it was the best fit i could find- feel free to move it or whatever)

while this may seem less significant to many, to me this is major and something i think about a lot.
the ideological underpinnings of animism- which are community based and INCLUSIVE....
and the life ways of tribal cultures, neo pagans.
and its replacement by force with the memes of colonialism, how badly this has affected us all, and how much healing there needs to be....

so some sharing, for anyone else who might be interested in such, some large snippets from an excellent piece of writing on this subject that i agree with....
mostly...although i think this author might enjoy understanding about permaculture...and find some of the statements too extreme, i think its more possible than he does...and thees some that i dont totally agree with...still the main points he makes here- i agree with...

source:
http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/animism.html

Alienation
It is one of the distinctive features of Western contemporary life that, while pleasures are widely available (albeit at a price), there is almost universally a sense of alienation. Alienation is the feeling that life is 'meaningless', that we do not belong in the world.

But alienation is not an inevitable part of the human condition: some people feel at one with the world. This perspective is a consequence of the animistic way of thinking which is shared by children and hunter-gatherers. Animism considers all significant entities to have 'minds', to be 'alive', to be sentient agents. The animistic thinker inhabits a unified world populated by personal powers including not just other human beings, but also important animals and plants, and significant aspects of physical landscape. Humans belong in this world because it is a web of social relationships.

We were all animistic children once, and for most of human evolutionary history would have grown into animistic adults. Animism is therefore spontaneous, the 'natural' way of thinking for humans, and it requires sustained, prolonged and pervasive socialization to 'overwrite' animistic thinking with the rationalistic objectivity typical of the modern world. It is learned objectivity that creates alienation - humans are no longer embedded in a world of social relations but become estranged, adrift in a world of indifferent things.

But objectivity is superficial: animism remains the basic underlying mode of human thinking, and animism can be recovered. When we are removed from the rational systems of civilisation, when learned patterns of socialised behaviour are stripped-away, then animistic thinking can re-emerge and a sense of belonging in the world may return.


Animism defined
Animism is not a religious or philosophical doctrine, neither is it an ‘error’ made by people too young or too primitive to know better - animism is nothing less than the fundamental mode by which human consciousness regards the world. Consciousness just is animistic. And this perspective is a consequence of human evolutionary history.

Humans evolved sophisticated brain mechanisms for dealing with the complex social situations that formed a dominant selection pressure throughout primate evolutionary history; and in animistic thinking these social mechanisms are flexibly applied to interpret complex aspects of the world in general. Information on animals, plants and landscape are fed-into a system that codes them into social entities with social motivations, and models their behaviour in social terms.
"
[The hunter gatherer child] learns that many animals have to be given water when they are killed to ensure that some of their number will be willing to die again when she and her family need food. She discovers that animals and humans must be at peace with one another. [Her language] has no words for ‘vermin’ or ‘weed’. There is no demarcation between the life of an animal and that of a human - no word for ‘it’… Bit by bit she will come to understand that the world around her is shared both among people themselves and between people and the other creatures that belong here.
"

Human consciousness is therefore essentially a social intelligence, designed by natural selection for dealing with people, but accidentally highly applicable to understanding, predicting and controlling a wide range of phenomena. Unless suppressed during upbringing, this way of looking at the world is spontaneously generalised beyond the social sphere, so the significant world is seen as composed of 'agents', having dispositions, motivations and intentions. Humans see the world through social spectacles.

Because the natural world is seen as sentient, for an animistic thinker significant events don’t ‘just happen’ - like inert billiard balls bouncing-off one another - instead events occur because some entity wants them to occur. For the animist, every significant event is intentional, every significant event has personal implications. So a dog may be ‘kind’, a tree ‘wise’, a sky ‘cheerful’, a landscape ‘threatening’ - and such categorisations are as individual, flexible and variable as categorisations of people would be.

This is an extremely effective way of dealing with the natural world under the conditions of hunter-gatherer societies. For instance, each species of animal has its own nature, each member of a species its own character, knowledge of which enables behaviour to be predicted with considerable precision in real world situations. Even with the advantages of scientific biology, informed anthropomorphism still remains the best system for understanding, predicting and manipulating animal behaviour - especially among the social mammals that are so important to hunters.

Hunter-gatherer knowledge is dependent on the most intimate possible connection with the world and with the creatures that live in it. The possibility of transformation is a metaphor for complete knowledge: the hunter and his prey move so close to one another that they cross-over, the one becoming the other.

...
A relationship with the world

Everything about the hunter-gatherer system is founded on the conviction that home is already Eden.

Animistic thinkers are at home in the world. Children and hunter-gatherers are not necessarily happy, of course - but they have a relationship with the world: they are not alienated. Animists are watched over, controlled, protected, and also punished, by the sentient powers that constitute the world.

This land to which [an Inuit baby] belongs is the subject of many kinds of stories…history, geography, personal adventure and mysteries intertwine. There are misadventures, murder and starvation, to be sure, but spiritual powers and every kind of humour mean that even the worst is part of being in the best possible place, in one’s own land…

Although there are hostile powers, the relationship of each individual to the world is that of child and parent. The world is a ‘giving environment’ - fundamentally benign because it keeps us alive. This is a beneficent ‘cosmic economy’ which cannot be controlled, planned or significantly shaped.

The people depend on the animals, and the animals allow themselves to be killed. An animal’s agreement to become food is secured through the respect that hunters and their families show to the land in general and the animals in particular. […]

Rather than seeking to change the world, hunter-gatherers know it. They also care for it, showing respect and paying attention to its well-being. […] They do not make any intensive efforts to reshape their environment. They rely, instead, on knowing how to find, use and sustain that which is already there.

By contrast, since the invention of farming, modern life has become a state of siege, a small gang of family and allies against a mass of hostile strangers, an island of order surrounded by overwhelming forces of chaos - planning is essential, yet most plans will fail. The world is not an unconditionally nurturing parent but must be coerced into producing the necessities of life, survival is a hard bargain, failure an ever present threat. For the farmer, the natural world is neither unchangeable nor ‘giving’ - it is raw material for the production of food and other necessities and luxuries. Production entails prolonged, dull, repetitive tasks to force nature into new and different shapes.

The conditions of [the] archetypal farm are harsh. This is not Eden but the curse of exile: only by the sweat of his brow does the man provide food for his family. Not only the man, of course; the woman, too, must work all and every day. The children are the labourers who will ease the burden of the cursed land.

The same forest that is a nurturing parent for the hunter-gatherer, becomes for the farmer a perpetual threat of savage encroachment. The world consist of objects to be manipulated:

The trees are felled, their root are hauled from the ground, stones are picked from the earth, invading wild plants and shrubs are rooted out again and again.. the soil will grow grass and vegetables only if a great deal else is “kept under control”, which means excluded or destroyed. Not only rival plant life, but also wild creatures that harm seeds, seedlings, buds or fruits, or eat the domestic animals… Weeds and vermin. These are the agents of wild nature that have to be walled out, scared off or killed.

And ‘the farmer’ stands for the modern human condition - the life of modern man is ‘farming’ the whole world.
The serious business of survival now depends absolutely on a shift to objectification, control, imposed order. Animism must be denigrated, written-over and suppressed.

The distinction between respect and control is of immense importance to an understanding of how agriculturalists approach hunter-gatherers. The skills of farmers are centred not on their inner relationship to the world but their ability to change it. Technical and intellectual systems are developed to achieve and maintain this as completely as possible. Farmers carry with them systems of control as well as crucial seeds and livestock. These systems constitute ways of thinking as well as bodies of information. .. the achievement of abstraction and the project of control are related.


Recovering animism
Mass alienation is no accident but an inevitable consequence of the kind of society we inhabit. Animism is grossly maladaptive for a complex society that depends on objective information and rational planning. Alienation is therefore necessary to the generation and maintenance of our world, and returning to a thoroughgoing, society-wide animism would be impossible without a return to hunter-gatherer lifeways.

The most probable human future entails more complexity, more planning, more control, and more alienation. But if a shared and public animism is ruled-out, the situation for individuals is different. There may be niches for more-or-less wholly animistic individuals even in modern society, and there certainly are niches for animistic thinking within many ordinary people’s lives. The problem is that, for a modern adult, recovery of animistic thinking entails undoing the effects of an exceptionally thorough and prolonged process of socialisation that has buried animism under a vast superstructure of repressions. Modern adults cannot necessarily recover their animistic thoughts at will, even temporarily.

Methods used to help in the recovery of animistic modes of thinking have been known since the Romantic era. They essentially involve detachment from the social systems that tend to maintain objectivity and rationality. For example, solitude (away from people), leisure (away from the economy) and unstructured time (as contrasted with technologically-measured time). Direct contact with nature is another classic strategy. Under such conditions of societal detachment there tends to be a spontaneous resurgence of animistic thinking - and those who can achieve detachment, often strive to do so. But clearly detachment is not possible for everyone, nor is it always effective. Some people find that it takes many clear days of vacation - or even longer - before they can ‘switch off’ their organised minds, and begin to live in the here-and-now.

.....

Shamans and Neo-shamanism
Shamans are known as the ‘priests’ of hunter-gatherer animistic ‘religions’ - and shamans learn how to make use of altered states of consciousness induced by sleep, hypnotic trances, drumming, dancing, rattling, disease and intoxication. Shamans ‘dream’, they remember their dreams, and they interpret their dreams.

Dreaming is the mind’s way of combining and using more information than the conscious mind can hold. It allows memory and intuition and facts to intermingle. […] Shamanism prepares the brain to work at its fullest, widest potential.

Even without shamanic practices, hunter-gatherer animistic thinking moves freely across the porous boundaries between humans, animals, plants and landscape. Shamanistic dreaming further loosens the mental associations, making porous the boundaries of space and time - allowing the shaman to go on ‘journeys’ in search of useful knowledge.

The dreamer crosses the boundary between human and animals… and may also move through the boundaries of time… for hunters the dream experience is real. The events of the dream are relied upon as a guide…
...

The modern practitioners of revivalist ‘Neo-shamanism’ use similar consciousness-altering techniques to traditional shamans, but the implicit purpose and function is different. Modern people are alienated, they are not animistic thinkers but instead objective-thinkers, and dreams are not a reliable form of decision-making in the modern world. Therefore shamanistic dreaming has a different effect in the modern context.
...
There are eruptions of the hunter-gatherer in the [modern] urban setting… arenas in which a rival mind seeks expression and longs for its particular forms of freedom […] The hunter-gatherers in the heartland of the exiles… are opponents of the dominant order. They oppose hierarchy and challenge the need to control other people and the land itself. Consciously or not, they are radicals in their lives.

At the least, they experience the tension in themselves that comes from a longing not to plan and not to acquiesce in plans; at most they use a mixture of knowledge and dreams to express their vision. It is artists, speculative scientists and those whose journeys in life depend on not quite knowing their destination who are close to hunter-gatherers; who rely upon the hunter gatherer-mind.

In an ever more rational and objective public world it would be ironic, although not altogether surprising, if most people privately practised some version of Neo-shamanism in order to induce a sense of belonging. Recovered animism could become the personal religion of the future.


Notes: All quotations are from The other side of Eden: hunter-gatherers, farmers and the shaping of the world by Hugh Brody, Faber, 2002.

For further references and background see my papers The meaning of life, Awareness, consciousness and language, Ceremonial time versus technological time, and Peak experiences, creativity and the Colonel Flastratus phenomenon all available at my home page - www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for posting this! What is said about hunter-gatherers also pertains to horticulturists (horticulture in the anthropological meaning of the word), they are already in the garden. Paradise is here.
 
Denise Lehtinen
Posts: 102
Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for your post. It reaffirms and builds upon much of what I have concluded in my search for the answer to: 'Why do we have an environmental crisis?'

Stories are powerful things. The story of objectivity and the inanimate world is the key to why we can destroy whole forests, species, each other without a second thought. The story of the animistic mind that all is alive and all is meaningful indeed sets the basis for a different way of living in this world. And if permaculture is the respect for all the growies amongst us, then its synergies with animism are very strong indeed.

I have never thought before, though, about animism also being the natural way for us to be. I had only gone as far as recognizing the need for some chaos in my life -- that chaos being the source of growth and creativity, of allowing those parts of myself that are not deemed acceptable in our culture (but which I need) to have a time to express themselves and that in doing so bring with them a sense of meaningfulness to my life.

I wonder if this is a key to possibility being able to transform things relatively quickly. Nearly everyone is lonely and hungering for connection. Get them over or past their initial reluctance due to their cultural conditioning and then their own innate feeling of rightness takes over and becomes the incentive to continue. To speak in the language of objectivity I learned in college, the story of objectivity is an unstable equilibrium (like a pencil balanced on its end), a small deviation from that place of balance and the whole thing falls over and assumes a more stable way of being. Add just a little chaos to our world and we can change it away from this place of great destructiveness.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:Thank you for posting this! What is said about hunter-gatherers also pertains to horticulturists (horticulture in the anthropological meaning of the word), they are already in the garden. Paradise is here.


yes, agreed. the author here is using "hunter gatherer" or member of tribal society, as the the specific group he wants to speak of....instead of whatever other words such as animist, or "natives", which seem more awkward to express what he means. these people did not call themselves, or see themselves as animists, or natives, or indigenous- they were just THE PEOPLE. and they didnt see this as "religion" or anything special, this was just the worldview that was somewhat taken for granted, and which informed the peoples actions and communities.

he may not be aware that these people were also planting (seems unlikely because he is obviously well informed) or he didnt want to confuse people? if he were to discuss that they were planting, people might assume they were "farming"- which they were not.

and this was not just in one place, one blood line, or one country, one method of horticulture or specific to "hunter gatherers" ONLY- one of the things i like best about this writing and perspective is that he is pointing out how this rightfully belongs to all of us and NOT encouraging cultural appropriation.... i agree- ALL of our ancestors were living like this, and had understanding like this, though for some of us we have to go much further back in time. for the people who were in "civilized" places who had animist (though not calling it that) life ways and world views in many ways they had it fairly rough- being demonized and stuck into the filters of duality and religious bias- being turned into "witches", "pagans", "black magicians" who were into "demons" and what not! and a lot of other non sensical stuff was wrongly projected onto them. so i agree with what he says, that this mind state is the natural way to perceive and interact with the world, and that we had those natural ways over written and supressed with ideologies of control, dominion, and IMPOSED objectification .

it doesnt matter what one calls it, "animism" specifically, being a member of a "hunter gatherer" tribe...though it is good to have words to point towards what we want to get across.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Denise Lehtinen wrote:

Stories are powerful things. The story of objectivity and the inanimate world is the key to why we can destroy whole forests, species, each other without a second thought. The story of the animistic mind that all is alive and all is meaningful indeed sets the basis for a different way of living in this world. And if permaculture is the respect for all the growies amongst us, then its synergies with animism are very strong indeed.

agreed =)
sometimes i tell myself this story- it is the story of the war of stories.
we will find out how it ends, eventually.

Denise Lehtinen wrote:
I have never thought before, though, about animism also being the natural way for us to be. I had only gone as far as recognizing the need for some chaos in my life -- that chaos being the source of growth and creativity, of allowing those parts of myself that are not deemed acceptable in our culture (but which I need) to have a time to express themselves and that in doing so bring with them a sense of meaningfulness to my life.

I wonder if this is a key to possibility being able to transform things relatively quickly. Nearly everyone is lonely and hungering for connection. Get them over or past their initial reluctance due to their cultural conditioning and then their own innate feeling of rightness takes over and becomes the incentive to continue. To speak in the language of objectivity I learned in college, the story of objectivity is an unstable equilibrium (like a pencil balanced on its end), a small deviation from that place of balance and the whole thing falls over and assumes a more stable way of being. Add just a little chaos to our world and we can change it away from this place of great destructiveness.


yeah.... the whole order vs chaos thing....thats actually the part of this writing that i disagree with.
though i do see....why he frames it in this way.

although i strongly agree with the majority of what he says, i feel there is some misinterpretation on his part about a few things. i am glad he does not repeat or reinforce many common misperceptions about these cultures, and i dont think its because he is misinformed. (imo) the misinterpretation is based on exactly what he outlines, how difficult it is for the "civilized" mind and the modern cultures with their objectification and categorization (and DUALITY) to understand the HOLISTIC and PLURALISTIC world views of an animist.

and he struggles with that huge gap, and the "duality" he sees there...yet i dont think the tribal cultures were chaotic, and i think that gap is able to be bridged, these different kinds of minds should be in balance with each other and not at odds. i think that the tribal cultures had a balance of these things, a balance of these kinds of minds.

as idyllic as their cultures may seem to us, these tribal people had order and day to day chores, lives, some kind of social enculturation. yes it was healthier, yes it made sense and was sustainable (regenerative actually), yes it was easier for them to get back in connection with that part of themselves and to be one with spirit....
- but it was still a form of enculturation. not many of the members, and not frequently, did the average joe tribal person explore the "shamanic" . this was for the medicine people, and those few who were given this as a kind of job, and role within the community. or it was for specific reason, healing, rites of passage.

this is why they had to have a vision QUEST, say...or to have periods were they must leave the tribe and its day to day orderly society. they didnt live there permanantly, they had to QUEST for it back, and be separated from the tribe to work through their own social enculturation. of course to us, their day to day reality seems so ideal, and so "spiritual" ...so its harder to see this. the world views we are enculturated with do not find that same balance easily, and theres so many layers of repression and dysfunction ideologies that makes it very difficult for us to - get there.


so i think that part is a bit off, to me, when i read it that stands out.
i think that the issue is not order vs chaos, there can be order without the "need" for control....there can be a kind of control which actually is responsible. though this would be, well not "control" as its known, more of a recognizing whats already there and going along with it and not against it.
or "objectification" neccessary or unneccessary as he points at, but more of domination, exile, exclusion and ownership.
i dont think the bottom line here though is order vs chaos, or anything vs anything else.

thats just it..... the animists world view does not flow in these dualities.
or as he says:

"The distinction between respect and control is of immense importance




 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Daniel Quinn wrote a lot about animism. http://www.ishmael.org/ToRead/ He writes about "another story to be in", a story which reflects our place as members of the web of life on the Earth. Though "Ishmael" is his most well-known book, I think I like "The Story of B" more. "Beyond Civilization" is his non-fiction book which describes how to move toward a non-hierarchical way of life.

Other animist authors I enjoy are Jason Godesky http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/index.html and Peter Bauer aka Urban Scout http://www.urbanscout.org/

 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
^^^^^
hey thats interesting stuff. i'm in goof off mode for a few hours so will check that out =)
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:Daniel Quinn wrote a lot about animism. http://www.ishmael.org/ToRead/ He writes about "another story to be in", a story which reflects our place as members of the web of life on the Earth. Though "Ishmael" is his most well-known book, I think I like "The Story of B" more. "Beyond Civilization" is his non-fiction book which describes how to move toward a non-hierarchical way of life.

Other animist authors I enjoy are Jason Godesky http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/index.html and Peter Bauer aka Urban Scout http://www.urbanscout.org/


i enjoyed this stuff. especially the homespun craftwork =)

i will post some links too...

one of my teachers, and very dear friend:

http://www.bioregionalanimism.com/2012/06/spaces-forgotten-and-reclaimed.html

bioregional animism

another blog by little lightning bolt:
http://backyardshamanry.blogspot.com/

a blog i've been reading and enjoyed:

adventures in animism

another good animism blog:

http://therioshamanism.com/

well theres more, but my book marks are a mess...thats enough anywho =)
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Turning sacred cows into free range aurochs"

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One thing I like about the rewilders is that a lot of them seem to be very hands-on (crafty). And into permaculture.

 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good stuff,all of it!Personally I beleive alienation to be a by product of our journey into symbolic thought(langauge).As we have divided and organized the world into the framework of language,we have become lost in our ideas and the cultural narrative.I love the personal relationship to ones enviroment inherent to anamist thought.Ironicaly,our philosophising about anamist thinking is due to our distance from it.I doubt Hunter gathers knew anything else.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm really glad this popped up again...I'll bookmark it this time to finish reading. Thanks, Leila, for posting such an interesting and timely topic.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some people are trying to rewild language:

http://www.mythic-cartography.org/

http://www.rewildportland.com/Conversations/index.php?topic=62.0
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Matt Ferrall wrote:Good stuff,all of it!Personally I beleive alienation to be a by product of our journey into symbolic thought(langauge).As we have divided and organized the world into the framework of language,we have become lost in our ideas and the cultural narrative.I love the personal relationship to ones enviroment inherent to anamist thought.Ironicaly,our philosophising about anamist thinking is due to our distance from it.I doubt Hunter gathers knew anything else.


yes truely animism doesnt lend itself well to being spoken, or written about, especially academic style writings such as this.
one would do better to really understand this by spending 15 minutes +++ totally silent near your neighborhood tree friends =)
than to read something like this.
but i think this is needed for the people who are looking to bridge those distances- especially to those who wish to dissolve them.
(hint -there is no distance, there never really was- we can come home)

and i somewhat agree -that language and self reflection are part of how it happens, and dividing and catagorizing, organizing the world- part of the objectification of the world.
we can talk ourselves into these boxes, and unresolvable conflicts- create distance from it.
become lost. especially when you are enforced into someone elses world, in someone elses story, disempowered. not only in an emotional less tangible way- but in an actual "lacking" of sources and a strong base of security- being in ones own story. belonging in place, being supported, supporting.

but i dont think the paradigms of alienation and exile are the only story to be told.

or that self reflection, symbolic thought has to lead to this specifically, just that it has exasperated it.
and the language and thoughts about ourselves and other selves are colored by all that shame, hatred, fear and exclusion which has occured- seperating ourselves from our true nature and from nature.

i tend to think the root causes are insecurity, not just psychological insecurity but even body insecurity, the insecurity of the economy which is askew and off balance
even food chain insecurity, which everyone becomes under the ideologies of dominator culture and its master/slave story.

and a lot of it is from the lack of direct contact with nature and land- and our own nature.
the ripping away of people from their land, from where their power and roots were still continues today- though people dont see it as such.
so we have been forcibly exiled from ourselves, by ourselves.
but even with all that is, where we are now, i think we can look back towards the mirror of self reflexivity and see something other than horror, shame, disempowerment....other than disconnection.
there is some un telling of the story that needs to happen, some unravelling....maybe...or maybe we need to tell a whole different story

 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I could see insecurity playing a big role.In some ways religion offers that to people.They can give up and accept the devine nature of what is.I know for myself that seeing every moment as fated and everything as alive brings the majic back into my life.Entheogens can help re-train ones mind.
I think its possible to get to anamist thought through the representation of language and philosophy but I dont have faith that most of humanity will take that route.If the narrative of the dominate culture should start to crumble(aka collapse),I think animist thought is the human default.We are,by nature(no pun intended),spiritual beings and will find purpose and meaning in everything around us.Crystalised forms of thinking(ideologies/religions)are fragile.
When giving tours of my landscape,I dont get into "anamist" ideas but instead stress having a "personal relationship"with ones landscape.Avoiding following a template,evereyones landscape is different so you really should observe your particular one.Ive heard it refered to as "having a microcosm".Its your little word.Childlike!almost a fantasy land with nothing to give it meaning other than your belief.And that belief has been trained out of us.To trust ones intuition.We have come to distrust our ability to interact with nature in a healthy way.We study books to try to understand(which is great)but ultimatly,like any relationship,it is through the doing over time(spent observing our actions)that we devlope that relationship.Because its personal,Its easier to learn than to teach to others.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
totally agreed. this is wise, what you are saying.
and yes, trust. trust in the self, trust in your mind, trust in others and the universe.

and totally crystallized and rigid ideas, the product of fear and insecurity, the broken record of his story repeating itself, is fragile and will fade and change shape or dissolve. animism, neo paganism, get misinterpreted by people of other religions as just being another religion, or...not sure how to say- but theres misunderstanding there.

theres a lot of misunderstanding by people who want to get back to these ways, but are coming from the culture of objectification and of slavery, and all the rest of the memes the culture enforces upon people. i dont blame them or fault them (or myself) for making some mistakes in that stumbling back, but it becomes distorted and difficult for them to really get this stuff.

so yeah i dont have all the answers, i dont even have all the questions. i start to think this is THE answer, but thats really just some silly thoughts i have =)
from a personal POV, it is an answer, its a place to explore and see how to get out of the mind frak of dominator culture...like really see where the mind and these ideologies and assumptions messes me up.

to animist, regardless of whatever one calls it, a lot of this talking, reading, bridge building etc makes no sense at all, the conceptualizing of it is foreign. so theres a lot of misunderstanding and stumbling around with words.

like in the dichotomy that the writing above discusses- chaos vs order, objectifying rather than interrelating, all these ways of framing a discussion about this...if you asked an animist (regardless of what they call their worldview) would you prefer order or chaos? who's side are you on...how can we stop objectifying things? they would surely give you an odd look.

perhaps if they were more articulate they might manage to answer with something like - this isnt for humans to figure out , theres work to be done. and explain how we just need to go about what we need to do, that is our proper place- the rest falls into place or falls apart of its own accord.

and one of the central themes here (again even if someone isnt referring to this as specifically "animist" thought) is about *leaving alone respect* and not interfering - its taken for granted and known that your will and the way you think things should be isnt really worth a hill of beans. actually they really wouldnt even be going down those trains of thought intellectually, this is just how foreign this POV is....

you count, for sure =) you are included, for sure =) but the rest of the world and other than human beings are not neccessarily there to bend to your will or the way you think it should be.

so very true, we dont need to *get rid of* things, ideas- reject and exclude them...though it certainly comes to me that way often...we just have to focus and move in the right direction ourselves and the rest falls away naturally. so in a way theres nothing to be done, well except of course our work. and that observing and having a relationship over time, connection, deep grounding.

but we can still make meaning and create pathways and bridges...not finding meaning, or ultimate truth or anything but creating it and building upon it...we are making it up as we go along. are the stories true? false? yes.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am thoroughly enjoying this conversation...finding it very comforting. thanks.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
youre welcome =)

yes i have been enjoying this conversation too.
actually i have had some light bulbs go off here in my head about some things, which i cant quite articulate atm.
ahhh its ok, as i suppose we were just establishing, talking and writing about this, trying to get this across with words, is difficult and probably not necessary anyway.

maybe this is the way of modern animist, more than whatever ancient practices or peoples, to have to work with the words, ideas (?) preconceptions, assumptions....seems so....we want to change the story, so that our practice follows. we want to express this to others, but it can be very difficult unless they already get it, or at least get it enough to understand.

so many words to just say * be where you are *
and *live where you live*

(although actually there really is more to it than that, so not to oversimplify, but that is the main point)

^^^^
you would think this would be easy, and in some ways it is - it could be just that simple.
but for us, in the modern context, with what is and where we are coming from, theres a lot of work to be done it seems...or undoing .....before we can understand this stuff truly....and especially before we can practice it well...without... bringing in those ways and ideas, those assumptions and our cultures teachings which make it difficult for us to get this.


 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personaly,I focus on doing tours so people can experience the essense of my relationship without the mediation of literature.I also have no shame in speaking of my thought prossessess(ha ha sp.?)even if they sound woo woo.
Ive been thinking about Fukuoka and how he exemplifies the "natural mind" and the result of having a deep long relationship with his landscape and really that might be as important a part of a successful permi project as specific technique is.But alas,its too woo woo foor most.It resists the michroscope of analytical thought and is thus dissregarded.
Anamist thought is viewed as another religion by many.true.It really is hard to concieve it.Primative spirit worship...polytheism?Always an attempt to enclose it within the framework of the dominate narrative.Poor souls.If only they could experience the freedom from rational thought for a moment or two!Relax in the safety of your own delusions!We can talk about it and mabey,if your a person reading this,these words can take you there too...mabey...Actually,its great reading your stumbly writing style Leila,as that kinda takes me into that space.(True?false?yes LOL)and it resists crystalising into a system while exemplifying practice.I mean really isnt this similar to an enlightened state of mind sought by so many throughout history.The tao...fluid.But within a natural context and harnessed for our survival.Must have been nice back in the day before the fracturing and seperation of all these blasted ideas we have to wade around in.Paradise is the integration of the animist experience with daily life needs.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
=)
Matt Ferrall wrote:
Ive been thinking about Fukuoka and how he exemplifies the "natural mind" and the result of having a deep long relationship with his landscape and really that might be as important a part of a successful permi project as specific technique is.But alas,its too woo woo for most.It resists the michroscope of analytical thought and is thus dissregarded.

this is what i appreciate best about it
and others who are on that kind of wave. he was definitely shamanic, animistic, imo.

i am of that same thoughts, though recently i have been drawn to get better techniques and to learn more about growing plants, and working with plants in that other more specific logical way. but thats been more of my method up until recently, develop relationship, observe, feel it- more intuitive, feeling the land, reading the land. trying not to overthink, or even think much at all about what i do with the plants.
i try to become a part of the land, and yeah to many this is way too woo woo =)

actually that doesnt quite say it, cause its not even that linear or conscious. and some of the stuff i am moved to do is not specifically permaculture, actually a few things from "normal" gardening can actually have their place, i think.
i just go outside and walk in the garden, and shut off my brain.... as much as possible anyway. just doing on automatic, no figuring it out. nothings really off limits for me anyway...at ,east for now....cause there is availability of whatever outside sources...though in a different place i would be more into that purist style "natural farming"......actually i might get involved in a specific "natural farming" project so i will have to learn more about those specifics....

but usually- not confined to a specific method, i will use any method or whatever occurs to me....or whatever materials are available (even some outside inputs if i happen upon them easily locally or even !gasp! tilling or a close cousin to something like tilling, for water absorbtion/drainage, etc )....

and i try to feel the way it wants to be, and seems it is better than whatever i couldve thought of....as long as i get out of my own way....like i am a conduit for it
and other woo woo stuff- and it actually works out pretty well for me.
well i have been growing things for a long time so some experience helps sure (again the time element)....and of course it could be better, i do make mistakes and am still learning.
but now i have been applying myself to techniques- all the details....
its cool though, that i read about things that i knew without knowing in that way...but just came to me.

i truly think this is the best method, or rather the non method....but then again i have a different idea about what successful results would look like...or...well i have not been growing food for sale or in a way thats...about maximizing yields or any of that stuff. or trying to grow perfect looking plants....i am primarily concerned with growing as much food that i want to eat as possible(and share) and i want to create gardens that can take care of themselves mostly and need little tending.
and that have the right *feeling*, where many people wouldnt get that at all.... in another way its sort of obvious to everyone. you can feel when the land is....singing and all vibrant....even if you cant totally put your finger on it. and you can feel when its off.

but maybe the very best method is to get that heart of it, that getting out of your own way...non method, and then add in some more logical analytical information...find a good balance there. but it seems...that the first is more important over all than the specifics, and the first is something people dismiss...and the logical analytically info comes with time and experience anyway.....so that it becomes automatic without thinking about....

i guess its hard for people to understand because of their associations, i suppose this would be called "worship" for me, or prayer, but its not quite...it doesnt translate quite right.
Matt Ferrall wrote:
We can talk about it and mabey,if your a person reading this,these words can take you there too...mabey...Actually,its great reading your stumbly writing style Leila,as that kinda takes me into that space.(True?false?yes LOL)and it resists crystalising into a system while exemplifying practice.I mean really isnt this similar to an enlightened state of mind sought by so many throughout history.The tao...fluid.But within a natural context and harnessed for our survival.Must have been nice back in the day before the fracturing and seperation of all these blasted ideas we have to wade around in.Paradise is the integration of the animist experience with daily life needs.


hey thanks =) yes i am kinda stumbling around here, but its ok =)
and its true, the ancestors were way smarter than they were given credit for....its taken civilization a LONG time to come around to that understanding, see the values of it....and see how much smarter than us they were, not just too simple to understand, or primitive with a negative connotation.
"enlightened" naturally without striving, because they didnt know they couldnt be ! or that it was, they were...supposedly lost, fractured, or unable to get to some distant horizon that they couldnt "possess" or attain....
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Matt Ferrall wrote:
Anamist thought is viewed as another religion by many.true.It really is hard to concieve it.Primative spirit worship...polytheism?Always an attempt to enclose it within the framework of the dominate narrative.Poor souls.If only they could experience the freedom from rational thought for a moment or two!Relax in the safety of your own delusions!


=)
i agree
getting divorced from "reality" was the best thing i ever did =)
i am more than half serious

and funny the more i feel integrated the closer to real reality i feel ?!!?? yet the more people may percieve me as unrealistic ?
or perhaps its that integration, reconciling "reality" with real reality- finding balance. the weird thing about consensual reality is how nobody seems to have consented !!! i mean no one asked me for my input and consensus, id certainly have some things to say (too many things likely =)
and the consensus doesnt seem to match the consensual reality. huh? something doesnt add up here.

even if things werent so tight and somehow off kilter, loosening the structures of the mind every so often, shaking things up and seeing the bigger picture, is a good idea- though it can be a little bit frightening. it brings on something of a crisis even in the best of situations. and the more one has been repressed and held back- the more explosive and intense can be that experience of letting go and opening up. this is one of the things i appreciate about it- the freedom to express estatic and even some gnarly states- but freely without repressing them or rationalizing them. just fully experiencing things as they are, and not distancing yourself from your feelings.

and totally people try to enclose it within a framework that doesnt make sense.
its really not a religion, a spiritual path might be a better name... but even that implies things that arent fitting. i guess it sort of depends on the person, some people are more into the spiritual aspects, or the tribal, wild natural aspect, and some people are just looking at the practicals and the world view.

and yet it is the core of every religion on the planet, though many would disagree and not see this... its the grandmother of religions, yet its hardly a religion at all. because the material and physical world is spiritual to an animist, theres really no line there that sets it aside as a *religion* proper....or "spirituality". theres nothing that isnt spiritual. so its a kind of umbrella for all the religions, and sees them all as acceptable paths (ideally though in actuality it is difficult), even the most distorted ideas. not that you have to believe the myths, or follow the teachings, when they go against what you know. especially since many of the cultures teachings, are directly contradicting this, they reject the animistic way, the concepts, and they reject nature and distance themselves from it. but animism, not all the people who are into it, doesnt specifically reject any of the religions paths.....its just contrary to a lot of the dominant ones....

there really is no solid rules, very little that you have to accept, you can believe or disbelieve anything else.....whatever sort of rules there are just what naturally follows if you agree to the main idea that everything is alive and has spirit...and that it has value because it is, not because it is worthy of it. and is part of the great spirit- therefore it is automatically worthy of respect- so eating and taking life becomes an issue. if you have to eat, and everything you would want to eat is also "god" (bad translation), is of equal value to self, this can be a kind of quandry....or well theres some things that should be done carefully, and with gratitude.

so eating respectfully, and respecting EVERYTHING and being grateful are basically the big rules. and being where you are, is the goal.
theres more to it than that, or there can be, but its all stuff that flows naturally once you get it...like being of service, belonging, creating community. it is community oriented, for sure...its all about community, but this seems sort of obvious- the ideas of making it on your own arent so much rejected as just not really even seeming possible or wise. exile was a VERY harsh thing to the ancestors...
and of course this affects the ideas of ownership and possession, which were not totally missing from animist ideas. there are things that are yours, which are gifted, not exploited.... but its an entirely different thing than what today is seen as ownership, private property. they really arent EARNED though,and theres no requirement of being worthy of them. its an unconditional thing, you belong because you are- it is gifted. theres no entitlement, but you dont need to be.....entitled to receive.

even though this is simple, and even though i have been at this for a while, i struggle with these simple things sometimes. like respecting EVERYTHING, and EVERYONE, keeping good relationships.
simple enough, but sometimes very difficult to practice. actually i fail at this too frequently. so even with all that i have been working on for a long time, i sort of feel like i am still beginning this path. just starting to be able to practice well. i do think that modern people have a long way to go to even start to put it into place and get it......so yeah i cut myself some slack there...

to me it gives me some practical teachings that assist me. it explains very clearly some instructions for how to go about making a life. if knew these things, really knew them totally, i wouldnt need it as a path maybe....so it clear things up and gives me useful advice. its not so much that i get something "spiritual" from it, but look to it for practical guidance. the spiritual stuff just comes naturally, is a given =) you dont have to learn how to have a spirit.

and yes very close to the tao, they are extremely similar.

and not even really properly *theism* though people could also call it pantheism = everything is god. or at least everything has spirit, and is part of spirit....all inclusive. or polytheism, but none of this really says it, its more being filtered through a different kind of context, where it doesnt make sense totally. though some animist lean more towards that kind of animism, those ideas.
but really theres only vague half formed and ever changing ideas about creator, creators, or many who dont go for any sort of god like being at all and still practice animism...
and its creative and can be interpreted in so many ways. you are gifted with, and allowed to exercise, your creative license.
actually many artists are animist, just naturally without ever being presented the ideas, and maybe not even actively calling themselves anything. and many animist are actually atheistic ish
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
104
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I percieve Animism as a conception of all natural things as alive and conscious. Tree has a spirit , we can commune with it. Bear has a personality that will even interact with us in dreams. It is a better way to see nature than just resources for us to exploit . Western Rational thought has blockaded us into forts of isolation from the natural world and stood guard to keep the old spirits out. We have suffered. I do not believe that the road to salvation is back to elder ages of thought. Hope lies in the yarn Western Science now begins to spin. Dawkins book " The Selfish Gene " , Leakeys " The Sixth Extinction " , Hawkins and Carl Sagan. The Big Bang and the Pre-Cambrian Explosion. What are the odds it could happen the same way twice? I now see the world and life as a precious , fragile happening and it is all we have. The notion that I will see elephants and gorilla extinct in my lifetime -at our hands - for vanity and meat ! Modern theories in biology and physics are what make the still small voice within me alert to the biosphere. There is spirituality even for those who don't believe in spirits.
According to Dawkins Man is an ape who walked out of Africa and we share kinship with all living things. We wear a Big Red "A" , stands for African Ape.The only difference between myself and a Low Land Mountain Gorilla as I see it is : My forebearers discovered fire and meat - now I do not have to spend all day chewing raw vegetation so my brain has time to think up all kinds of crazy shit! I hope and "Pray" that we come to our full senses before it is too late!
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i like what youre saying here, an agree with most of that. sorry it took me a bit to respond to this, i havent been online for a long time.

of course the dichotomy of science OPPOSED to spirituality is a false dichotomy- these two are not mutually exclusive. nothing actually is really mutually exclusive at all, even other contradictions, here it all is existed beside whatever other contrary ideas.

but that one is particularly insurmountable for some, or seems so set in stone- science versus spirituality...is it an extension of the material being seen as being opposed to spirituality? yet to me they seem to reinforce each other. not even two sides of the same coin, but the same side of the same coin, only percieved totally differently.

or maybe what it is... is different layers of the same design.

if anything science may be the more miraculous and even "spiritually" profound in being able to portray accurately the intricacy of the miracle of manifest creation! now thats mind blowing and could help someone reconnect or not disconnect from the layer at which the "spirit" of them is interacting.

but true we dont need to believe, or even disbelieve anything that doesnt sit well with us, like about intangible "spirits" whatever this could mean in different peoples context. i see spirit as being woven into everything, so theres no need to grasp at it, or accept or reject it. not some kind of detached thing, or whatever other weird ideas people have in relation to the "spiritual" it being beyond, unattainable, like a gated off area where they are not allowed...or have to strive at, deserve, be chosen for.....you know theres a lot of weird ideas about what "spirituality" is to different people...it makes no sense yet i try to get where people are coming from.

yeah the world at large doesnt conform to peoples need to separate out their peas and carrots all ocd style! so all these things can be co inciding, and are co incidentally co existing no matter what categories your mind wants to assign, and reject.

but i disagree a bit, i do think we should return to some of the lifeways and world views of the ancestors. go back a bit and understand better why things were that way, why people had these lifeways and see them in proper perspective.

i dont think we can go back, or should go back though totally...of course we have to move forward from here. integrating all that, and actually even more than that....but i do think adopting some of these ways which have been lost, and properly understanding their value is needed.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,Leila, nice to see you back!
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Judith Browning wrote:Hi,Leila, nice to see you back!


=)
thanks for the warm welcome back

yeah i've been conserving electricity since the days are so grey and short and havent been online much for months.
now enjoying temporarily being on grid at my friends house dog sitting for the holidays....

so been catching up on correspondence, watching movies, writing and editing pics with the electrical grid hook up and fast internet connection =)
 
Paul Gutches
Posts: 106
Location: Taos, New Mexico
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
leila hamaya wrote:[i tend to think the root causes are insecurity, not just psychological insecurity but even body insecurity, the insecurity of the economy which is askew and off balance
even food chain insecurity, which everyone becomes under the ideologies of dominator culture and its master/slave story.


The two are intimately connected.

The search for psychological security is what in fact is making us biologically insecure.

And that's because of the illusion of separateness, psychologically speaking.

Perhaps the clearest example of this is what is occurring in corporations. CEO's are gunning to meet their financial goals, to make their shareholders happy, which they must by law. They and their investors want to have a stranglehold on the future for themselves and their kids, and this very action is diminishing the likelihood of any future at all.

How ironic.

I always think of the monkey with his hand in a hole in a tree, clutching a banana.

He can't take the banana out of the tree so long as his hand is clenched around the fruit, and can't remove his hand without releasing the prize.

Monkeys will not let go, it is my understanding, even as their lives become endangered by this self-imposed tether.

The problem seems to be that we have made a symbol of what wealth is. An abstraction.

Real wealth is the soil beneath our feet, the plants, animals, and each other. Nature. Because nature is not an idea. Money is an idea.

And we have abstracted wealth to be money, and this abstraction is what is causing our disconnection from what is real, and so making everyone biologically insecure.

With derivatives, which were at the heart of the current financial crisis, even that monetary abstraction had become abstracted.

Driving us even further from the real.

It is a kind of sickness, imo.

Paul






 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really like the line of thinking in this thread. It seems to get to the very heart of things.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul Gutches wrote:
leila hamaya wrote:[i tend to think the root causes are insecurity, not just psychological insecurity but even body insecurity, the insecurity of the economy which is askew and off balance
even food chain insecurity, which everyone becomes under the ideologies of dominator culture and its master/slave story.


The two are intimately connected.

The search for psychological security is what in fact is making us biologically insecure.

And that's because of the illusion of separateness, psychologically speaking.

Perhaps the clearest example of this is what is occurring in corporations. CEO's are gunning to meet their financial goals, to make their shareholders happy, which they must by law. They and their investors want to have a stranglehold on the future for themselves and their kids, and this very action is diminishing the likelihood of any future at all.

How ironic.

I always think of the monkey with his hand in a hole in a tree, clutching a banana.

He can't take the banana out of the tree so long as his hand is clenched around the fruit, and can't remove his hand without releasing the prize.

Monkeys will not let go, it is my understanding, even as their lives become endangered by this self-imposed tether.

The problem seems to be that we have made a symbol of what wealth is. An abstraction.

Real wealth is the soil beneath our feet, the plants, animals, and each other. Nature. Because nature is not an idea. Money is an idea.

And we have abstracted wealth to be money, and this abstraction is what is causing our disconnection from what is real, and so making everyone biologically insecure.

With derivatives, which were at the heart of the current financial crisis, even that monetary abstraction had become abstracted.

Driving us even further from the real.

It is a kind of sickness, imo.


agreed, its a kind of sickness, and its all intimately connected.
so where does the sickness start and where exactly does it end, one can point fingers and not see all of it. actually it seems kinda weird to point fingers, because its just so huge and everything is connected.
because the sickness is systemic at this point, its all being affected.

unfortunately to start making decisions to get well, and live well, to do the work sort of feels like going against the tide...of the mainstream.
but i think this is where we have to start, as is, where is.

i believe that things want to right themselves, it is the easiest way to go.... and that in these kinds of alignments things become much clearer and simpler.
but that right now so many people are dealing with the insecurity, and then over compensation, something like that..which has them trying to dominate and control what little they can....something like this....like having to be greedy fr things....because they are somnehow lacking in what should be theirs....even though we truly live in a world of abundance....
 
Michael Forest
Posts: 81
9
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
CHIEF SEATTLE’S SPEECH [source for this,although there are many sites with the same interpretation, : http://ancientpathwaystoasustainablefuture.org/1huntergatherers/introduction-to-animism/ ] -

First off, we need to tell you that these are probably not Chief Seattle’s exact words. They are based on notes taken by a local physician, who attended the speech, and which were written up some years later in a newspaper article. Nevertheless, the sentiments expressed in this speech fit so remarkably the animist point of view, and have such a poetic nobility, that they can stand almost as an animist manifesto. Here are the words:

“The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, [the body heat of the pony,. . .] and man, all belong to the same family

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us; that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

. . .Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival. . .

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all.

As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know: there is only one God. No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart. We are brothers after all.


This permies topic is not only a thoughtful discussion and timely, but implies the "Western" (and "Eastern" to a large degree) cosmology's need for restrictive boundaries. I've often wondered if "civilization" is really just another term for control. Is Animism the antithesis of control? What I gained from a college professor,teaching a creative writing course:

A rainy blustery day, the door to the class room opens, Dr Buckley stands in the doorway, rain dripping from the brim of his hat. He releases his grip on his well worn briefcase, hitting the floor with a thud to get the entire classe's attention and says: "Never forget your Puritanical roots".

I never forgot that statement but the importance of it's meaning took years to sink in. Those roots go way beyond any religious connotation but affect our emotional make up,as well as our "vision" of life. It seems in today's world control is everything. And fear is the mechanism for control. I tell myself I want to engage in "the art of living". Is animism at the heart of of it?

What is the relationship of the"arts"to Animism? There has been mention here how words-language may impede Animistic recultivation. But what about poetry? A lot of people mistake it to be about "meaning". And then there's music,especially instrumental which creates a communion beyond words. What does "art for art's sake" mean? In civilized thinking we use the "currency" of value as a measure of worth. But here's the conundrum- how do you place/define value on art?


 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
good questions.

i think it is possible to use art and language to help ourselves and other get these things....and that a lot of artists are naturally inclined towards animistic thought, and a very different sense of values than many...

as an artist myself i hear what you say about the values of art....it is sooooo strange really. especially the value of craft work, aka "womans work" often, as supposedly being less valuable than "art"

perhaps it is a blessing many artists have such different sense of values they will make art regardless of being paid for it...its more of a calling than a job. i would think it was really cool if i could just magically turn my art instantly into whatever i need at the moment, and not even have to deal with money for art. i try to visualize this happening, and maybe it does sort of work, in a subtle way.

i cant be sure but i think a lot of artists are like this, though its hard to get paid mostly in the love of what you do and not be able to get paid what ones skills are really worth. if things were different....if things werent so difficult to afford basics....if land values were not so absurd...well perhaps it wouldnt matter as much...i think a lot of artist would work for free, if they had their basic needs taken care of, and a nice supply of art materials =) perhaps i am wrong, but i do think many artists are not in it for the money, thats for sure.

here a few examples, off the top of my head, of artists who present animism in their art.....since i am thinking on it...

“Early religions were like muddy ponds with lots of foliage. Concealed there, the fish of the soul could splash and feed. Eventually, however, religions became aquariums. Then hatcheries. From farm fingerling to frozen fish stick is a short swim.”

― Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

lol, so true.
i dont know if he is specifically an animist, but having read his writings i think he is very close to this, or some kind of pagan perhaps. i would like to read one of his latest books that talks about animism. he is someone who can get other people into that kind of headspace, even somehow make some strange things believable and truthful...

another:

miyazaki


love all of his films.
definitely presenting some animistic ideas.
like how in every film of his halfway through in the middle, the bad guy usually redeems himself somehow and teams up with the good guy....this is a bit off the side of the themes, or maybe not....
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i think its important to note that not all of the people who were coming from the dominant, and dominating, culture of first world, "white people", were on the same wave legnth at all. many of the people who had similar ways to the ancient animist existed and were basically silenced, not counted somehow....and the "pagan" faiths, the druids, etc were basically people who were from the "white" peoples cultures...who were practicing a form of animism similar to the ancestors of the non white "shamanic" cultures....but it was demonized into "witchcraft" and the like. it is of course different, but the pagan faiths were very animistic in their basic beliefs and ways.

i would say that the artist, and those who are living artfully, have a greater sense of creating their culture as they go, and creating their own sense of values....rather than just participating in it, or even being a victim to it. i think this is why when i point fingers, if i do sort of point a finger at some kind of enemy or whats to blame for a lot of our dificulties i would point at "dominator culture", not so much that its one kind of individual inside those cultures....not that its anyone in particular of a particular race. because this - culture- is something we can create, something we have a part in shaping.

we can change the story, we can help a different culture take shape. somehow the very small percent that was the loudest and the most dominating, seems to have co opted and been seen to represent all cultures of the "first world", white people...etc....though i perceive it was a very small percent and not remotely close to an indication of the whole...yet somehow seemed to hijack and take over culture with neo colonialism....and caused a lot of the exile, the issues of isolation, and of that fearful controlling....with the concepts of landlords, distorted forms of private property....of elitism....


ah...this is an odd post, but i will post it. it is often awkward to talk about race, and this stuff..... but this is how i see it.
 
Michael Forest
Posts: 81
9
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

from Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver



There was a book which came out in the early 80's called I believe,The woman's encyclopedia of mythologies and mysteries. As I recall it not only pointed towards our animistic nature but suggest a period when matriarchal culture may have been predominant. I don't want to start a debate about that. Finding attunment with nature requires"giving in" at times.Perhaps more than we like. A culture based upon dominance,as you suggest,leila, wants to always adjust,refine or change nature. So more questions: is Permaculture in concert with animism? It's hard to say at this stage.
 
Victor Johanson
Posts: 377
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
13
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
leila hamaya wrote:i think its important to note that not all of the people who were coming from the dominant, and dominating, culture of first world, "white people", were on the same wave legnth at all. many of the people who had similar ways to the ancient animist existed and were basically silenced, not counted somehow....and the "pagan" faiths, the druids, etc were basically people who were from the "white" peoples cultures...who were practicing a form of animism similar to the ancestors of the non white "shamanic" cultures....but it was demonized into "witchcraft" and the like. it is of course different, but the pagan faiths were very animistic in their basic beliefs and ways.


In "Lies My Teacher Told Me," James Loewen asserts that many of the early American settlers recognized the superiority of the aboriginal lifestyle, abandoning their villages and joining themselves to the natives. This didn't sit well with those in authority, however, and they stamped the practice out by classifying it as a capital offense. Unsurprisingly, there appears no record of any movement amongst the "savages" to adopt "civilized" habits.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yes, i understood that happened. and even that the founding ideologies that were being put forth by (some of) the original pioneers who really wanted to break away from british rule were somewhat loosely modelled on the style of community government that the natives had....not that it suceeeded mostly to live up to the ideals but some of the original ideas behind the constitution and that early democratic style government was somewhat influenced by the natives.

what may not have been as apparent was many of the early american settlers were living more closely to the lifestyle of the natives before they were shipped here. then they plopped these people in the middle of whatever conflict for the land....not neccessarily ever making it clear that these people who were shipped here were not the same who had come on the domineering takeover vibe....and that many of those people had had their land stolen, their culture looked down upon by the same people. the same people who put them on boats and sent them here....many of those people were like...mountain people and country people, many of them pagan ish NOT PURITANS, ...not those from the "civilized" areas...there were even white slaves...those who had their land stolen and sent here as basically captives....to work the land and farm....and to be a prescence of europeans to take control of the land

ooo this is way off the side here..but hey whatever...conversation just flows.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"
So more questions: is Permaculture in concert with animism? It's hard to say at this stage.
"

i can obviously only say how i see it, and i see them as being very similar, the same in many ways. except animism to me is much more all encompassing...and talks about the "spiritual" side of things....as well as the ideologies...the philosophical side...where permaculture to me seems more modern, obviously, and trying to adress the specifics and the technical side of this...how to go about implementing these various ways...and is more relevant to the modern person living in a ...well weird social conditions....to say the least.

with animism, if you get the main point, truly get it, then the rest should follow accordingly. so it seems to suggest that what is needed is the proper philosophical stance, the heart of it, and the practicals align themselves automatically from there....
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
leila hamaya wrote:"

with animism, if you get the main point, truly get it, then the rest should follow accordingly. so it seems to suggest that what is needed is the proper philosophical stance, the heart of it, and the practicals align themselves automatically from there....


I'm not convinced the practicals follow automatically. I think people who are animists want to live a different way, but they don't know how and there is no community/society/culture for them to live differently. That is where I see permaculture coming in, a practical way forward for animists who are trying to change their culture. I see permaculture as a mid-point between civilization and rewilding. Specifically, I see it as a way for humans to create forests for rewilding humans to live in.

 
Michael Forest
Posts: 81
9
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:
leila hamaya wrote:"

with animism, if you get the main point, truly get it, then the rest should follow accordingly. so it seems to suggest that what is needed is the proper philosophical stance, the heart of it, and the practicals align themselves automatically from there....


I'm not convinced the practicals follow automatically. I think people who are animists want to live a different way, but they don't know how and there is no community/society/culture for them to live differently. That is where I see permaculture coming in, a practical way forward for animists who are trying to change their culture. I see permaculture as a mid-point between civilization and rewilding. Specifically, I see it as a way for humans to create forests for rewilding humans to live in.



Tyler, I feel that what leila said really is "the heart of it". That one's practices, the practicals, do fall into place once the connection with the land is discovered. Perhaps "location,location,location" is everything in getting it, the animistic understanding. My wife and I are fortunate enough to live on land with a lot of natural diversity: forest, creeks, waterfalls, a variety of plant and animal life. The area hasn't been logged since the turn of the 19th century. And luckily it wasn't reforested with any traditional methods. The beauty of the place talks to you. You only have to listen with your heart. After a while you find yourself being guided in your interactions with the land. To most people it sounds kinda woo woo. The forest is my teacher, it develops me not the other way around.

I don't think a city lot,for instance,lends itself so openly to such an experience. I see a lot of the land as "broken",especially in cities. Permaculture is a way to mend,make amends for the civilized treatment of the land. It is a way of trying to do the right thing but it does not necessarily lead to animism.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:
leila hamaya wrote:"

with animism, if you get the main point, truly get it, then the rest should follow accordingly. so it seems to suggest that what is needed is the proper philosophical stance, the heart of it, and the practicals align themselves automatically from there....


I'm not convinced the practicals follow automatically. I think people who are animists want to live a different way, but they don't know how and there is no community/society/culture for them to live differently.



yes sometimes i think that too, and doubt this too, but then again some part of me KNOWS this is true. perhaps there are deeper and more shallow connections that people make.....i think its possible, and not to knock it for hopefully it leads onward...for someone to make a sort of shallow connection to the land, and to these ideas and not quite get it.

and totally agreed that location matters, or rather that the state of the land matters. it is obviously much easier to feel that connection on land that has been well taken care of ( really taken care of, or maybe even left alone might be a better way to say it) and is beautiful....then its natural to recognize the beauty and awesome power of nature. in an urban concrete jungle, its much harder to make that deep connection. as we are the land, when the land we stand on is degraded what are we? its like theres a trick to turning it around...when the degradation of the land is causing and affected by the degradation of the people and vice versa where you find the space , how do you find the ways to turn it around?

so yes i see what you mean, there isnt necessarily a lot of support, in society and community for figuring this out, unfortunately, but i do think this can change.

i guess i see permaculture as somewhat less....well less encompassing as i was saying. i think animist are just naturally going to practice permaculture without neccessarily learning it as "permaculture" like its one aspect of animism almost...but not all permaculturist are going to go as far as animist.... not to say its better or worse, and this is just the way i see it. i think permaculture is aiming for animism...in a way...its ike pointing towards it but could allow someone to have a shallow practice. again, not that this is bad...any step in the right direction (imho) is better than none and should be applauded.
 
Michael Forest
Posts: 81
9
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This poem struck me as an illustration of part of leila's title: "... recovering the natural mind"


All That Time

I saw two trees embracing.
One leaned on the other
as if to throw her down.
But she was the upright one.
Since their twin youth, maybe she
had been pulling him toward her
all that time,

and finally almost uprooted him.
He was the thin, dry, insecure one,
the most wind-warped, you could see.
And where their tops tangled
it looked like he was crying
on her shoulder.
On the other hand, maybe he

had been trying to weaken her,
break her, or at least
make her bend
over backwards for him
just a little bit.
And all that time
she was standing up to him

the best she could.
She was the most stubborn,
the straightest one, that’s a fact.
But he had been willing
to change himself–
even if it was for the worse–
all that time.

At the top they looked like one
tree, where they were embracing.
It was plain they’d be
always together.
Too late now to part.
When the wind blew, you could hear
them rubbing on each other.

May Swenson
 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
11
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thoughts swimming around in my head, probably none of them up to the caliber of this lovely discussion, but I'll take a stab at it.

I keep going back to what I learned about Japanese architecture and shinto traditions in school. Everything had a cycle to it. Even the built environment, because it was made of natural materials, died and was renewed and this renewal was ritualistic. It seems to me that our sanitizing death plays a huge factor in removing us from the natural world. We sanitize it out of existence. In the west everything has a cycle but we fight/deny our own, and so it is an us vs. the natural world dichotomy. Our quest for shelter from anything messy or uncomfortable denies us our proper and true context.

This is the big difference (I think) in the Asian attitude towards plants. Living in ungodly high density, rushed, stressful, and competitive - plant life allows them to have some context beyond their man-made hell. Phenomenology too brings context. Slight discomfort is noted. Imperfections are embraced, because man-made perfection is hell. Senses starved are fed; senses overwhelmed are quieted. The whole world can exist in an air shaft garden consisting of one lone weed and a sun beam. In a fatalistic, nearly Blade Runner type, sometimes Kafka-esque and brutal world where one is subject to all manner of forces beyond one's control, the resilience of the natural world is the inspiration for living. We in the West, however, live far less stressful lives. Most of us only see nature in documentaries. We see images removed from their context. Even our house plants are decoration, vs. a true connection to the natural world.

They don't just get to this natural mind by retaining their childihood state. Someone points it out to them as they grow that we are part of nature, good, terrible, brutish, beautiful, and it is life - it is an appreciation passed on from one person to another, and evident in pop culture and media. They take a moment to stop their rushing to breathe and remember that they are part of something not only ugly and difficult, but also beautiful and alive. They are taught to observe.

So I really worry about this topic. I think a lot of Western children are deprived of such context and those children grow into alienated adults. (I know I feel deprived and I feel alienated). And our experiences/introductions to nature are also sanitized and compartmentalized. I don't think this should be something you/we should discuss amongst ourselves, as most of you/us are privileged, but something we should instead provide to the disaffected and the children. And I don't see a lot of this going on. I think we recover the natural mind when someone with their glasses removed tells us, with wonder in their voices, to slow down and look at all the life around us. Having a shaman lead us in ritual can be great, but it is the awareness of someone we are personally connected to - in our lives - who feels a connection to nature who helps us recover animism and it is society & culture which makes any ritual practice relevant. So I really feel we are falling down on the job, when we can't take the time to personally share our appreciation for our interconnectedness with all things living. That's the irony of it - we aren't connected with each other enough to talk with authenticity about interconnectedness. And why we need to be more connected with each other. In real life.

 
Pay attention! Tiny ad!
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!