The joy of not being sold anything
What does a 21st century version of Animism look like?
Animism is the world's oldest religion, starting in the Paleolithic age. Its view is that all phenomena have agency, that there exists no distinction between the spiritual & material, and that sentience exists not only in humans, but also in animals, plants, rocks, rivers, etc.
Beyond the naive & outdated interpretations of Animism as "primitive" superstition, one can think of it as one of humanities oldest still active cultural lineages. Beyond the spiritual domain, Animism has highly relevant views on socio-political, ecological & technological issues
In a sense, one can think of Animism as a *holistic framework* which elegantly encompasses ecology, culture, art, politics, technology, science & spirit. It is age old & battle proven yet still alive & in flux. Animism is not a belief system, but a world view and a value system.
Among the many positive and highly practical affordances that Animism offers us today, here are a few: It addresses the "people-in-nature" (opposite the current "people-VS-nature") question heads-on, which is critical in times of climate change & mass species extinction.
Animism is fundamentally *process-oriented* & *relations-oriented* (VS our current cult-like obsession with consumption & dead artefacts). Looking at human-environment interactions as processes and relationships is indeed the way to get out of the "people.VS.nature" trap.
And finally, by re-enchanting our worldview, Animism invites us to feel deeply at home in our own skin & reality - and not live in an constant state of alienation and fear of the "other", which results in our current pathological need to control, model & predict everything.
To conclude, i like to invite you to earnestly meditate on this: Fairies, Ents, Elfs, Gnoms, Jinns and Water Spirits are real! As real as the spirit in plants, animals & humans. Animism has much to offer for the 21st century. Let's embrace it & re-enchant our world.
A Case Study in National Shame - Dimitri Orlov on Afghanistan, the Pashtuns, decentralized governance and effective imperial resilience
Among the world’s many ungoverned spaces, there are few as long lasting and as able to withstand the relentless onslaught of empires as the Pashtun tribal areas, which straddle the porous and largely notional border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan. To invaders, this is an invisible yet impregnable fortress that has withstood all attempts by centralized government authorities to impose their will. The term “ungoverned” is, as usual, misapplied here: the Pashtuns have an alternative system of governance whose rules preclude the establishment of any centralized authority. At over forty million strong, they are one of the largest ethnic groups on the planet. Their ability to resist the British, the Pakistanis, the Soviets and now the Americans/NATO makes them one of the greatest anti-imperialist success stories on our planet. What makes up the shell of such an uncrackable nut? This is an interesting question, which is why I have decided to include an exposition on the Pashtuns, the toughest nut in the whole tribal nutsack.
A tree that got hit by lightning