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Ep. 6: Living Landscapes

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Listen to this episode on Spotify here, or Apple Podcasts here.

The key points in this "speaking":

  • Why I still sometimes call myself a poet even though I don’t write proper poetry: because poetry is the most immanent disclosure of reality. Our most direct experience has a particular rhythm, has a symbolic structure.

  • We reject our animality so as to reject death: religious traditions usually don't speak of an afterlife for insects or animals. Humans must be wholly other creatures in order to be immortal.

  • Fear of death affects so much more than we think, including our attachment to our plastics and other impermeable technologies (even our attachments to ideologies, an immaterial form of plastic).

  • In spite of our differences from other animals, what is it that allows us to understand the world? Perhaps a common aliveness?

  • "Animism" is a western ideologically-inflected definition to begin with: "the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena." This definition assumes the Cartesian idea that we are the only ensouled beings that must confer soul on other inanimate creatures.

  • Yet we must share a common ontological "atmosphere" with all visible beings in order to understand or perceive them at all. There must be a background of sameness upon which difference can appear. What is completely outside a shared intelligible world would be completely outside of perception, language, or analysis.

  • If the world were entirely green, we wouldn’t have a word for “green,” because we wouldn’t be able to see it as something that stands out from all objects. We could only say: the world is intelligible to us, perhaps because we share a common nature with the world. We cannot see or perceive that which makes possible sight and perception.

  • Perhaps "animism" is not the right word, but no word can capture fully the common nature that is shared by everything.

  • Knowledge is inherently dualistic, but reality is deeper: something sensed rather than said. We can sense what we are, but we can’t see it.

Is everything animate in some way? Do we all share the same ontological structure, or more poetically, do we share the same atmosphere or breath? How can we know this?

Listener Insights:

If you want your insights to be shared (with your name or anonymously), comment on the blog post page corresponding to the episode, email me, or answer the Spotify questions attached to the episode.

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