Watched this NHK program this morning (https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/2088009/) and the discussion on animism spun my brain onto a new track. First, I have to say that for a while there (at least when I was in undergrad), "animism" was a term that was not thought of as a respectful, proper term any longer. It was thought of as an old-school, too simplified way of labeling something. Maybe that was just remnants of Western thought being judgy about it, and then just not wanting to address it. In any case, I always thought of it as a fine way of thinking, but got out of the habit of using it as there was a negative weight to it in my mind. So it was interesting (and honestly refreshing) to see Animism as the title subject for this episode of Spiritual Explorers. If you're not familiar with the term, I definitely encourage you to watch the episode, but I'll say that in a simplified nutshell, animism means a respect for *all* things, since all things have a spirit. I feel like it's usually related to cultures being close with nature, and seeing nature as having spirits and being alive, but it goes further. In centuries old Japanese scrolls, you can see angry pots and pans and other useful implements depicted with angry faces, because they were tossed away without thanks or homage. I loved seeing that! And I love that many temples and shrines collect, say, old eye wear, to honor it and possibly pass on, or, if it's a fishing village, old fish hooks, to honor and dispose. (I don't know the details of how each shrine deals with them- wish I did!)
But that's off track. The rituals of thanks for killing animals to eat, etc got me to thinking about the physics rule that energy isn't created or destroyed. And the world (corporations I should say) takes the energy of nature, of trees, of oil, etc, and uses that energy for our modern conveniences. For profit first, then sales, then we have the product. That's a whole other ball of wax, though.
If you let your mind wander a bit, you can see that so many things we don't think of as having "energy", actually are the source of a LOT of the energy humanity harnesses. So we have to rethink how we view the world, and conceive of things that aren't "alive" as containing energy.
Take stones. We definitely don't look at stones and think "man there's a lot of energy in those". But what was humanity's first means of sparking fire? Flint. A stone. So even from a science angle, the idea of a 'spirit' or energy inside all things around us isn't really off-base. But it's way more convenient not to think of it that way. Because we have to look around and see that fossils fuel us, that trees and stones are repurposed for our use and no thanks is given.
It could be a gloomy way to look at things, but I don't worry for humanity. The entire universe is energy. We're one planet, and though I love it and love the people and nature on Earth, there's other planets with life, and with potential. We're a spoke in the wheel. I do hope we continue on though. We made it passed some crazy moments in the past 100 years, and with globalization the world is having major growing pains. But if we can progress, who knows how far we can go. For now, we just have to see that we're part of all this energy, and it means we ourselves can be transformed into any part of it. I lean towards human energy being part of the earth and other "living" things again, but as humanity transforms the earth into many other things, who knows, maybe my energy will go into a record player one day? Or maybe my energy will drift to another planet. There's belief in reincarnation in a lot of this world, but we could be reincarnated somewhere else. On another planet, as another form of life.
Why that never crossed my mind before, I don't know! But it's damn interesting. Still, I think I'd be fine next time around as a house cat. Lots of napping and eating. Yeah, that sounds good. :)