Wednesday, July 28, 2010


A question I am often asked when I explain animism is whether things created by human hands, what I call manufactured things, are also alive, ensouled, and intelligent. I do not speak for all animists, but manufactured things sometimes speak to me. Household items, especially. Blankets. Teapots. When I was a kid, I had a relationship with the streetlamp that lit up the city night outside my window.

Manufactured things are a different sort of life form from trees and rocks and clouds, nonhumans made by the Creator's hand.

But who knows? Maybe I'm just nuts. What is your experience with manufactured things?
Best to all,

1 comment:

Priscilla said...

I love the drawing, and your thoughts! I have to remember the times when my computer seizes up just as I'm thinking of packing up for the day, when I'm tired and my work isn't fresh anymore. I think human-crafted objects are also able to influence things around them. There's a feminist physicist named Karen Barad who argues that instruments in the lab determine the outcome of experiments, not because they have consciousness but because all of us--machines, plants, bugs, humans--exist in this cocreative soup, everything and everybody acting on everybody else. There are no separate objects. I'm fascinated by how similar this is to American Indian visions of the cocreative universe.