Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Polytheistic Animism Values the Animal Body

Humans, like all that things that exist, are both matter and spirit. You are an animal, a spiritual animal no doubt, but an animal nevertheless. At one time, all hominins identified ourselves as animals and identified with the animal people. We didn’t have the self-awareness of our spiritual aspects that typifies modern homo sapiens. Over time, we became more highly identified with the spiritual aspects of ourselves, valuing them more than our animal aspects and considering them more real. Every monotheistic religion reflects this belief in the primacy of spirit.

To this way of thinking, spirit is uniquely human, setting us apart from other animals. Spirit is beautiful; the body is disgusting. Spirit is immortal; the body is mortal. Spirit is godlike; the body ungodlike. Spirit is moral; the body is sinful and immoral. Finally, we come to believe that the spirit is good and the body is bad. 

Contempt for the body, however, is not only a religious belief. It is now thoroughly embedded in contemporary Dominator Cultures. Even many Scientific-Rationalists (Sci-Rats) consider the flesh expendable and imagine bodies made of machinery. In fact, denigration of the body is a core belief of all Dominator Cultures, because it justifies and enables the subjection of the many by the few. If the flesh is not intrinsically good, if it’s just temporary housing for the soul, then it does not have to be respected or nurtured. It can be used, like a tool or a source of fuel. 

In particular, our Capitalist Dominator Culture (CDC) turns our flesh into a thing called “labor.” Science, medicine and Christianity all define our bodies as a type of mechanism, but machines are meant to be put to use, so you and I have been trained to offer up our bodies to the workplace. We learn to force them to work when they want to rest, to work when we are sick, to work at dangerous occupations, to work in poor conditions, to work without complaint, to work to an old age, to work at things that we don’t like to do and to work at night or in the dead of winter. We are not allowed to attend to the needs of our bodies in the workplace, or make the needs of our bodies more important than our “responsibilities” to the capitalist machine, and we have all been thoroughly schooled in this from the first time we raised our hands in a classroom to ask permission to pee. 

Polytheistic Animists reject this denigration of the body. We believe that the body is essential, good, beautiful and beloved of the Creator. We would not be human without our bodies, and we will no longer be human when we return our bodies to the earth.

This amazing gift of life in the flesh on the earth is a spectacular roller coaster ride. Our Creator purposely and lovingly gave this to us. It is our right and our duty to give thanks to the Creator for the flesh, and to nurture our bodies and the bodies of all of our human kinfolk in his name.

The flesh is good! Praise to the Creator of the flesh!

Polytheistic Animists value the body highly and seek to protect it from harm. In this way, Polytheistic Animism is subversive of the Capitalist Dominator Culture. If this religion ever began to draw the interest of large numbers of people, they would have shut us down or assimilate us, the way Jesus was shut down and his cross assimilated to justify genocide and hate.

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