26th June 05:22
animism (animism energy evolution order sense)
The thread on animism has me considering just when the
mindset changed. So lets take a look it in more depth.
Now I'm sure the subject has been considered by folks
more informed than me, but I'll take a stab at it anyway.
It is, I believe, generally agreed that animism is a more ancient
form of spiritual expression than say Greek polytheism. So
when and where might the roots of animistic principals lie?
It seems to me that one must go back to a point in time when
societies were still living a hunter-gatherer existence. In that
context, animism makes perfect sense. When men and women
relied on the migrations of large animals or the spawning seasons
of fish to maintain their existence, appealing to the spirits of the
animals directly seems a logical outcome. Imbuing the animals
that fed and clothed them with a spiritual significance seems quite
logical. How could they not revere the creatures that sustained
During the hunting seasons, the migratory paths the animals took
would have included water sources. Since humans also need
water it takes little effort to consider the leap from revering animals
to revering the natural resources that also played an important role
in survival. Trees and wood for fires, water and springs for drink,
hills, hollows and caves for protection from storms.
Building on that idea, one might reasonably suggest that the seeds
of deism were sowed during the influx of farmer-herders into Europe
from the Levant. Farming requires a stationary people who must
hope for good weather to survive. A late frost might be devastating.
A badly time hail could cause starvation among tribes without trading
networks. Too much rain was every bit as bad as too little. Too much
sun and the crops withered, too little and they didn't ripen. So now
we have a society not so concerned with appealing to the spirits of
animals for their survival, but instead appealing to an abstraction: the
sky, or non-animals: the sun, clouds, and rain.
It seems likely that the evolution to farming-herding was probably
accompanied by an evolution in spiritual expression. In their attempt
to bring order to the chaos of weather cycles, early societies probably
evolved from animistic to theistic. Conceptualizing the forces that
controlled the weather probably resulted in more abstract thought and
probably brought about a belief in gods and goddesses. Arbitrary,
contentious entities in need of placating. Much energy and effort
would have been expended in attempts to understand the will and
desires of the entities. Rituals would have been invented to venerate,
This does not mean the animism would have been totally abandoned.
It would have informed and underpinned any new belief structure. A
good example might be the Irish notion of the Salmon being the oldest
and wisest creature in the world. The massive schools of salmon
swimming the rivers of Ireland were probably one of the most
important food source for the early inhabitants. During early times
they would have almost certainly been revered and imbued with
spiritual significance. That concept was probably preserved and
carried forward into a time when it no longer made much sense.
27th June 16:16
animism (animism sense time myth)
Pretty good ****ysis Wade!
I am quite familiar with the animist mindset in that as a boy, I knew
American Indians who were born before all the good Christians came to
slaughter the buffalo so as to commit genocide upon their families.
I particularly like the last few words where you say: "carried forward
into a time when it no longer made much sense".
This underlies my gripe with the so called Druids like Charlie who
endlessly talk absolute nonsense, based on tales from an older ignorant
and highly superstitious culture.
It seems pretty universal for humans to flock to myth and dogma that
does not make sense. Religions rely on it!