And what is your direct source of information on prehistoric animism, assuming you’re not also interpreting the evidence from a twenty-first century perspective? Are you an animist who lived twenty thousand years ago? Your personal attacks are tiresome and lame.

From my 2013 article on prehistoric animism:

“The ancients experienced the world holistically, meaning that they didn’t distinguish subject from object. As the Frankforts put it, borrowing from Martin Buber, the ancients experienced the world as a Thou, not as an It. The Frankforts distinguish this from animism, if the animist is understood as someone who personifies inanimate things by imagining spirits being injected into lifeless matter, since there was no process by which the ancients dissolved any such dualism; they just experienced events as extensions of their mind, just as they experienced themselves as extensions of the world’s volitional forces, gods, and other spirits.”

So yes, I’m aware the animists weren’t solipsists. They experienced the world holistically, without privileging themselves in an egoistic manner. They saw themselves as united with their environment. Nevertheless, they had no conception of objectivity or spiritless physicality. They based their worldview on their familiarity with their inner selves and just presumed everything else works the same way. That presumption was anthropocentric.

They started with their introspective understanding of their spirituality or of their intelligence and consciousness, and they experienced everything else as being similarly animated. Thus, when they experienced themselves as being in a harmonious relationship with a rock or with the moon, they weren’t objectifying themselves or treating themselves as being lifeless, because they had no such Newtonian or Galilean conception. Instead, they were experiencing their spirit as related to the rock’s spirit; their humanness was connected to the rock’s implicit humanness. That’s the anthropocentric asymmetry.

Now if you disagree with that analysis, can you attach the source of your information to your condescending alternative account? If you time-travelled to the distant past and have video recordings of prehistoric animistic practices, you might want to share them.

You write like I’m sneering at the prehistoric worldview, like a dogmatic scientistic anthropologist or secular humanist. On the contrary, I harshly criticize the latter (I could cite many articles) and I incorporate animism as an uncanny foreshadowing of our promethean (satanic) creation of an artificial alternative to the wilderness. This is the conclusion of that 2013 article, “Mythopoeisis and the Consolation of Technology.” The consolation is that we’re re-enchanting the world that prehistoric people experienced as being already enchanted. What we found in physicality is that there’s no such universal spiritual animation, since the latter was subjective and phenomenological. But we compensate by building a world that actually is “spiritually” infused, by being run by our intelligent designs (by computer code, the inventor’s intentions, language, culture, etc).

I make this point again in an upcoming article:

“But again, that later, science-centered stage of ours also has the technical capacity to fill the void with meaning, to humanize the wilderness and to redeem our childhood [prehistoric] intuition that nature is animated by intelligent designs. Human technology supplies the designs we discovered were never really there, despite the animistic illusions sustained by our formative naivety. It’s almost as if our collective childhood dreamt of the future it would be forced to create in its haggard, alienated maturity. And perhaps this is a meaning of history that lies in plain sight.”

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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