collapse

Author Topic: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism  (Read 2238 times)

SunflowerP

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8119
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 218
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #75 on: July 18, 2019, 02:14:12 pm »
[belated response, been busy]

That possibly explains a thing or two about your posting habits. Donal, there's no need to apologize for not being able to reply immediately; that's one of the great things about message boards, that people can respond at whatever their own convenience is, without any requirement about promptness. (Someone who objected out loud when the OP of a thread didn't respond immediately would be hearing from a staff member; the non-immediately-responding OP wouldn't.)

Quote
Maybe a partial solution is looking at the difference between Nature and the Artificial as a continuum rather that two discrete categories with no overlap.

This is pretty much what I've figured all through the thread (though I guess I focused a bit too much on the 'not unnatural' angle in my earlier response). I agree with you that it can be useful to have words to distinguish between areas on that continuum, but it seemed to me that you'd created your own dilemma by attempting to divide the continuum into two discrete categories (a false binary, not just because of the continuity of the continuum but because you yourself needed to add further categories, that seemed to be there at least in part to shore up your reasoning for the place you'd chosen to break the continuum), requiring 'reconciliation' only because you'd chosen to see them as mutually-exclusive.

Possibly a bit orthogonal to your initial question, but not irrelevant: I've been repeatedly reminded in this thread of an article I love, William Cronon's The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature. It's long, but well-worth the time to read thoroughly; I think you'll enjoy it as well as  find it useful to your ongoing ponderings in the topic area of this thread, and that many other thread participants will enjoy it too. (I sort of vaguely feel like I might have recced it to you on a previous occasion; if that's the case, please forgive the redundancy - I'd rather rec it twice, than fail to do so at all.)

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Donal2018

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Dec 2018
  • Location: New York
  • Posts: 344
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 64
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Universalist
Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #76 on: July 18, 2019, 06:50:48 pm »
Would it facilitate the discussion to substitute the term "man-made" for "unnatural"? There'd still be the spectrum you discussed, but you'd sidestep the whole "everything is natural" point.

To come back to one of your earlier posts: We share similar origins. I was born in Manhattan, raised on Long Island; I've grown to love the Hudson Valley/Catskills region from much time spent there. But I live in the dense urban landscape of Manhattan, for some 35 years now. I connect with nature in several ways:

--Intellectually. This is where "everything is natural" helps me. By recognizing human activity and creations as just a special case in line with how other species shape the environment, I can situate myself in the natural world intellectually even here in the midst of metropolis

--The Micro/Macro Mind Flip. Signs of a non-man-made environment can be scarce in the city, unless you look high and low, literally. I connect with the sky, the sun, moon, and stars, the clouds...the big phenomena of the heavens that are with us regardless of the urban environment. Conversely, I'll zero in on the bugs that are about, the bacteria I know are in me, on me, and all around me, cityscape or no

--City parks. a godsend.

--Gardening. I'm lucky enough to have a garden, and it makes a huge difference. I think even working with a potted plant on a windowsill would help.

All of that said, I get up into the Catskills (or for that matter, to the beaches of the Island) and I'm blown away anew by the scope and grandeur of a less-man-influenced environment. So my strategies help, but are no substitute for a getaway the wild (or wild-like) spaces.

On a related note, I strive in my volunteer activities to make NYC a greener place. But I also have a growing recognition that the dense urban living results in a much smaller per capita carbon footprint and, as more people live in the city core, better habitat (because of less urban sprawl) just beyond the city. I resist making NYC a denser city, and yet that may be the better thing for the natural environment overall.

Good post. I think that substituting the term "man-made" for "unnatural" is probably a good idea. I also appreciate you noting that we have some similar background. I find that I have to get back to Long Island periodically to see the Ocean vastness and get out of the City environment. I feel a form of psychological ease when I am on the beach near the Ocean. I think as Human Animals we are hard-wired to feel well and right when in a more natural environment. I miss it when I am not there.

I think that I agree with your point that human activity and creations are a special case. I think it was Eclectic Wheel who earlier in this Thread said that the built environment and man-made objects are an extension of nature by human beings. (I hope that I am not mischaracterizing what he wrote). My view is that technology and man-made objects are nature altered and transformed by human activity. Forging steel is taking natural objects (ore) and transforming them thorough fire and craft into something new (steel). In a way, this is an extension of nature, but also something man-made and new, not normally seen in nature.

I am glad for the responses that I got in this thread because some of it is changing and clarifying my own thoughts. I don't mean to be trollish, but part of why I post is to provoke interesting conversations. I am not usually married to my views. My views are always subject to possible revision based upon reason and new information and new perspectives. I appreciate a lot of the posts here on this Thread.

Anyway, I also like to connect with the sky, stars, sun, moon, clouds, in the City and elsewhere. I am very air, sky, and storm oriented. So, we seem to have an affinity for air and sky in common as well. I don't do photos too much, but when I see a beautiful moon or the sun framed by some trees at dusk, I will get out my phone and take a picture.

I do also like to go to the City park here in Town. I also go downtown to the River when I can. There are a lot of parks and nature preserves outside of my City and nearby, but I do not go so much because I don't own a car.

I don't really do gardening myself. I have the opposite of a green thumb. Plants die if I look funny at them. I am also like that with machines. Not handy, and things break on me all the time. I am more into books, pop culture, academics, music.

So, finally, I hope that your volunteer activities in NYC are fruitful and rewarding. Good environmental thinking is the future and is especially needed in urban places. Thanks for your post here. 

Donal2018

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Dec 2018
  • Location: New York
  • Posts: 344
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 64
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Universalist
Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #77 on: July 18, 2019, 07:02:25 pm »

This is pretty much what I've figured all through the thread (though I guess I focused a bit too much on the 'not unnatural' angle in my earlier response). I agree with you that it can be useful to have words to distinguish between areas on that continuum, but it seemed to me that you'd created your own dilemma by attempting to divide the continuum into two discrete categories (a false binary, not just because of the continuity of the continuum but because you yourself needed to add further categories, that seemed to be there at least in part to shore up your reasoning for the place you'd chosen to break the continuum), requiring 'reconciliation' only because you'd chosen to see them as mutually-exclusive.

Possibly a bit orthogonal to your initial question, but not irrelevant: I've been repeatedly reminded in this thread of an article I love, William Cronon's The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature. It's long, but well-worth the time to read thoroughly; I think you'll enjoy it as well as  find it useful to your ongoing ponderings in the topic area of this thread, and that many other thread participants will enjoy it too. (I sort of vaguely feel like I might have recced it to you on a previous occasion; if that's the case, please forgive the redundancy - I'd rather rec it twice, than fail to do so at all.)

Sunflower

Thanks for your good post. I view my original post using a dichotomy between Nature and Civilization as a starting point for discussion, not intended as a hard or final position. So I do appreciate many of the smart responses that I have gotten here. I am always open to discussion and willing to revise and edit my views or initial position. For me this is the fun and purpose of discussion, to hash out the meaning of a topic and hopefully come out of it with an improved understanding.

I have not seen that article referred to before. I don't mind people repeating themselves. The truth always bears repeating, and so do good ideas, books, articles, and references. Anyway, I read the first few paragraphs and it was good. I am just about to go and read the entire thing. Thanks for posting it.

Donal2018

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Dec 2018
  • Location: New York
  • Posts: 344
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 64
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Universalist
Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #78 on: July 19, 2019, 01:54:47 pm »
My view is that technology and man-made objects are nature altered and transformed by human activity. Forging steel is taking natural objects (ore) and transforming them thorough fire and craft into something new (steel). In a way, this is an extension of nature, but also something man-made and new, not normally seen in nature.

I think one thing that I was trying to get to about old technology, ancient science, is that a lot of it arose out of magical practices and proto-science. Pythagorean number mysticism, Alchemy to Chemistry, Astrology, etc.

For example, Metal Smithing was viewed as a magical practice, and a lot of it was about transforming nature (ore) into something new (steel, forged metals) through fire and secret craft knowledge. I think this is a core aspect of Magic- transforming nature into something desired, through will, and often through secret, magical craft knowledge and practices.

As such, in my view there is a connection between Magic and Technology. I find for my own practices, there is a sort of Animistic Power in man-made objects. Old technology, newer technology, it is about power, craft/skill, and will. So, this is a bit of UPG speculation on my part, but I would be interested in hearing other's opinions on it.

An interesting fictional representation of newer forms of technological Powers in conflict with older Powers is Neil Gaiman's book "American Gods". In the book, the declining gods of the Old World are in conflict with the newer, more tech-oriented gods of the New World, America.

Anyway, that is another aspect of Technology and the relationship with Paganism and Magic that occurred to me. I would like to hear your views.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
637 Views
Last post November 29, 2011, 08:11:21 pm
by HeartShadow
0 Replies
2293 Views
Last post June 02, 2012, 12:40:19 pm
by RandallS
0 Replies
1809 Views
Last post June 02, 2012, 02:04:23 pm
by RandallS
9 Replies
1757 Views
Last post August 24, 2015, 03:48:41 pm
by Redfaery
21 Replies
3364 Views
Last post May 19, 2016, 06:11:17 pm
by RecycledBenedict

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 20
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 2
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall