Rock persons?

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Rock persons?

Postby tirtlegrrl » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:50 pm

As in mineral deposits, not human music performers. :-D

I have in front of me a book called "Animism: Respecting the Living World" by Graham Harvey, in which he offers an animist worldview as an alternative to our modern consumerist Western one which tends to divide the world into human persons and objects. Having a personal relationship with non-humans does not have to mean you treat them exactly like you would a human (especially if some of those non-humans would eat you, given the opportunity), but according to Harvey it does mean treating them respectfully.

So does the world contain other-than-human persons in addition to human persons? Could we meaningfully say that we have a personal relationship with, say, dogs and cats, but also perhaps trees, rivers, or rocks? (And spirits, if you believe in those.) I might not include rocks usually, and I'm not big on spirits, but I DID name our Christmas tree this year. And we named our Roomba vacuum. A few of my music colleagues have named their instruments. Is that delusional? Mistaken projection? Let me know what you think.

Edit with a further question for Christians: two of the Big Guys in Christian culture, Lewis and Tolkien, have many other-than-human persons in their novels--dwarfs, elves, talking badgers, fauns...do you think that does or should inform how Christians relate to our own world and its various non-human inhabitants?
"I think it was, 'Blessed are the cheesemakers.'" -Monty Python's Life of Brian
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Re: Rock persons?

Postby Jesus Raves » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:42 pm

I'm all for treating other living creatures with respect--something so many of us, including me, fail to do. However. I don't see the point of treating objects as beings; they don't think or feel. I named my car five or so years ago when I got her. I like my car, and it's served me well so far. However, when my car eventually dies, I won't mourn the loss of the car; I'll mourn the loss of the utility it provided. Not long after that, I'll have a new car, and the only nostalgia I'll feel for the old one will be tied to the human memories produced within and around it. Those human connections tied to places, objects, and the like are what makes those things meaningful, in my mind. A tree might be beautiful, but it's not special til I've sat under it while wooing--and being wooed by--the woman that would become the love of my life.
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Re: Rock persons?

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:41 pm

Martin Buber always said we could have an I-thou relationship with say a tree. But to know what he meant I would recommend reading I and thou. Strictly speaking he is a pantheist but I find his ideas fit well with the Christian version of theism.
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Re: Rock persons?

Postby Stacie Cook » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:11 pm

This begs the question.... Are there Paper Persons and Scissors Persons?


Naming things helps to personalize them I think, and even perhaps build a bit of a relationship to the extent possible...
Nearly everything has a purpose. Having a relationship to/with (pick your preposition) a rock may help to see more value in it and how it affects the environment..... Possibly maybe...

And it is fun to name stuff.
Maybe I should name my vacuum and I wouldn't hate it so much.
If you want to meet God... then the cross is the place to which you go. - Alistair Begg
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