|Alexanderschlacht, by |
Albrecht Altdorfer (1480–1538)
What I call animaterialism is really very similar to hylozoism. In animaterialism, there are not two distinct substances that compose our universe; there is one. I call it “animatter.” It is not a “substance” in the sense that a substance possesses mass and takes up space. Animatter is not only the material stuff we experience with our physical senses; it also includes all the animative power of Soul. Animation is used in the original sense of the root of the word, anima. This is the Latin word for “soul.” Actually, neither matter nor anima are substances, if we take the meaning of substance to be, “something which exists in such a way as to stand in need of nothing beyond itself” (Descartes). Nothing exists in isolation, therefore, in this sense, substance is devoid of meaning. All animaterial entities need one another for their existence.
If we redefine substance to mean something like, “that which exists in organic unity with all other existents,” then I believe we are closer to the truth of the substance of animatter. There is never a sense of dichotomy in animatter. There is variety, but these are the many faces of the same entity. Just as our Souls have many faces and personalities, so do the Souls of animaterial entities.
Animatter is a potentiality. It has the capability to evolve, arise, emerge into being. It is never a static actuality because change is the nature of all entities in the universe. “Emerging into being” does not mean stasis. It is a nisus, but it never arrives at an endpoint. When we discuss matter, we must also discuss Soul, for they are interconnected and interpenetrate one another. An image I frequently use for this idea is the vortex, or “Soul’s Maelstrom.” The vortex is Giordano Bruno’s Mater-Materia, i.e. “matter mattering.” This is the womb from which all forms arise. Matter and Soul interpenetrating one another and emerging into the animaterial, organic universe.
Animatter is a process that is ongoing and infinite. Nothing exists that is not animaterial. The phrase, “inanimate object” is an oxymoron, since there are no inanimate objects. All entities in our universe are animative, i.e. they are soulful entities. This is akin to the saying of Thales, “All things are full of gods.” We should take no entity lightly; all are important and play a crucial role in the theater of the universe.
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