Introduction to Animaterialism

Introduction to Animaterialism

Khan Altai, by Grigory Gurkin

These are a set of revised statements that have appeared in previous articles. They reflect my evolving views. -MD

We are…left dangling in the paradox of corpsed matter and incorporeal mind – the first dead, insentient and without the possibility of meaning or creativity, the second a ghost, a mere figment or phantasm “squirted out” by chance arrangements of the first. Yet it was precisely this subjective “fiction” that had somehow managed to construct the objective world picture in the first place (de Quincey 37).

The source of all dualistic concepts is our Western tendency to project onto Nature two distinct substances from what I call animateria (ensouled matter). In reality, animateria means that all things of the universe are soulful, undivided and holistic. The concept of “inanimate objects” is an oxymoron. The word, “inanimate,” should be banished from our language in the epoch of soul. Any religion or philosophy that continues to accept the dualistic mindset is anathema to me. Why am I so adamant? Because dualism has done such great damage to our planet, human nature, and the universe. We should no longer accept the assertion that we dwell in a schizophrenic world, where matter and mind are split off from each other, where an unbridgeable chasm exists between them. We should rail against a worldview that believes it has dominion over this planet to the point of raping and pillaging it for profit. It is unnatural.

Physicist David Bohm said,

Man’s general way of thinking of the totality, i.e. his general world view, is crucial for overall order of the human mind itself. If he thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken and without border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole (Bohm ix).

One’s view of matter directly influences one’s ethics. If you believe you are not connected to the earth, that you are its master instead of on equal footing with it, then you will have no qualms about blowing off the tops of mountains for coal, or incinerating thousands of acres of rain forest, or dumping millions of gallons of crude oil into our oceans, or for that matter, allowing your fellow humans to starve to death just because you want wealth and success. When dualism is banished from the earth, only then will we begin to live as we were meant to live.

Bohm’s contention is that a fragmented view of the totality of reality will lead to a disorderly way of thinking. The earth has experienced the result of such thought for hundreds of years. It is because mankind has eliminated soul from human Being. But now, we are beginning to see the truth. Because of mass communication via the Internet, millions and millions are coming to the realization that reality is one, that all things are closely interconnected. The naysayers will eventually fade away. Our world is currently undergoing a tremendous transformation toward wholeness. We have great hope for the future.

The philosophy of mind  known as “eliminative materialism” asserts that realities like soul, imagination, belief, or just a common sense view of the mind (folk psychology) are false and will eventually be explained as products of biology. Since matter is dead, so they claim, without meaning or value, proponents of this philosophy assume that such “metaphysical” realities are just misunderstandings on the part of uneducated, unsophisticated people.

I am quite surprised that such educated paladins of reason would make such a glaring mistake in their argument. The very reality they utilize to form their theory is what they deny existence to! Think about this for a moment. Use the reality that does not exist, that we “folk psychologists” call a mind, to muse on the absurdity of their position. If you are anywhere near the folk psychologist you should be, it won’t take long for you to understand the paper tiger they have unleashed upon us.

This type of nonsensical thinking is the direct result of Descartes’ mind-body dualism, except that eliminative materialism goes further, denying even the mind of Descartes, which he simply took for granted. How can a belief in dead, insentient matter lead anywhere but to this kind of absurdity? We certainly are minds, souls, spirits, have beliefs, visions, dreams, etc. We are not inanimate, as some would have us believe.Granted, this is extreme materialism, but I provide this as being illustrative of the ways of scientism. I personally don’t understand why there seems to be a need to rid the world of all mythopoeic beauty and nature. What these scientists don’t seem to realize is that their theories are just as mythical as what we folk psychologists claim.

In my quest to promote an ensouled world, matter that is teeming with soul and spirit, I’ve decided to call my philosophy Animaterialism. This word, of course, combines soul (anima) with matter (materia). My viewpoint begins with a view of matter that is opposed to spirit and is mediated by soul. Soul is the metaxy, the middle ground between spirit and matter. In his use of the Greek word, metaxy, in several important dialogues, Plato gave to psychology and philosophy the notion that there is an in-between state that is neither mortal nor divine, neither matter nor spirit, neither light nor darkness. This is what we refer to as soul. In Plato’s Symposium, Socrates argues that Eros is a daimon who is in-between gods and mortals. Indeed, according to Socrates, the whole of the daimonic is between [metaxy] god and mortal” (202d11-e1). This view of matter influences how we treat our planet and each other. Our view of matter directly affects our ethics. Furthermore, our view of matter affects our entire ontology and epistemology. Indeed, it touches every aspect of our lives.

Once again, quoting David Bohm:

It is proposed that the widespread and pervasive distinctions between people (race, nation, family, profession, etc., etc.) which are now preventing mankind from working together for the common good, and indeed, even for survival, have one of the key factors of their origin in a kind of thought that treats things as inherently divided, disconnected, and “broken up” into yet smaller constituent parts. Each part is considered to be essentially independent and self-existent. (Bohm xi)

We citizens of planet Earth should be daily striving to bridge the chasms that separate us. The way we begin is to bridge the chasm between mind and matter. The so-called mind-body problem is so ingrained in our culture that it will be difficult to overcome. Do not doubt that it will come to pass. Do not lose hope. Truth inevitably rules the day. It may not seem so now, in this current era of corrupt politics, war, and greed. But there will come a day when mind and matter will, again, be seen as one reality and this will change the course of humanity forever. The bridge across this divide is soul.

Works Cited

Christian de Quincey. Radical Nature. Montpelier: Invisible Cities, 2002.

Bohm, David. Wholeness and the Implicate Order. New York: Routledge, 1980.

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