Definition of terms that I use throughout Asperger Human (Better late than never!)
NATURAL: Having a real or physical existence as opposed to one that is spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious.
SUPERNATURAL: A being, location, object, or event that exists outside physical law, and which exists solely within human belief and culture.
MAGIC: A fundamental language of human thought, which seeks to control physical reality through ritual and formulae (spells). Homeopathic magic imitates the desired outcome. Contagious magic uses the “power” of objects that have been in contact with a supernatural source.
ANIMISM: The attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena. The belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.
I believe that the understanding of animism is incorrect, and that the common definition is itself an act of anthropomorphism. Modern conceptions such as “soul” reference human “specialness” and division from nature. “Supernatural power” references a mind-state created by humans (word concepts) that stands outside and above natural law and overrides nature’s ways. These are divisive concepts that do not reflect the profound continuity of early humans with the environment and everything in it. “Spirit” is existence in all its permutations; humans are but one expression of interchangeable matter and energy. “Shape-shifting” is the belief in the ability (of certain people) to connect to other forms through this underlying energy. See Therianthropy.
RELIGION: The ritual presentation of the culture myth. (Joseph Campbell) Magic is basic to the myth and presentation of belief. Modern “-isms” such as Nazism, Socialism, Capitalism, New Age-ism, Patriotism, and Consumerism fit the definition.
MIND: The sum of an organism’s or group’s reactions to the environment. Instinct is the source of automatic reactions; other reactions are learned. Emotions are part of the mind.
CULTURE: The sum of an organism’s or group’s interactions with the environment. These may be instinctual, learned, or invented. All living things have mind and culture; mind and culture aren’t exclusive to humans. A bacterium both reacts to, and interacts with its environment.
CONSCIOUSNESS: A term that is defined and used so broadly that it has become all but useless, due to numerous and contradictory meanings. (See posts on co-consciousness and supernatural consciousness.)
HYPOTHESIS: A rational explanation of an event or observation which must be supported or rejected through further observation and experimentation, which lead to confirmation by other scientists.
SCIENTIFIC LAW: A statement of fact that explains an action or set of actions, often expressed as a mathematical equation. Scientific laws must be simple, true, universal, and essential to science. Familiar scientific laws of nature are Newton’s Laws of motion.
THEORY: A scientific theory is founded on proven hypotheses and explains a group of related phenomena. It must be verified by independent research. The popular phrase “just a theory” suggests that a theory is no more than a guess. This falsehood adds to the confusion among the public as to the value of scientific knowledge.
PRIMATE: Compared to other mammals of similar size, primates have large brains, are slow to mature, have long life spans, and their offspring have a high survival rate. Lemurs, monkeys, and great apes (man) are primates; in total there are 349 primate species.
HOMINID: Any of various primates of the family Hominidae, whose only living members (supposedly) are contemporary social humans. Hominids are characterized by an upright gait, increased brain size and intelligence compared with other primates, a flattened face, and reduction in the size of the teeth and jaw. Besides the modern species Homo sapiens, hominids also include extinct species of Homo (such as H. erectus) and the extinct genus Australopithecus. The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2002.
In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.
Gautama Buddha c. 556-480 BCE