I feel that, of late, I’ve been putting out much theory to the exclusion of praxis. Therefore, this article will attempt to show some practical applications of the animaterialist worldview.
If we believe the universe is a living organic reality, and all things are interconnected, the way we treat all creatures will be affected. Our current milieu, being based on a dualistic materialistic capitalism, acts toward all things with one thing in mind: profit. Its most vocal proponents pay lip service to the Jesus of the Gospels. But the Jesus of the Gospels wanted nothing to do with those who greedily manipulated the people. He spoke out against it time and time again. We should too. If we are related to each other and to all things, as we are, animaterialism necessarily infers we treat all things with lovingkindness, respect, empathy, and magnanimity. This is the primary practical effect of accepting the animaterialist worldview.
There are many areas of life where we can apply this ideal. For one, let’s stop thinking we have dominion over our planet, and that we can treat it in a manner in which we must squeeze the most profit from it. In reality, we are the earth and the earth is us. When we harm our planet, we harm ourselves. I speak only of the earth at this time, but there will come a day when mankind will acquire the knowledge to colonize other parts of the cosmos. These ideas do not apply only to this planet, but to the entire universe. If profiteers believe they can exploit other parts of the universe, they will undoubtedly attempt it. The animaterialist will understand that we are the universe and the universe is us. When we do disservice to the universe, we do disservice to ourselves.
Most of the harm currently being done to our world is because of greed. As the scriptures tell us, “Love of money is the root of all evil.” Well, the root of all evil has greatly damaged our world. It will be up to those who adopt the principles of animaterialism to put a halt to the rape of the planet, and then to repair what has been done, if that is even possible at this point. How do we go about this? Currently, I am not sure. I am certain that violence is not the way. Violence only breeds more violence. I am a great believer in the fact that things change very gradually, over many years, if we continue to sow the seeds of oneness, unity, and love, mighty trees will someday soar into the heavens.
Capitalism is based on a deeply fragmented worldview, where the haves rule over the have-nots. There is a yawning abyss between the two. It is hierarchical, and thus anti-immanence. It is mostly patriarchal, where women are paid much less than men. The upper class rules the lower class and what’s left of the middle class. Capitalists see Nature as something to be exploited for profit, therefore it is perfectly fine to drill for oil anywhere and everywhere; it is perfectly fine to pollute our oceans; it is perfectly fine to pump toxins into the atmosphere, as long as the corporations continue to make a profit. It is wrong, plain and simple. The animaterialist will not accept these things, but will work to change them by either implementing an ethical capitalism (I believe this is possible), or abolishing it altogether in favor of a more equitable system.
I don’t know yet what an animaterialist politics would be like. Socialism has failed so far to make any progress in the battle for ethical treatment of Nature and its creatures. I don’t really think the answer lies in politics, but in a particular mode of consciousness. A majority of people must come to a certain awareness concerning the universe and how it should be treated. This will come with the next evolutionary leap of awareness.
Typically, we think that humans will be the only creatures that will enjoy such a leap of consciousness. I think all things will increase their modes of consciousness. If all things are interconnected, why should everything but humans be omitted from such blessing?
The animaterialist viewpoint sees all entities as possessing value. We are laterally interconnected; we grow toward each other. We respect each other. We do not seek to take advantage of each other, and we certainly do not seek to profit financially from each other.We can begin by simply being kind to others, basically to carry out the Golden Rule, i.e. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is still a revolutionary notion. This principle alone can change the world.
Now, I don’t like labels, so I am not advocating that anyone start referring to themselves as animaterialists. Labels don’t work and they create confusion. It is enough to apply the principles. Think through the ramifications for yourselves. If all things are interconnected, what harm you bring to other entities of the universe, you bring to yourselves. This is nothing new. Sages, mystics, and philosophers have taught this for thousands of years. If enough of us do this, we will truly change the world and the universe.