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The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature

Over the past few hundred years, animism has been dismissed as a primitive, na├»ve and irrational perspective, irrelevant within the civilised West. In The Wakeful World, Emma Restall Orr argues that this is based on the misrepresentation, drawn in crayon, that each tree and stone has its own Christian-like immortal soul.Taking the reader on a philosophical adventure, Restall Orr explores the heritage of Western thought with precision, enthusiasm and sensitivity, considering how soul, spirit, mind and consciousness have been understood through millennia. Challenging the prevailing worldviews of materialism and dualism, she presents animism as a radically different, yet mature and coherent philosophy.Providing deep green ethics with a wholly rational metaphysical foundation, The Wakeful World is a compelling view of the nature of existence and the experience of reality, giving solid ground for the now necessary journey to a sustainable world.This original and lively book brings back animism – a most useful range of ideas which reductivists have somewhat wildly abandoned during the last century – into focus once more just when it is badly needed to cure current confusions about mind and body – Dr Mary Midgley, Moral Philosopher

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  1. M. Rose-Jones "The Violet Rose" says

    This book deserves six stars. This book has profoundly changed the way I viewed the world. It is an intelligent and reasoned argument for animism. This is not an easy book that you will knock off in a day; it is a demanding, intellectual work that rewards persistence with fresh and remarkable insights. Things occurred to me whilst reading this book that had not in a decade of animistic practice. I sincerely believe that this book will go on to be a classic text in this subject area like David Abram’s Spell of the Sensuous:Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World and Graham Harvey’s Animism: Respecting the Living World. Buy this while it is still this cheap.

  2. Anonymous says

    OBOD Druid Emma Resall Orr’s Book The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature has nailed it. Waaaay better than Harvey’s. For those who complained Harvey was too textbook-like compared to their Llewellyn fluff, Orr is going to make you miserable. The first 40% of the book doesn’t even touch on animism: it is theories from everyone from ancient Greeks to Kant and Descartes to materialists to panpsychism to Idealists to emergence to quantum physics to neuroscience, and none of it dumbed down. She uses big words. She goes for the root of words like spirit, soul, nature, matter, god, memory, pattern, world, universe and much more. Pantheism and Monism are naturally covered as they are part of animism. Have to say I love her definitions of animism:”Animism is a monist metaphysical stance, based upon the idea that mind and matter are not distinct and separate substances but an integrated reality, rooted in nature.””Animism is a relational ontology.”Now that she has said everything I can imagine could ever be said about animism, everything I have found true in my animist lifeway, let’s all go do it, live it, see where it takes us. If we base our actions on our belief, the world would surely change. I am ready for adventures in animism!

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