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Your Questions About Animism

Charles asks…

how old is animism..?

Animal Deities answers:

It’s hard to pinpoint, not only because animism tends not to have written texts, but also because it likely predated writing altogether. Ballpark it at 60,000-300,000 years old. Maybe longer, since chimpanzees demonstrate behavior that is reminiscent of animism; treating inanimate objects as if they were alive (grooming rocks) and assisting other animals for no benefit to themselves (caring for turtles, righting them, etc), fascination with snakes, etc

Joseph asks…

What does animism mean?

Is it like, saying that objects and non-living things actually have their own souls? And, if this is true, where is the “boundary” between animate and truly inanimate objects? Like, what would make one thing alive (aka = it has a “soul) and another not?

I’m curious because someone mentioned it in another question I asked on here. That question was a joke, but hey I learned something new from its answers.

Animal Deities answers:

Animism is the earliest belief system, and a bridge between a spiritual view of the universe and an actual religion. It tends to land somewhere in between these concepts. Animism sprang up almost universally in all early cultures as humans attempted to survive unfriendly environments as hunter/gatherers.

Animism is the belief that all things have power and all things have counterparts in the spirit world. The importance of something in this world may not have any connection to how powerful it is in the spirit world. Since the counterparts in the spirit world posses the ability to affect our world (i.e., kick our asses) practitioners of animism try to define the roles and power levels of all things and try not to piss things off that have the ability to harm them. They also try to possess and control those things that will increase their own power.

That is it in a nutshell. Be careful how you treat the stones and empty beer cans you encounter, and keep as many human kneecaps as you can gather in your magic bag.

Modern day practioners tend to either have a deep understanding and appreciation of their surroundings and nature in general, or they live barbaric lives of violence competing for survival resources with other social units that they are locked in a death struggle with. I am not really sure which group I fall into… Just kidding.

Cheers.

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