Eco Animism: The Economy Through Animism and Spirituality?

By Economy

Eco animism or animist economy aims to use the attitude and animist thought and its relationship to the world (in respect of nature, mankind, interactions between cosmic forces) to guide economic choices and managerial methods. The practice of rites and cults is left to the discretion of individuals. This sentence has its importance.

The Ka method is part of this new vision of the business world. It consists in giving a soul to one’s company and personifying it while creating the necessary conditions for its development and fulfillment. The economic agent is identified with its believing individual character. The purpose of this method is to establish the necessary performance for the acquisition of simple wealth; that is, the goods necessary for the unimpeded development of the spirit. It is an objective that can be individualistic or applicable to a group but its implementation remains informal and empirical. The agile development and the lean management are, nonetheless, relevant tools to accompany the development of the reference system or body of knowledge. This current line of thinking has a principal axiom: “the believer’s responsibility is to be fulfilled spiritually and materially”. This implies: “to free oneself from material constraints in order to promote spiritual fulfillment”. This is not an asceticism but a search for a simple wealth that respects a set of informal principles. Material constraints consist, for example, of precariousness, over-indebtedness, overconsumption, difficult access to a decent retirement or the powerlessness to constitute a transferable asset…

It is important to specify in what context animism is used here in a current of economic mind frame. Several oppositions can indeed emerge against a form of traditional religious practice that opposes the dogmas of the main monotheistic religions that influence the world. Nevertheless, it is not a matter of developing a business wisdom but an economic mind frame with its tools, methods and applications that respect the basic sensitivities of certain people.

The uniqueness of God is never called into question in the development of this line of thought. Polytheism differs from animism. It seems to many that polytheism is an involution of monotheism and that certain characters appear at a given moment in history to give a clear reminder of the original conception of the God as Creator, among others, his unicity, his omnipotence and his omniscience.

According to J. C. Froelich in his book “Animisms, the Pagan Religions of West Africa” published by Editions de l’Orante, polytheism differs from the Animism (recall it). The latter can often be seen as monotheism with polymorphic representation. Secondary Gods mediate between men and the great God. To worship God by recognizing the other gods gives rise to what is called “henotheism” by specialists in the field. The God, often the ancestor monitor is linked to the contemporary individual within a group by a long chain. The pantheons thus created are specific to each people including a creator God and often a civilizing hero, or monitor, deified ancestor of men. These secondary gods, forces of nature, invisible geniuses and other creatures, first occupants and master of the land where ancestors are subordinate to the creator.

God creates the soul of the world and the vital force that resides in each element. The lower gods follow as a faithful administration. The vital force is changed by the beings through mankind sacrifices and words. Present since the dawn of time, the vital force allows mankind by respect of the prescriptions to preserve and increase it within the community. The god creator is the first cause and a center emitting original force that feeds a circuit of energy which, starting from him, animates everything and comes back to him. Without being a magician or a sorcerer, we believe that the economy can also displace this force and make use of it. In order to empower people of animist traditions that are often in developing phase (if we can allow this cliché) to take an active part in the globalized economy, it is better in our idea to build the tools, methods and theories that are useful in bringing it to fruition. This is a major challenge for this people or a utopia depending on their belief.

To better understand JC Froelich who opened this presentation to this science in the absence of a contact, to this day, with a traditional and initiatory lineage, the word “animism” defined by the belief in the existence of an immaterial principle of a “soul” residing in beings and all things, visible and invisible. Whether it be for the religions of paganism of primordial cultures or a cosmic vision of the presence of an “elemental consciousness” in the smallest particles of matter, the harmony seems to remain between cultural traditions and living revelation of monotheism.

Going from this explanation in the deeper sense of animism in the usage that it is proposed to do, the economic world ceases to be what we were taught and other perspectives can be open to us without real initiative and in an informal fashion. This new line of thinking among many others can be done wrong or can be above others or stay in between two frontiers: economy and spirituality.

In the conception and learning received, we are expecting to know the laws of the market which guide the liberal world trade or not and, who, the states have a perpetual interaction to create the slightest material richness (GDP, Inc etc.) and to impose international smuggling and to affirm their sovereignty. The secular and refuge currencies such as gold and silver or barter in a local economy are no longer accessible for most peoples attached to their traditions and the passage through a stock exchange listing that is quasi mandatory. It is therefore with the currencies of each region that the methods of commerce for the potential actors interested in taking part. A contemporary adaptation that makes its way in the routine of life of an entire continent and its people sharing the same realities. The habit of adaptation.

The new attitude would be to no longer fear the idea of an economic affirmation and the challenges of advancing states, peoples and civilizations in place of an unrelenting expectation of external aid and to bathe in a resignation and to thus constitute a great inertia. Take charge of its development, its sovereignty and its affirmation; no doubt a matter of pride. United voices from the diaspora and the continent not only African but a continent at the edge of the third or even the fourth world can now contribute to building an alternative to economic currents implacable content that are imposed without the apprehension of its subtleties by the target people because of a lack of realism (of independence?) or by insufficient access to the education systems that are supposed to present these subjects. A gap often separates the leaders and the administrates, elites and popular layers, interests and impotence. It is a long-term adventure for which we must build an empirical science reinforced by the results of specialist work. The contribution of any connoisseur is welcome and examples of large-scale realization such as Wikipedia shows the power of internet interconnection and mutual control. What does it cost to try? Nothing but the comfort of having tried nothing to take away from our own initiatives future generations the heavy toll of the errors of history. Create a synergy between knowledge and a push towards unity. Could this be cleansing economic karma? What do I know? We have to learn from other cultures and to improve ourselves. The initiatives are not waiting on the course of our civilization but do we have the patience to seize them and carry them out?

Africa is home to simple practices that fuel the day-to-day life of informal commerce or traditional societies and life groups. Many peoples have their tradition in trade, agriculture, livestock farming or fishing associated with a subsoil and natural resources still exploitable in a fair way, sustainable and ecological that must be able to fuel a transition to a tertiary sector and thus be a competitive advantage among many of those potential of the Black continent. From Tripoli to Johannesburg via Luanda or Addis Ababa, the inventory and analysis of our domestic practices would be an excellent starting point to take advantage of a cultural wealth and adhere to the good economic thought to create wealth just by our joint efforts.