We can’t become something because we call ourselves a particular name. I want to be an animist, but I know I’m deeply conditioned by materialist thought, and other influences. That means, for the moment I can honestly only aspire to be an animist. Maybe one day I will get there.
An animist is one who believes that reality is full of spirit. The ancient Greek thinker, Thales, is said to have asserted ‘Everything is full of gods.’ Most humans, for most if the time, have been animistic. Strictly speaking animism is now an out-of-date term that has been kind of replaced by a much more intellectual and philosophical approach. But I find the intellectualism tedious and boring – and I am happy to leave it to those who delight in it. They are doing good work. I am keeping the term because it still has good use left in it.
This is a blog about thinking; and learning to think the way we want to. That means there’s a lot of unthinking to be done to progress deconditioning of our psyche. It’s not quite Materialists Anonymous, but the truth is that if we want to develop deeper spiritual insight, we must all see ourselves as recovering materialists. We should be taking it one day at a time.
We have imbibed the essential messages of materialism as mother’s milk from the day we were born. We are conditioned by, and addicted to, a way of thinking that does not serve us, or other lives, well. And even with their best intentions escape is immensely difficult. If it’s not, you are not trying hard enough. Am I doing more than performing a role that is little more than a pretence to be something I want to be? Am I actually being who I want to be?
Some few people can escape to the fringes of the ‘system’. Others, like me, are burdened with the task of remaining within it – maybe to change it from within. We are surrounded by materialism. We breathe it. We are saturated by it. We risk being hypnotised by it and sedated by it if we’re not careful.
It’s well said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. I am not a preacher or a teacher. I just like making arguments and saying things that stimulate and agitate – reviving vigilance.
Who am I?
I live in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. I’ve been a lifelong experiencer of psi phenomena, which led me into esoteric philosophy when I was 16 – in an effort to make sense of what I was going through. That was a long time ago now. It wasn’t enough. Since then, I trained in the Western Mystery Tradition for a time, and then in Wicca. Neither satisfied my intellectual curiosity. I have read extensively in religions, anthropology, psychology, philosophy – and anything to do with being human, really.
I have Masters and Masters Honours degrees in Social Ecology. My primary interest is in the challenge of the transitioning from materialistic thinking to what comes next. Science is moving in this direction – materialism is insufficient to express what we are learning about our reality. But that does not mean the past ways of explaining things are up to the job. At best they offer clues. We need new thinking and new language.
I’m trying to reimagine religion as a rational response to an existential awareness that reality is living. Religion has been given a bad name, deservedly so. It has been done badly for a very long time. But we don’t give up drinking just because the water is dirty, and we don’t give up eating just because the food has been poorly cooked and tasteless – not even if we get food poisoning.
Religion has been part of human life for so long it must be more than what we have come to think it is. I could be wrong, but that’s my working hypothesis for now.
My day job used to be in the state bureaucracy. For the last 19.5 years I’ve been working in the disability sector. Since April 2008 I’ve lived with acquired disabilities of my own. It is not something I recommend for everybody, but it’s been a useful stimulant that has spurred me to greater vigilance.
I will try to be playful. I do not say ‘See it this way.’ – only – ‘This is how I see it.’ The reader must make up their own mind. My contribution is only to stimulate thinking. I will be cranky at times, because silliness and arrogance gets to me now and then.
This is a relaunch of a blog I started on 30.12.2017. I have moved to a new host, one that is much more amenable for me. I will be reposting some old content – but I will mark it as such.
In the age of Trump, I became fascinated by the nature of belief. Initially this was in an effort to understand what the blazes was going on in the US – where religious belief was wildly intersecting with political belief. What started off with the naïve expectation of being a quick inquiry became the focal point of a much deeper inquiry for over the past 2 years. That derailed the blog badly; because I couldn’t find a good ground from which to write.
The nature of belief is still a mystery to me: but at least I have discovered what it’s not – for me at least.