Existential Tuesday | Is everything somehow alive?

This event was originally scheduled in March but postponed due to illness. This is the new date!

Animism is the belief that all things have a soul or a spiritual essence. Not just humans. Most modern people have the opposite worldview, but anthropologists (in both respectful and disrespectful ways) have pointed to animism as the original spiritual worldview of humanity.

So why did people perceive no real difference between animate and inanimate matter, inert objects and conscious human beings? Did they just not get it, or did they see something we don’t? What does it do to your worldview when you see things as being somehow alive, with agency and free will? Does it change your behavior? Your values? And more interestingly, in a capitalist materialist scientific rational worldview, is it still possible to take that perspective seriously, let alone to experience it for ourselves?

Today we’re gonna try! We’ll have a chat about the animist worldview and the history of religion, and we’ll see if we can try it on for a bit. An anthropological experiment.


Existential Tuesdays are small bi-weekly discussions in the Nook of the TUD Library. Practice your critical thinking skills, learn to see the world from different perspectives, and hang out with your fellow deep thinkers in Delft.

Interested in other events in the Nook? Sign up for the newsletter to find out what else we’re planning.

Join us for a deep dive into the NON-RATIONAL. Check out our programme for the fourth quarter:

April 30th – Existential Tuesday – Have you ever had an independent thought? – the Nook, TUD Library
May 14th – Existential Tuesday – Is everything somehow alive? – the Nook, TUD Library
May 21st – Existential Tuesday – Can you control your feelings with your thoughts? – the Nook, TUD Library
May 28th – Existential Tuesday – Do you trust your gut?  – the Nook, TUD Library

June 5th – VOX Book Club – We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin – the Nook, TUD Library
June 10th – SG Café Het buikgevoel (in Dutch) – Theater de Veste

Visit the location's website here.