An Enchanted World
From tribal traditions to the scriptures of the great world religions, how humans relate to the world of nature and its meaning has repeatedly occurring. While the materialistic view is more human-centric and deny intrinsic value of the natural world, other cultures and traditions consider the world an enchanted one which has a sacred or spiritual significance to varying degrees. The conflict between the two operating systems circles around whether humans are considered part of a whole or the central focus of the nature. How are the contrasting operating systems related to the cultivation our spiritual capacities? This week’s content will unpack two contrasting ontologies, materialist dualism (disenchantment) and animism (enchantment) and guide you through a spectrum of religions to understand the conceptualisation of the meaning of world and its relation with humans.
READ AND THINK
An Enchanted World
Modern society is dominated by the materialist or naturalist ontology which is underpinned by the dualism between human and non-human, subjectivity and objectivity. The endowment of interiority and subjectivity makes humans radically different from non-humans who solely own material bodies. There is no communication between humans and non-human beings – we live in a disenchanted world. But there was once an enchanted world that sees intrinsic meaning to the communication between humans and nonhumans. How is it different from the conceptualisation of world and living things in dualist materialism? Find out more about the contrasting elements between a disenchanted and enchanted world in this video.
Animism is a prevalent type of enchanted ontology that most hunting and gathering tribes operate in. Humans are not the only conscious beings with desires, emotions and intentions. Typically, the concept of a person is not exclusively associated with a human body. It might take another form of body after death. Such an ontology has changed the cultural practices and relations between man and nature, as opposed to those in a disenchanted world. There seems to be an emphasis on the interdependence between all living beings. This video will unpack animism and allow you to reflect on the operating systems in modern society through the clashes between two ontologies portraited in a Hollywood blockbuster, Avatar, as well as the traditional hunting cultures among indigenous communities in the Arctic.
Back to Eden: the Yearning for Re-Enchantment
Spiritual imagination and struggles inside our own mindscapes are often overlooked in a disenchanted materialist world. Once again, people are searching for a deeper and sacred connection with the world as a way to satisfy us spiritually. The Western mythology, Eden, underpins such a re-enchantment, along with comparable idea in Daoist thought on prenatal and postnatal. They share a connotation that our quest for material knowledge has cost us our spiritual nature and true selves. But is there a way to reconcile the materialist and animalist operating systems? Is the stark contrast between the two inevitably conflicting? Explore more on how the clash of operating systems is portraited in our religious history in both the East and West in this video.
Religion and nature (Daoism)
All beings are originated from Dao and they all share a common circulation of life force. In other words, one life is never separated from another as all are linked in one single flow. The meaning of life and nature is transcendent; when one becomes one with Dao, one becomes immortal albeit a decaying body. Learn more about the conceptualisation of living beings and the delicate connection between life forms and the nature.
Religion and nature (Buddhism)
Buddhism considers all living beings temporary clusters of matter and consciousness that constantly go through the loop of transformation. Reincarceration is another key conceptualisation in Buddhism, that qualities of one life are recomposed in another form other beings after death. All living things are related in one way or another as they form a single chain of being. This video will briefly introduce the meaning of living and spiritual relations between all life forms in Buddhism.
Religion and nature (Christianity)
“In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” The Bible articulated that the world of creation a sacred trust from God to man, who should live in the image of God at all times, including when they deal with all other creatures. This video will introduce some basic conceptualisation of living creatures and their relations with one another in Christianity.
Religion and nature (Baha’i)
The world has intrinsic spiritual value and interacts with humans one way or another. The spiritual nature of humans is deeply connected to the nature. This short clip will introduce how Baha’i faith conceptualised humans having an innate spiritual expression towards the nature and all other beings on the planet.