Worlding the Earth

On a hill in Seattle, barely hidden in a cluster of trees, there sits a small shrine. You’ll see it: a pillar of wood and fabric ringed by silver bowls bearing offerings of food, dried herbs, and water. Suspended from the branches of nearby maple and oak swing icons and images, glass and metal catching and reflecting the light in sudden bronze, crimson and blue glimmer. A holy site, a place to honor an ancient goddess, the spirits of the animals she adores, the guardian spirits of the place…

…or maybe just a scratch post some wacko set out for feral cats.

From the Breton village of Plouharnel, follow an ancient track past the 12th century chapel of Sainte Barbe towards the sea. Descend the hill, turn as the sun turns towards the fiercely breaking waves, and you’ll find it–a slate-blue stone well to honor the spirits of the springs. Water trickles quietly under alcoves for candles, for gifts, and for prayers. One evening, as day and summer faded, I offered into its clear waters the hope of another, his desire for certainty, his dreams…

…but maybe it was just some nifty place for a Geocache.

Under bower of tree, amongst towering pillar of grey stone, there was once a small village. Brightly-colored canvas and cloth fluttered in light summer breezes as children played, running from dwelling to dwelling as their parents watched and sometimes smiled. At night, stars wheeled above them, shining alongside the moon, celestial light streaming down to meet the warm glow of their cook-fires. Here was once a village and a world…

…or a homeless encampment that got torn down.

Disenchanting

We make much of our desire to re-enchant the world, but do we fully understand how we actively disenchant it? It’s easy to talk of a “them” or a “they,” to speak in deeply esoteric or philosophical terms about how we’ve managed to mess up our ability to see the Other in the world. But I’m gonna suggest we maybe should start by noting not only how we experience disenchantment, but also how we actively do it ourselves.

Whether one believes in the real existence of gods and spirits, believes in one well-spring of divine being-ness, believes it’s all beautiful and useful metaphor, or any of the combinations thereof, understanding how we disenchant the earth is vital to understanding our relationship to it. If a forest is just wood, meat, and plants, we’ll treat it as such. If a city is merely crowded dwellings, places to work and to be entertained, we won’t care when whole neighborhoods are gentrified, when cultures and traditions are displaced and destroyed.

Actually, disenchantment is precisely the process which makes forests only full of wood, mountains only full of coal and minerals. It’s what turns minority neighborhoods into re-development opportunities, transmutes sites sacred to people into places more valuable for oil or uranium than for the worlds of meaning that have sprung from the soil. Until we understand how we disenchant the world, I don’t think we’ll understand how to re-enchant it, and I think the key to both is understanding how we world the earth.

Worlding

There’s an incredibly useful and beautiful concept the historian Dipesh Chakrabarty borrows from phenomenology: worlding

“[D]isenchantment is not the only principle by which we world the earth. The supernatural can inhabit the world in these other modes of worlding, and not always as a problem or result of conscious beliefs or ideas…gods and spirits are not dependent upon human beliefs for their own existence; what brings them to present are our practices.”

Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, p111-112

We inhabit the places we live, but we also weave meaning around them. Whether they be forests, cities, or sacred sites: by inhabiting them as humans, by experiencing them, we world them. And the way we world the earth depends upon whether we choose to disenchant or re-enchant, whether we wish to embrace the Other or to keep it in abeyance.

Worlding is a social process. It’s the stories we tell about the places we encounter, the sum narrative of our experiences of a place. But it’s also a physical practice—the houses we construct, the shrines we raise, and all the myriad activities and ways we relate to place. It can be psychological, dependent upon our internal thoughts, beliefs, and conceptions. And it is also spiritual, for it is through Place (Nature, Sacred sites, our homes) that we either interact with the Other or wall it from our lives.

Disenchantment has become our default mode of worlding, inherited from the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and Modernity. We’ve learned this from socialization, from our parents and communities, as well as the stories and histories we tell each other. I don’t think it’s something that merely happened to us, but more what also happens through us, an active process, an active choice to reduce the earth to its mere material existence, its mere usefulness. We strip the places we inhabit not just of its resources, but also of its meaning, its Otherness. And as plenty of people have been pointing out, this is probably killing us.

Co-creating

For my first series of posts here as a new contributor to A Sense of Place, I’ll be exploring the process of worlding. I’ll be recounting stories of place, teasing out how we often disenchant our world. Borrowing from history, theory, and story, I’m hoping to explore with you how we can not only stop disenchanting, but also engage in the radical act of re-enchantment. And since I believe we co-create and world with each other as much as with the earth and the Other, I’m eager to hear your thoughts and stories, too.

Be always well!

About Rhyd Wildermuth

An intractable tea-swilling leftist-punk bard, Rhyd Wildermuth has left bits of his heart(h) everywhere—in a satyr’s den in Berlin, hanging from an elder tree over a holy well in Bretagne, scattered in back alleys of Seattle, and lost somewhere in the bottom of his rucksack. He’s devoted to Welsh gods, breathes words, makes candles, plays recorder, fumbles with tech, and refuses ever to learn to drive. He also writes at paganarch.com.

  • Julian Betkowski

    I would be interested in hearing how you think technology relates to this process. I think that too often we deride the influence of technology while simultaneously relying on it for the most fundamental elements of our lives. Do iPhones disenchant or are we just using them badly?

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Oi–I completely intend to talk about technology at some point, particularly in the way it mediates our experiences of place.

      I’ll say this, though: if the purpose of smartphones is to wall
      ourselves from the experience of place and the presence required to
      experience the Other (and even an other), then they are certainly being used as directed!

      • Julian Betkowski

        Well, I think you might be giving the designers and manufacturers too much credit if you are assuming a purpose behind these devices. I suspect that such technology is created as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. Indeed, I think that our materialist culture tends to reduce possessions to ends, rather than means.

        • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

          Oh! Lacan’s “object petit a” is useful here: we attempt to world through technology, forgetting it to be a mere symbolic universe untethered from the Real, setting up the cyclical spiral of unmet desire which creates more. Like pornography and masturbation, or diet soda.

          Worlding is so ubiquitous, so vital to human existence that we forget we’re doing it. The tech is the end in itself, yes, but our use of it is of displaced worlding. Disenchantment, yes, but within a kind of enchantment (or, better said, ensorcellement…)

          • Julian Betkowski

            Ah! It’s been years since I’ve heard someone bring up Lacan in conversation! I might counter with phenomenology, however, and assert that the experience of the world as mediated through technology can be just as authentic as the unmediated experience. Is the action by which we “world” a digital space the same action we apply to a physical one? Is the road side shrine necessarily more worlded than the digital representation?

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            Just mulling that over while making tea.

            Yes. Also, no. They are both worldings–however, one is tethered to the earth. A physical shrine is inscribed into the Real and interacts with the earth. Does a virtual shrine channel the solar and telluric currents? Attract spirits? Take in the elements?

            If the Other is “only in our head,” then there is no difference. If it exists actually as Other, through the Real, then the physical shrine does something that the digital shrine cannot. But it depends, too, on whether one thinks the Other actually exists.

            I’m courting controversy here…already.

          • Julian Betkowski

            Couldn’t the Other attach itself to digital spaces just as effectively as physical ones? Does the Other inhabit that space, or does it inhabit our experience of that space?

            I ask these questions because I’m not sure that you have defined the Other as anything other than an Essence. I am generally opposed to Essences, but how is the Other distinguished from the Neo-Platonic One? If they are roughly analogous, then the Other can “presence” equally powerfully in the physical and digital without being a purely psychological construct. However, I fear that an Other so conceived would have other deleterious effects on your position.

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            By The Other I mean both the “supernatural” (gods and spirits) as well as the realm from which they spring. Though separate and independent within, it’s sometimes experienced/perceived as a Whole (Monism) because of its co-existence and co-creation, or as projections from within (materialism/archetypalism) because of its inner co-dwelling.

            Opening gates to The Other to inhabit our existence will look different according to the beliefs of the “enchanter.” Think of a forest. It’s an abstraction and an independent totality at the same time, while also being independent trees, plants, soil, springs, streams, wind, animals, hills, etc. etc. The gods, spirits, energies, fae, ancestors, etc. consist The Other as the trees consist a forest while not being fully defined by it. Are they the same thing? Is it redundant to say The Forest and Everything in it? It may not be.

          • Julian Betkowski

            See, I think that you are splitting the difference, here, and aren’t ending up quite where you want to…

            It seems that you talk of the Other as an experience or set of experiences, in which case the underlying cause is free to drift. However, if you mean the Other to be something concrete, then it is a cause in itself. Indeed, I’m not sure that it is fruitful to try and collapse so many things under the same signifier, as you run the risk of washing away some of their individuality.

            If the Gods are not distinguishable from the ground on which they stand, then you are suggesting a kind of monism. The forest does not negate the individual identity of the tree, and the tree can be resolved from the forest and analyzed on its own: the part to whole relation can be maintained. By using the Other as you do, I fear you risk negating the part to whole relationship.

            Further, I am not sure that it is apparent that the relationship of God to Other is like the relationship of tree to forest. If men are ends in and of themselves, then surely the same can be said of Gods. Therefore, the Gods are not caught up in the composition of something else, but complete forms in and of themselves.

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            Before we get too lost in the Forests of Theology… :)

            No, good points. But I stand by my use of the Other, and my metaphor of the forest for a particular reason. Gods aren’t trees, of course, nor do they spring from the totality of the Other (any more than a tree springs from the forest). The same can be said of spirits.

            A physical shrine can be dedicated to a god, spirit, fae, or merely to raise certain energies (standing stones, etc.). Raising, tending, venerating at, etc., shrines, then, is a physical practice of Worlding the Other into the Earth, of Re-Enchanting. The shrine isn’t the end goal, nor is the re-enchantment, nor the worlding, and the fact that the shrine gates many different things doesn’t mean those are all the same thing or all made of the same essence. They all share one characteristic, though, which is being (of/from the) Other.

            But merely being Other shouldn’t mean we claim them all to be the same, or of the same substance, or mere facets any more than a tree is a mere facet of a forest. Each tree consists the forest, and we use forest to (artificially) abstract all the things which consist it (including but not limited to our experiences of it).

            Just as it is problematic to say “the forest is only my experience of it” or to say that “trees are just part of the forest,” statements like “the gods are just part of the Other” (monism) and “the gods are only in my experience of the Other” (materialism/naturalism/humanism) seem like failing to see the trees on account of the forest.

          • Julian Betkowski

            For as long as we have known each other, I think I have ragged you on your use of the other, and I really don’t have any inclination to stop now.

            As you explain it, the Gods are from the Other in the same way that Terry is from Chicago. However, it is not entirely sensible to refer to Terry as Chicago in anything but a poetic or literary sense, and even then only if the linkage between the two is sufficiently strong to bridge the meanings. Are you suggesting a metonymic use of the Other?

            If neither the shrine, nor the re-enchantment, nor the worlding are the goal, then what exactly is the goal if not the totalized experience? If experience is the goal, does it really matter what that experience attaches to?

            I would suggest a third possibility, a phenomenological one, that merely states “the Gods are experienced in or through the other,” without relying on exclusionary terms like just or only. Thus the experience of the Gods is not challenged, nor is their existence constrained.

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            You have indeed…there’s epic documentary evidence both of said disagreement and also of our mutual stubbornness. :)

          • Thisica

            I consider that other Beings exist on their own terms and thus as a consequence we should respect their existence. No need for an instrumentalist-like justification–it’s having respect that counts. This may be construed in either religious or non-religious terms, but I see this as the reality. It’s a relationship between humans and non-humans that constitutes such respect and deserves to be more in consciousness. Having respect for other Beings requires an understanding of how they live in the world alongside us, which can take different forms of human activity appropriate to the kind of Beings we encounter. Then we try to do our part by appropriate means, such as reducing our dependency on buying things needlessly or worship by building a shrine (preferably make out of biodegradable material). There’s a lot of scope for re-enchanting the world, but it does require us to do the hard work. It isn’t easy, but its worth it (or so I hope to convince myself, as a group of persons coexisting within the skin of the human animal).

  • http://www.alwayssababa.com/ lishevita

    Welcome to the blog, Rhyd! I’m looking forward to reading more.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Thank you! I’m honored to join you fine folks!

  • Dana Corby

    Lovely first article. I’m looking forward to reading more.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Thank you!

  • CBrachyrhynchos

    “If a forest is just wood, meat, and plants, we’ll treat it as such.”

    As sacred because wood, meat, and plants are inherently sacred.

    Ecological materialists are well aware that when you kill a tree, you kill a unique Being and its relations with other Beings. And honestly, we’re a trivially small minority in a culture where ecocide is justified by a matter/spirit duality. The problem from my perspective isn’t how to re-enchant the world, it’s how to de-enchant humanity (or at least get humans to responsibly recognize non-human things.)

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Hello!

      I’ve spent a significant amount of time trying to understand the naturalist perspective, in some cases reading back years worth of archives in order to understand precisely how what, in my estimation, seems to be the very mechanism which strips the world of its meaning can somehow also engender respect for the the earth and the people who world it. That is, materialism, eco- or otherwise, appears to be the specific de-sacralizing force.

      But another question (and I ask these earnestly, because earnest people hold to this position)–how does materialism fit into an appreciation of nature? I’ve not found a satisfactory answer yet from my readings, but I’m happy to read more, particularly to understand this matter. Any essays you can point me to would be greatly appreciated, as I’m sure there must be more material out there than I’ve seen.

      Thanks for reading this, by the way. My next post deals heavily with materialism and worlding, so I’m sure we’ll have more to discuss!

      • CBrachyrhynchos

        For over a century we’ve been the Cassandras of ecological politics. We’ve pointed out that there’s no exit strategy for life on earth. We’ve explained that you can’t destroy communities that had their origins in Deep Time and rebuild them within the scope of human history. We’ve looked further back in Deep Time to the Permian, an event that dwarfed the KT Boundary in destruction of living species, and pointed out the stark choice: act now, or be the agents of a future genocide.

        The hard lesson of materialism is that we’re not special. We’re not uniquely gifted by the breath of life, not in a unique communion with divine forces. Everything that makes us human can be found elsewhere in the living world. We are flickering singularities in Deep Time, interdependent with other Beings and Forces. Why not listen to them? Why not venerate them?

        The other hard lesson is that actions matter. You can apologize to a spirit. You can’t apologize to something you killed. It’s dead. It’s gone, and a community with roots in Deep Time is permanently changed as a result.

        I don’t feel I have a choice. They speak, I must listen or go further mad. Their lessons defy human metaphor and athrocentrism. They are what they are. They say what they say.

        I’ll admit that a fair bit of personal dislike of god-language and spirit-language comes from cognitive dissonance between my culture and what those Beings are. And a fair bit comes from the fact that using god-language is an invitation for active gaslighting and bait-and-switch apologetics.

        So, Tree is A Tree, Mouse was A Mouse, Ice is Ice, and I am beholden to Them.

        • CBrachyrhynchos

          The people responsible for stripping the forests of my home land and using sinkholes for their industrial waste were not remotely materialists. Most were monotheists who treated the trees and cave systems as divine providence made manifest for their convenience. The materialists of my acquaintance generally regarded the destruction of communities that were created in Deep Time for the sake of short-lived industries to be an ugly mistake.

          I suspect most of this debate is fueled because antitheism and its arguments gets almost all of the noise. Earth-centric humanists tend to have strong values regarding Deep Time histories, ecological diversity and interdependence, and ecological justice.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    I hope many Pagans will find their way here and read this and take this message to heart.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Thanks for those words!

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Also, it looks like we should all read your rather profoundly erudite blog–it’s epic, and I now know what I’ll be wading through for the next week or so!

  • Nick Ritter

    I greatly enjoyed this essay, and I look forward to what follows. Throughout, I was struck by the similarity (perhaps identity) of the term “Disenchantment” and the term “Entgötterung”, which is the one I usually use to refer to this problem. The goal I have in common with others is then “Wieder-eingötterung”.

    I was also struck by the connection between some of the lines of thought you present here and some of Heidegger’s work, particularly the essays “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” and “The Question Concerning Technology”.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Hi, Nick!
      I’m honored!

      Yes, Entgötterung seems identical, and perhaps better, since one of the modern connotations of “enchantment” is falsehood. That’s primarily why it seems essential also to talk about the process of Worlding.

      And, yes, Chakrabarty (a great read and a brilliant historian) borrows and expands Heidegger’s concept. Heidegger’s work seems to be quite useful in explaining the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, and I fear I’m under-studied in him (I’m a Hannah Arendt man, m’self). Julian Betkowski’s (of Syncretic Electric here on Agora) personal blog may be of interest to you regarding Heidegger.
      Also, Lacan and Zizek are equally useful, but that’s for another post. :)

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Very interesting!

    Of course, you had me with the first paragraph: now I’m going “where is that and how can I get there?” ;)

    Perhaps us Seattle-area Patheos contributors should have a mini-social/convention at some stage, because there’s more of us than may be apparent.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Hi! I’m humbled that you found this interesting–I’m a huge fan of your work.

      Unfortunately, I’m no longer in Seattle–sort of on a pause in a long pilgrimage. But I’ll email you directions to the shrine–it’s been awhile since I’ve been there, and I hope it’s still being tended to!

  • Y. A. Warren

    What a wonderful word is “worlding.” I especially like this quote, “We inhabit the places we live, but we also weave meaning around them. Whether they be forests, cities, or sacred sites: by inhabiting them as humans, by experiencing them, we world them. And the way we world the earth depends upon whether we choose to disenchant or re-enchant, whether we wish to embrace the Other or to keep it in abeyance.”

    We humans seem to find the sacred only in that in which we have a creative hand. This creation impulse that we are losing touch with in ourselves is what I refer to as “The Sacred Spirit” in my book, “We’re Already Eternal.”

    It is we that are sharing our sacredness to that which is outside ourselves by the energy we exchange with other manifestations of the eternal universal energy that makes up all matter and beyond.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Hello!

      I’m glad you liked those words!

      You’re right, I think. Humans sometimes don’t acknowledge the sacred which already exists, or places where the Other seeps (or sometimes pours!) through. Also, though, one of my main concerns is how we forsake and forget our ability to world the Other into the earth, erecting shrines and temples where gods and spirits linger, whispering just beyond matter and energy, willing and eager for humans to engage to co-create with them.

  • Thisica

    I recognise the uniqueness of everyone, regardless of what or who they are. We also share a collective natural history which I can’t help but in awe of as a naturalist. It is this kind of respect for our collective material existence which is missing in how a lot of people in modern life live. This has been encouraged by attitudes that are oriented towards short-term goals and money, which distorts our view of the universe.

    For instance: when a person is indebted, they see the future as quite bleak and can’t help but focus solely on staying alive through working low-income jobs–which is plentiful, yet not so healthy to work in. They won’t have the time to focus on non-instrumentalist actions, such as shrine dedication or visit a national park. This is the political-economy of our time: of more work for less pay, indebtedness in part due to low wages, bad taxation policy driven by the rich, the predatory nature of the finance industry, etc. These issues are not far from my mind when people complain about modernity been not so good for our relations with the biosphere.

    In other words, I don’t think that the idea of materialism has destroyed this sense of meaning in the world, but that of our arguably dysfunctional society that we have unconsciously built during the past few centuries. If we are going to change, we need to take a sober look at where all of this sense of loss of meaning comes from and recognise, in part, the need for a sober history of the past few centuries–as much untainted by our prejudices as possible. Out of this, we can start to consider the actual worth of some of the activities that we are continuing on mostly unconsciously.

    The Enlightenment, for me, comes with a mixed bag of legacies. Out of came the important rise of democracy and scientific research which has allowed us to peer deep into the universe’s past, thereby removing old prejudices about how we exist in the world. But the Enlightenment also came with it the sheer optimism that by reason alone, all of society’s problems could be fixed. Leibniz thought that this was true to an extreme: he considered the construction of a universal alphabet that would clearly distinguish different ideas. We now know, in retrospect, that that couldn’t be true…and by the sober understanding of human nature–through research, we now know why (to some extent). Another legacy of the Enlightenment was that of the rise of modern capitalism, which as we’ve seen has brought both good and bad things.

    This is what I see about our past, as through the Enlightenment. We must not think of these individuals back then as absolutely mistaken nor definitely right about things. Unfortunately, your post has somewhat given me a sour taste about this.

    After all, it is because I care about such matters, especially that of giving respect to non-humans, that I have been wrestling with the creation of a private practice to honour such sentiments and values.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      I’m sorry for the sour taste. I’m fond of sour, though–our modern world has become too cloyingly sweet and now lots of people have diabetes.

      Chakrabarty has an essay which might interest you and which addresses this question further. It’s called The Climate of History, and he points out that all our freedoms are derived from the same thing which caused us to become climate agents–that is, technological growth and industrialisation caused by our use of fossil fuels, our unfortunate belief that we can better ourselves by raping the earth.

      The enlightenment amuses me. In the ancient Breton city of Quimper there’s a hill where a goddess was worshipped. The christians built a monastery and dedicated it to Sainte-Thérèse, and then it was re-dedicated to the enlightenment’s goddess, reason. So, now you can walk along la rue de la déesse at the foot of an ancient pagan hill topped by a monastery of a syncretized goddess. The goddess is still there, of course, and the attempts to uproot her help attest to her.

      Also, I see nothing good in Capitalism, and it amuses me not one bit.

      But you do bring up something I’ll write about later–worlding is a political act.

      • Thisica

        I find capitalism to be not one big thing. There are lots of varieties of capitalism, from more socialised forms in Northern Europe to the very financialised form in the United States. However, the major issue that I see in capitalism…is that it encourages us to feel deficient and in the process of feeling that way, encourages us to buy stuff to fill in that sense of deficiency or emptiness.

        • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

          Ooooh! Have you read Zizek’s take on that process of desire meeting false fulfillment thus creating more desire? Lacan’s ‘objet petit a’… it’ll be in an upcoming post. It’s delightful. :) (not the post–I haven’t written it yet!)

          • Thisica

            I haven’t read Zizek’s works, frankly. But yes, I find this vicious cycle of disappointment => buy stuff => disappointment quite saddening. If only I can find a way out of this mess! And yet I cry…

            This desire for more is part of the capitalistic dynamo, I reckon and an integral part to it too. This is why the whole idea of economic growth is insane, from just considering how the universe exists, yet hardly questioned in economic circles.

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            There’s two ways of seeing this problem, both useful and both probably correct. Adam Smith’s description/justification of Capitalism was the “imperative of improvement” (Ellen Meiksin Woods’ The Origin of Capitalism: a Longer View is great for this). Capitalism requires that we constantly produce more each year than the last in order to compete with everyone else doing so–we don’t really have much choice in the matter. Inflation is a minimal indicator of this problem–if I make 20k/year the rest of my life, I’ll be making less in 10 years than I do now–therefore, I must always be making more. The progress narrative is also wrapped up in this imperative.

            Objet petit a is also fascinating. Simply put, Capitalism generates symbols for our needs/desires which represent the fulfillment but do not fulfill. Because our own apparent means of gaining fulfillment for those needs is through Capitalism (we’re all born into it and have no option except starvation), we constantly pursue representations of our fulfillment, find ourselves unsatisfied, but put that excess desire back into capitalist exchange.

            You mentioned earlier the deficiency that Capitalism engenders–have you read any of the histories of how deodorant and personal hygiene products were marketed? A horrifying example is how Lysol (an American disinfectant spray used to clean toilets) was marketed to women as a feminine hygiene product–the adverts all suggested that a woman’s failure to sterilize her reproductive parts was the cause of failed marriages and her husband’s infidelity. A brief internet search for “Lysol Feminine Hygiene” will yield a wealth of sorrow.

            Much of this sort of thing could be summed up as a project to help divorce us from nature and our existence within nature. The same thing still happens, but they’ve gotten much better at becoming subtle.

          • Thisica

            I can’t help but think of such trends as conspiratorial, as if we have no agency at all. I sometimes, in more darker moments, think that the only way that all of these issues can be resolved is via impersonal forces–either via gravitation from a asteroid hitting the planet, or via electromagnetism+gravitation together with the climate crisis. I can’t hope anymore, but live–and so is every living and non-living persons, as a consequence of such forces of nature. This is how pessimistic I sometimes become. As I know so much about such things and feel so much, it becomes overwhelming and the only thing that I can do is just to forget it all. You see the sadness of a person right here, crying as I type…

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            Understandable. I was actually thinking one of the next posts would be specifically about despair; it’s crippling, huh? It does seem awfully hopeless.

            That being said, it isn’t, otherwise we’d all have given up on the matter already. One of the most profound things I did for myself (and also for my gods, as I’m a polytheist) was to go on a pilgrimage to holy sites to see that, actually, the disenchantment of the world isn’t total, that there are places where the Other still breathes through the earth and you almost can’t stop yourself from feeling it in those places.

            Besides; nigredo is the first alchemical process, or “the dark night of the soul” is the first moment of opening.
            Do have hope. I do–and I might even have enough for others. :)

          • Thisica

            Or as I say: the first step in addressing problems is acknowledging them and getting some sense as to what the problems actually are.


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