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robertogreco : animism   10

Sensing & Knowing: David Abram in conversation with Dougald Hine - YouTube
"A conversation filmed in Oxford in September 2010. If you enjoy this, do check out the Dark Mountain Project (http://dark-mountain.net) which was how David and I came to meet. He had read the Dark Mountain manifesto and got in touch with us. A text based on this conversation appeared the following year in Dark Mountain: Issue 2."

[via:
"We began with the thought that animism might be the default mode of human existence… and anything else, a temporary aberration."
https://darkmountainproject.tumblr.com/post/53935222519/we-began-with-the-thought-that-animism-might-be ]
davidabram  dougaldhine  animism  2015  nature  writing  instinct  humans  multispecies  morethanhuman 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Magic and the Machine — Emergence Magazine
"Indeed, it is only when a traditionally oral culture becomes literate that the land seems to fall silent. Only as our senses transferred their animating magic to the written word did the other animals fall dumb, the trees and rocks become mute. For, to learn this new magic, we had to break the spontaneous participation of our eyes and ears in the enfolding terrain in order to recouple those senses with the flat surface of the page. I remember well, in first grade, the intensity with which I had to train my listening ears and my visual focus upon the letters in order to make each letter trigger a specific sound made by my mouth, such that now whenever I see the letter K, I instantly hear “kah” in my mind’s ear, and whenever I see an M, I hear “mmm.” If my ancestors once engaged in animistic participation with bent twigs, animal tracks, cliff-faces, and cloud shapes, I learned an analogous participation with the letter shapes upon the page. But notice: while a thundercloud or a raven might utter strange sounds and communicate strange sensations, the written letters always speak with a human tongue.

Hence, far from enacting a clear break with animism, alphabetic literacy can be recognized as a particularly potent form of animism, one which shifts the locus of magic—or meaning—away from our interactions with the more-than-human surroundings to the relation between ourselves and our own signs. Only as alphabetic literacy comes into a previously oral culture (often through Christian missionaries teaching how to read the Good Book) does that culture get the curious idea that language is an exclusively human property. The living land is no longer felt to hold and utter forth its own manifold meanings; the surrounding earth soon comes to be viewed as a mostly passive background upon which human history unfolds."




"For animism—the instinctive experience of reciprocity or exchange between the perceiver and the perceived—lies at the heart of all human perception. While such participatory experience may be displaced by our engagement with particular tools and technologies, it can never entirely be dispelled. Rather, different technologies tend to capture and channel our instinctive, animistic proclivities in particular ways."



"Despite the flimsy gesture toward a kind of magical reality, the fact is that we’re still speaking only to ourselves, to things that we have programmed to talk back to us. And so, after the initial novelty, which maybe lasts about twenty minutes, there’s nothing here that can surprise us, or yield a sense that we’re in communication with beings strangely different from ourselves."



"And maybe this attempt to recreate that primal experience of intimacy with the surrounding world will actually succeed. Certainly it’s giving rise to all sorts of fascinating gizmos and whimsical inventions. But it’s also bound to disappoint. The difficult magic of animistic perception, the utter weirdness and dark wonder that lives in any deeply place-based relation to the earth, is the felt sense of being in contact with wakeful forms of sentience that are richly different from one’s own—the experience of interaction with intelligences that are radically other from one’s own human style of intelligence. Yet when interacting with the smart objects that inhabit the always-online world of the internet of things, well, there’s no real otherness there. Of course, there’s the quasi-otherness of the program designers, and of the other people living their own wired lives; although just how other anybody will be when we’re all deploying various forms of the same software (and so all thinking by means of the same preprogrammed algorithms) is an open question. My point, however, is that there’s no radical otherness involved: it’s all humanly programmed, and it’s inhabited by us humans and our own humanly-built artifacts; it’s all basically a big extension of the human nervous system. As we enter more deeply into the world of ubiquitous computing, we increasingly seal ourselves into an exclusively human zone of interaction. We enter into a bizarre kind of intraspecies incest."



"Yet it’s the alterity or otherness of things—the weirdly different awareness of a humpback whale sounding its eerie glissandos through the depths, or an orb-weaver spider spinning the cosmos out of her abdomen; or the complex intelligence of an old-growth forest, dank with mushrooms and bracket fungi, humming with insects and haunted by owls—it’s the wild, more-than-human otherness of these powers that makes any attentive relation with such beings a genuine form of magic, a trancelike negotiation between outrageously divergent worlds.

Without such radical otherness, there’s no magic. Wandering around inside a huge extension of our own nervous system is not likely to bring a renewal of creaturely wonder, or a recovery of ancestral capacities. It may keep us fascinated for a time but also vaguely unsatisfied and so always thirsty for the next invention, the next gadget that might finally satisfy our craving, might assuage our vague sense that something momentous is missing. Except it won’t."



"Western navigators, long reliant on a large array of instruments, remain astonished by the ability of traditional seafaring peoples to find their way across the broad ocean by sensing subtle changes in the ocean currents, by tasting the wind and reading the weather, by conversing with the patterns in the night sky. Similarly, many bookish persons find themselves flummoxed by the ease with which citizens of traditionally oral, place-based cultures seem always to know where they are—their capacity to find their way even through dense forests without obvious landmarks—an innate orienting ability that arises when on intimate terms with the ground, with the plants, with the cycles of sun, moon, and stars. GPS seems to replicate this innate and fairly magical capacity, but instead of this knowledge arising from our bodily interchange with the earthly cosmos, here the knowledge arrives as a disembodied calculation by a complex of orbiting and ground-based computers."



"There is nothing “extra-sensory” about this kind of earthly clairvoyance. Rather, sensory perception functions here as a kind of glue, binding one’s individual nervous system into the larger ecosystem. When our animal senses are all awake, our skin rippling with sensations as we palpate the surroundings with ears and eyes and flaring nostrils, it sometimes happens that our body becomes part of the larger Body of the land—that our sensate flesh is taken up within the wider Flesh of the breathing Earth—and so we begin to glimpse events unfolding at other locations within the broad Body of the land. In hunting and gathering communities, individuals are apprenticed to the intricate life of the local earth from an early age, and in the absence of firearms, hunters often depend upon this richly sensorial, synaesthetic clairvoyance for regular success in the hunt. The smartphone replicates something of this old, ancestral experience of earthly acumen that has long been central to our species: the sense of being situated over Here, while knowing what’s going on over There."



"And so we remain transfixed by these tools, searching in and through our digital engagements for an encounter they seem to promise yet never really provide: the consummate encounter with otherness, with radical alterity, with styles of sensibility and intelligence that thoroughly exceed the limits of our own sentience. Yet there’s the paradox: for the more we engage these remarkable tools, the less available we are for any actual contact outside the purely human estate. In truth, the more we participate with these astonishing technologies, the more we seal ourselves into an exclusively human cocoon, and the more our animal senses—themselves co-evolved with the winds, the waters, and the many-voiced terrain—are blunted, rendering us ever more blind, ever more deaf, ever more impervious to the more-than-human Earth.

Which brings us, finally, back to our initial question: What is the primary relation, if there is any actual relation, between the two contrasting collective moods currently circulating through contemporary society—between the upbeat technological optimism coursing through many social circles and the mood of ecological despondency and grief that so many other persons seem to be feeling? As a writer who uses digital technology, I can affirm that these tools are enabling many useful, astounding, and even magical possibilities. But all this virtual magic is taking a steep toll. For many long years this techno-wizardry has been blunting our creaturely senses, interrupting the instinctive rapport between our senses and the earthly sensuous. It’s been short-circuiting the spontaneous reciprocity between our animal body and the animate terrain, disrupting the very attunement that keeps us apprised of what’s going on in our locale—the simple, somatic affinity that entangles our body with the bodies of other creatures, binding our sentience with that of the local earth. Today, caught up in our fascination with countless screen-fitted gadgets, we’re far more aloof from the life of the land around us, and hence much less likely to notice the steady plundering of these woodlands and wetlands, the choking of the winds and the waters by the noxious by-products of the many industries we now rely on. As these insults to the elemental earth pile up—as the waters are rendered lifeless by more chemical runoff, by more oil spills, by giant patches of plastic rotating in huge gyres; as more glaciers melt and more forests succumb to the stresses of a destabilized climate—the sensorial world of our carnal experience is increasingly filled with horrific wounds, wounds that we feel in our flesh whenever we dare to taste the world with our creaturely senses. It’s too damned painful. Hence … [more]
animism  davidabram  technology  language  alphabet  writing  oraltradition  secondaryorality  smarthphones  gps  multispecies  morethanhuman  canon  literacy  listening  multisensory  senses  noticing  nature  intuition  alterity  otherness  object  animals  wildlife  plants  rocks  life  living  instinct  internet  web  online  maps  mapping  orientation  cities  sound  smell  texture  touch  humans  smartdevices  smarthomes  internetofthings  perception  virtuality  physical 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
OCCULTURE: 52. John Michael Greer in “The Polymath” // Druidry, Storytelling & the History of the Occult
"The best beard in occultism, John Michael Greer, is in the house. We’re talking “The Occult Book”, a collection of 100 of the most important stories and anecdotes from the history of the occult in western society. We also touch on the subject of storytelling as well as some other recent material from John, including his book “The Coelbren Alphabet: The Forgotten Oracle of the Welsh Bards” and his translation of a neat little number called “Academy of the Sword”."



"What you contemplate [too much] you imitate." [Uses the example of atheists contemplating religious fundamentalists and how the atheists begin acting like them.] "People always become what they hate. That’s why it's not good idea to wallow in hate."
2017  johnmichaelgreer  druidry  craft  druids  polymaths  autodidacts  learning  occulture  occult  ryanpeverly  celts  druidrevival  history  spirituality  thedivine  nature  belief  dogma  animism  practice  life  living  myths  mythology  stories  storytelling  wisdom  writing  howwewrite  editing  writersblock  criticism  writer'sblock  self-criticism  creativity  schools  schooling  television  tv  coelbrenalphabet  1980s  ronaldreagan  sustainability  environment  us  politics  lies  margaretthatcher  oraltradition  books  reading  howweread  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  facetime  social  socializing  cardgames  humans  human  humanism  work  labor  boredom  economics  society  suffering  misery  trapped  progress  socialmedia  computing  smarthphones  bullshitjobs  shinto  talismans  amulets  sex  christianity  religion  atheism  scientism  mainstream  counterculture  magic  materialism  enlightenment  delusion  judgement  contemplation  imitation  fundamentalism  hate  knowledge 
february 2018 by robertogreco
OCCULTURE: 57. John Crowley & John Michael Greer in “The Slow Decline” // Talking Crows, Pocket Utopias & the Future of Storytelling
"John Michael Greer joins the show to chat with author John Crowley about his latest novel, “Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr”, as well as Frances Yates, creative writing, pocket utopias, the future of storytelling and the slow decline of industrial society."
johnmichaelgreer  ryanpeverly  johncrowley  occulture  decline  2017  crows  corvids  literature  fiction  occult  storytelling  birds  animals  stories  myth  mythology  utopia  pocketutopias  animism 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Bioregional Animism Questions
"Years ago, came across a post on a website which had questions related to how knowledgeable one was to their local region. (The list was called “Bioregional Quiz: Re-Indigenize Yourself Project“ for anyone interested.) The website is long gone now, but I kept the questions to help remind me of things I wanted to learn more and more about over time.

Decided to share them as they might be of interest to or useful to some folks.

(Note: some questions I’ve added to the list over the years and the questions are not in the original order they were found in.)

A. What primary geological events and processes influenced the landforms of your bioregion?
B. What biotic and/or geological features define your bioregion?
C. Where does your drinking water come from?
D. What is the dimension of your watershed?
E. What creek or river defines your watershed?
F. What and where is the largest wilderness area(s) in your bioregion?
G. Have there been any successful land or water restoration projects where you live?
H. What are your soil conditions?
I. What kind of rocks and minerals are in the land below you?
J. What are the greatest threats to your bioregion’s ecosystem?
K. Where does your trash end up?
L. Where does your sewage end up?
M. What is the power source for your electricity?
N. What animal and/or plant species have become extinct in the area?
O. What animal and/or plant species have become endangered in the area?
P. Name a local environmentalist group.
Q. Name some local invasive species (plant and/or animal . (Humans do not count!)
R. Name some plants and animals that live in and near your home? (Example: Insects, birds small mammals, etc.)
S. Name some local plants and animals that live just outside urban centers?
T. Name five species of trees in your area that you can identify.
U. Name five migratory birds that pass your area and when they arrive and leave.
V. Name five local edible plants and when to forage them.
W. Is your area home to any native herbs?
X. Name of the first wildflowers that blooms in spring where you live.
Y. How well can you predict the weather based on cloud formation and pressure?
Z. What direction do storms generally come in?
AA. At the peak of summer and height of winter, when and where does the sun set?
AB. Can you roughly keep track of the Moon’s phase without having to look it up?
AC. What places in your area are the best for stargazing?
AD. Over time, what groups of people have lived the area?
AE. What were/are the subsistence practices for the area’s indigenous persons?
AF. In the past century, what was the primary land use in your bioregion?
AG. When and where is your closest farmer’s market?
AH. How many human people live next door to you?
AI. What are their names?
AJ. What places are special personally to you in your area?"

[via: https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/933026978982187008 ]
via:jbushnell  ecology  infrastructure  nature  bighere  local  bioregionalism  ecosystem  interconnected  classideas  sustainability  animism  interconnectedness  interconnectivity 
november 2017 by robertogreco
On Animism, Modernity/ Colonialism, and the African Order of Knowledge: Provisional Reflections | e-flux
[Part of a series from multiple authors. Introduction, with contents in the sidebar:
https://www.e-flux.com/journal/36/61244/introduction-animism/

a link to the Animism issue: https://www.e-flux.com/journal/36/ ]

"How do we account for the recent resurgence of interest in animism and animist thought? Once considered a kind of cognitive error, as evidence of cognitive underdevelopment and epistemological failure, animism has once again become an object of discursive attention and intellectual inquiry, in addition to serving as a platform for political action, particularly around issues of ecology and the environment. It has become an acceptable if not entirely respectable way of knowing and acting in the world. Although E. B. Tylor’s nineteenth-century definition of the concept has remained foundational, we have come a long way from the modernist understanding of it which Emile Durkheim summed up in these words:
For Tylor, this extension of animism was due to the particular mentality of the primitive, who, like an infant, cannot distinguish the animate and the inanimate. […] Now the primitive thinks like a child. Consequently, he is also inclined to endow all things, even inanimate ones, with a nature analogous to his own.

This new interest has overturned the old prejudice which equated animism with everything that was childlike and epistemologically challenged, everything that was the negation of the mature, the modern, and the civilized."



"If the new convergence of interest in animism is to bear any advantage for those on the other side of modernity, it is here that we should begin with a conception of time that rejects linearity but recognizes the complex embeddedness of different temporalities, different, discordant discursive formations, and different epistemological perspectives within the same historical moment. And then we should search for a language to represent this knowledge."
animism  art  harrygaruba  2012  modernity  colonialism  africa  knowledge  brunolatour  wendybrown  karlmarx  objects  vymudimbe  alfhornborg  knowing  masaomiyoshi  talalasad  ramongrosfoguel  fetishism  commodities  mysticism  foucault  materiality  science  scientism  frederickcooper  time  knowledgeproduction  johannesfabian  dipeshchakrabarty  ebtaylor  technology  dualism  linearity  embeddedness  temporality  michelfoucault  linear 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Kitsune : Man’s first attempts at making his own decisions...
"Man’s first attempts at making his own decisions are called divination. Examples are the studying of omens, watching the stars, throwing and studying sticks and bones (sortilege), ‘reading’ animals’ intestines, etcetera. These are all methods that project the will of the gods, who were still thought to exist, into the external world. So decision making was in this phase a process that took place in the world, not in the mind."
— 

Artikelen van Erik Weijers - Summary [http://www.erikweijers.nl/pages/translations/psychology/the-origin-of-consciousness/summary.php ]

"I love this. Decision making in the world, not in the mind. And although as it is described here, this transitional phase in man’s cognition is behind us, in many other ways it of course isn’t.

The description of the origin of consciousness described here also jibes in many ways with what I’ve been reading in Metaphors We Live By."
karsalfrink  erikweijers  divination  decisionmaking  history  consciousness  animism  cognition  metaphors  everyday  omens  starts  astrology  sortilege  religion  belief 
january 2014 by robertogreco
» The New Ecology of Things: Slabs, Sofducts, and Bespoke Objects Johnny Holland – It's all about interaction » Blog Archive
"Several major trends are emerging that affect interaction design. With the advent of post-PC devices like the iPad, cheap sensors and microcontrollers like the Arduino, and services like Kindle Wispersync, we’re in the middle of a shift towards ubiquitous computing, tangible interaction, and cloud services. Because of these trends, our field must consider the integration of the traditionally separate areas of screen and tangible interaction design.

Of particular significance is the shift away from the generic computation typified by the “personal computer,” which never really achieved the individuality or specificity implied by the term “personal.” In short, we’re experiencing the emergence of The New Ecology of Things, where a network of heterogeneous, smart objects and spaces are replacing our current design context."
consumerism  twitter  ipad  ecology  internetofthings  ecologyofthings  matthewcrawford  shopclassassoulcraft  making  meaning  meaningmaking  personalization  sofducts  bespoke  bespokeobjects  craft  slabs  interactiondesign  interaction  glvo  diy  iphone  applications  computing  fabbing  3dprinter  3d  culture  software  hardware  prosthetics  tailoring  animism  sound  light  haptics  kinetic  kineticbehavior  behavior  android  arduino  nikeid  manufacturing  apple  philipvanallen  spimes  ios  iot 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Scientific Commons: Sigur Rós's Heima: An Icelandic Psychogeography (2009), 2009 [Tony Mitchell]
[now here: https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/handle/10453/10567 ]

[PDF: https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/bitstream/10453/10567/1/2008008719OK.pdf ]

"examines sonic geography of…Sigur Rós w/ particular reference to Heima, which documents tour…of remote places in home country. Known for causing people to faint or burst into tears during concerts, music could be said to express sonically both isolation of Icelandic location & induce feeling of hermetic isolation in listener through climactic & melodic intensity of sound…Singing both in Icelandic & invented language Hopelandic (vonlenska), Jónsi, gay & blind in one eye, channels a striking form of glossolalia in vocals…group acknowledges strong degree of Icelandic animism in music…have referred to ‘presence of mortality’ in Icelandic landscape & links to stories, sagas, magic & ritual in remote country where ‘majority…believes in elves & power spots…invisible world is always w/ us’…create geomorphic soundscapes which transport active listener into imaginary world…bass player Georg Holm, who is demophobic, has stated, ‘we provide colors & frame & you paint the picture'"

[via: http://twitter.com/ballardian/status/24613154409 ]
glossolalia  vonlenska  sigurros  heima  iceland  music  psychogeography  inventedlanguages  language  emotion  fear  demophobia  sound  animism  landscape  sagas  magic  ritual  mortality  soundscapes  geomorphicsoundscapes  jouissance  identity  myth  isolation  sigurrós  rituals 
september 2010 by robertogreco
3.05: Gossip is Philosophy
"The right word is "unfinished." Think of cultural products, or art works, or the people who use them even, as being unfinished. Permanently unfinished. We come from a cultural heritage that says things have a "nature," and that this nature is fixed and describable. We find more and more that this idea is insupportable - the "nature" of something is not by any means singular, and depends on where and when you find it, and what you want it for. The functional identity of things is a product of our interaction with them. And our own identities are products of our interaction with everything else. Now a lot of cultures far more "primitive" than ours take this entirely for granted - surely it is the whole basis of animism that the universe is a living, changing, changeable place. Does this make clearer why I welcome that African thing? It's not nostalgia or admiration of the exotic - it's saying, Here is a bundle of ideas that we would do well to learn from."

[via: http://preoccupations.tumblr.com/post/897984340/unfinished ]
1995  kevinkelly  brianeno  art  generative  hypertext  philosophy  unfinished  imperfection  culture  via:preoccupations  africa  technology  wired  society  learning  nostalgia  animism  interactivity  interaction  functionalidentity  ambient  wabi-sabi 
august 2010 by robertogreco

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