What I’m Reading #2

This is a much more random collection of interesting things than last time.

  • Weaponized Fossil Kin and the Alberta Economy: Dr. Zoe Todd explores the indigenous concept of “kin” in relation to petroleum products, geological objects of study, and specifically the culture surrounding the Alberta Tar Sands. Really exciting to me to discover that there’s already a cultural framework for understanding and relating to these kinds of beings as I got hit in the fucking face with it when I brought my first car home a few years ago. (On that note, pagans are eerily and disappointingly silent on the topic of fossil fuels. Tree spirits, rock spirits, they’re sufficiently benign to have opinions on. But the spirits of peat and diesel? Gaskets and engine oil? Let’s just pretend we didn’t hear that.)
  • The Internet As We Know It Is Doomed: The author draws a comparison between the development and collapse of complex societies in the Neolithic to what she sees going on with development of complex societies on the internet. “We’re building technologies that are supposed foster bigger, more complex communities, but instead they are leading us into mistrust, privacy invasion, fragmentation, and loss of shared public rituals.”
  • Elk Heart Tacos: Just a really tasty-looking recipe that reminds me that I want to learn how to cook offal.

One thought on “What I’m Reading #2

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  1. On your first selection: yes, you’re absolutely right, and this has annoyed me for a long time. You’ve got folks like John Michael Greer talking about peak oil and so forth (which is good!), but very few who are actually looking at it in a theological or spiritual light amidst the socioeconomic impacts. I have had more than one conversation over the years with people who claim to be animists as well as polytheists, but then say that “useless plastic junk” is essentially outside of their animistic worldview…and, it don’t work like that, sweetie! Animism is an all-or-nothing concept: either everything has a spirit/soul/etc. (or, if you want to go the “panpsychism” route, everything in the universe has consciousness), and one’s obligations to some things–an empty plastic soda bottle, for example–may not be as great as they are to the trees in one’s neighborhood or the great mountain or river near one’s town, but they are still there, and we do well not to ignore them and remove from our consideration how best to treat those things (including disposing of them properly, e.g. recycling when it is not convenient to do so rather than just throwing them away because we want them gone from our sight, etc., which is another argument I’ve had over and over with some people!).

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