At its most fundamental level the movie asks: Can we live ethically in a cursed world? And if so, how? Princess Mononoke offers two related possible solutions. The first is simply to “Live!” (Ikiro!), the catchphrase emblazoned on the movie posters and uttered by the movie’s protagonist, Ashitaka, to the desperate wolf princess San as she struggles to deal with her fear and resentment of humanity. In context, it tells us we cannot give up, no matter what, a message that Miyazaki felt imperative in the emotionally apathetic landscape of nineties Japan. The second is “to see with eyes unclouded”—a challenge, as the movie presents both bloodthirsty beast attacks and relentless human industrialization, and asks us to observe all sides with clarity and objectivity.
Posts tagged animism
Strictly speaking, panpsychism is contrary to scientism rather than to science (if we take science to be a method rather than a dogma). Regardless, panpsychism, as well as transgressing the general scientific paradigm, transgresses the Christian one. Living under the shadow of both science and Christianity should make us wise to the legacy and interaction between the two, which is not always as antagonistic as is often believed. Descartes’ explicit aim in his Meditations on First Philosophy – wherein he divided nature into human souls and the mechanistic environment in which they found themselves – was to carry out the call of Pope Leo X to logically prove that the soul (which Descartes equated to mind) be distinct to the material body, so that life after death (in heaven or hell) be a logical view. Panpsychism per se does not need to make this afterlife claim: the death of the body implies the dissolution of the unifying sentience (the dominant monad, the holon) into its still unified smaller components – but the self as such dies. In panpsychism, mankind has no special status distinct to the other organisms, and as such is generally opposed to Christianity  and other Abrahamic religions. Moreover, panpsychism is more akin to the animistic, pagan religions that worshipped nature. Thus in Christendom, panpsychism has been contrary to both the religious and mechanistic ethos, resulting in its being shunned, disdained, and perhaps even purposefully suppressed: the Roman Inquisition burned the panpsychist Bruno on the stake in 1600.
Experience is interconnected and entangled. Unpredictable. It can never be fully explained. There is always something that slips beyond words. A description or a model of an interconnected world does not encompass all the complex processes of making connections.
While the sense of the moment may be one of accelerated change, there is simultaneously drag, weight and the inevitable delays of change that takes too long. Injustices perpetuated. We find ourselves in situations without an escape velocity.
Is the uncertainty we’re experiencing just a series of erratic oscillations or are we in the free fall toward something more massive? Things are collapsing, and sometimes the best thing to do is let them. Accept the gritty reality of it all.
This doesn’t mean giving up. Quite the opposite.
“nobody has ever been animist because one is never animist “in general,” always in the terms of an assemblage that produces or enhances metamorphic (magic) transformation in our capacity to affect and be affected – that is also to feel, think, and imagine. Animism may, however, be a name for reclaiming these assemblages because it lures us into feeling that their efficacy is not ours to claim. Against the insistent poisoned passion of dismembering and demystifying, it affirms what it is they all require in order not to devour us – that we are not alone in the world.”
–Isabelle Stengers. Reclaiming Animism.
At the intersections of culture, gardening and technology we can start to see how plants can become organisational principles for human society in the turbulent times of the 21st century. Although we may need to scavenge at the fringes of contemporary society, we can observe many healing effects that humans can have on their surroundings through a symbiotic collaboration with plants. Some fight desertification and remediate industrial wastelands through natural farming and permaculture. Others design whole lifecycle, closed-loop technological and architectural systems inspired by natural processes, based on the art and science of biomimicry. Yet, these are scattered examples. We still don’t have widespread methods to improve wasteful, often counter-productive human behaviours. How do we encourage broader, longer-term cultural changes? What varieties of culture would be capable of forging symbiotic relationships between postindustrial human societies and the rest of the earth? How do we compost bitterness to grow beauty?
A Thai airline will allow passengers to purchase seats for life-like dolls that their owners treat as real children due to their belief that they possess supernatural powers.
Kofuku-ji temple’s chief priest, Bungen Oi, offers a prayer during the funeral for 19 pet robot dogs on January 26. The dogs, created by Sony, were first-generation Aibo robots from June 1999 that had artificial intelligence and developed personalities and learned from their owners. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty
Animism (Volume I) (via http://www.nodeberlin.com/works/showcase/04.php)