Existential Tuesday | Is everything somehow alive?

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.

Check out SG’s related events this quarter on the theme: Posthumanism

According to posthumanism, animals, plants, and objects have rights. Humans are merely part of a greater network in which all things are essentially equal. This requires looking at the world in an entirely different way. Is this the solution to all major crises in the Anthropocene? In this series, through talks, discussions, and art, we’ll explore the consequences of adapting a posthuman worldview. 

 This theme is part of the series For Love of the World, in which we explore alternative stories and forgotten knowledge that can (re)connect us to our world. 

Existential Tuesday: Do we really need hierarchies?                              | Jan 9th                | @ The Nook
Book Club: Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher                                           | Jan 10th             | @ The Nook
SG Café Filosofie | Posthumanisme: de mens in de bijrol                     |  Feb 5th              | @ Theater de Veste
Art exhibition                                                                                                                  | Jan 18th-           | @ The Nook
Existential Tuesday: Can we put the needs of nonhumans first?      | Feb 20th            | @ The Nook
Existential Tuesday: What is the Earth really thinking?                         | March 5th         | @ The Nook
Existential Tuesday: Is everything somehow alive?                                  | March 19           | @ The Nook
Book Club: Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher                                            | March 20th       | @ The Nook

SG Festival For Love of the World                                                                          | March 23rd       | @ Theater de Veste


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