Animism – the belief of interconnectedness
The brief period between the collapse of feudalism in Europe in the 14th century and the rise of capitalism in the 16th century was characterised by self-sufficiency, the collective management of resources and ecological regeneration. Free peasants across Europe had common access to the land which they managed and sustained.
This time also saw a resurgence of animistic beliefs – the idea that all living beings are interconnected, where humans are part of nature. All elements of the natural world were believed to be sacred and full of spirit. As many people relied on the land for survival, they paid close attention to its living systems and how they worked. Giving back, or reciprocity was important and ensured that anything taken from the land was regenerated.
Dualism – the separation of Man and Nature
However, this began to change when commonly owned land became privatised. Peasants were denied access to these lands and the resources that sustained their livelihoods. Subsistence economies were destroyed, and people had to work for wages to survive. Elites emerged gaining power by commoditising resources and reducing the cost of labour.
The new economic system of capitalism drove a new relationship with nature. During the European Enlightenment, dualist thought dividing humans from nature became mainstream. Only humans were thought to have a mind or soul, whereas the rest of the world was unthinking matter. Once nature was viewed as nothing but a material resource, it could be intensely extracted to depletion.
Understanding ourselves as Nature once again
Deforestation, biodiversity loss, air pollution and climate change are all consequences of this dualist logic. Responding to our ecological crises requires us to think and act very differently than how we have for the past 500 years or so. We need to reimagine ourselves as part of nature.
OnePlanet technology is built on the philosophy that humans are part of the planet’s complex, interconnected systems. None of our actions are isolated. They are all interlinked and have cascading effects. Our technology can help our users to visualise these connections to make better decisions towards a regenerative future.