The role of identity as cultural and political construct

Huge depletion of energy does give you a shamanistic perspective concerning the underside of society, viewed from a rather weakened position.

But I am assured that I’m on track with my views. I think any society which has internalized as normal a rather extreme condition of mind-body dualism will demand that somebody name their identity before they speak. Thus their speech can then be interpreted retroactively into the identity that is already at least to some degree “known” or much more often presumed, merely, to be known. (The mirror stage of Lacan’s psychoanalysis gives us the capacity to make such presumptions. Yet mirror stage presumptions are qualitatively different from the long and hard process of actually ‘getting to know you’. The latter is empirical rather than ideological — hence my reference to the value of studying history, earlier.)

 Perhaps the animism of more primitive societies has more psychological acuity to it than identity politics (engendered by late Modernism). In my view, identity politics puts the cart before the horse and demands that someone prove the merit of their worth as a human being by engaging in dialectical politics. By contrast, animistic thinking and empirical thinking take Being for granted and analyse what is presented by someone’s actions, in a way that can bypass the demand to make artificial or formal claims about identity.

Recovered Animism

From p 728: Medical Hypotheses (2007) 68, 727–731


Animism is not a religious or philosophical doctrine, neither is it an ‘error’ made by people too young or too primitive to know better; animism is nothing less than the fundamental mode by which human consciousness regards the world [1,2]. Consciousness just is animistic [3,4]. And this perspective is a consequence of human evolutionary history.

Humans evolved sophisticated brain mechanisms for dealing with the complex social situations that formed a dominant selection pressure throughout primate evolutionary history [6,7]; and in animistic thinking these social mechanisms are flexibly applied to interpret complex aspects of the world in general. Information on animals, plants and landscape are fed-into a system that codes them into social entities with social motivations, and models their behaviour in social terms.

Human consciousness is therefore essentially a social intelligence, designed by natural selection for dealing with people, but accidentally highly applicable to understanding, predicting and controlling a wide range of phenomena. Unless suppressed during upbringing, this way of looking at the world is spontaneously generalised beyond the social sphere, so the significant world is seen as composed of ‘agents’, having dispositions, motivations and intentions. Humans see the world through social spectacles [3].

The significant features of the natural world are seen as sentient and evaluated using social intelligence modes of thinking. Therefore, for an animistic thinkers significant events do not ‘just happen’

– like inert billiard balls bouncing-off one another – instead events occur because some entity wants them to occur. Every significant event is intentional and has personal implications. Animism is an extremely effective way of dealing with the natural world under the conditions of hunter–gatherer societies.