Human Dominion Over Nature: A Jewish Psyop That Began With Genesis
THEN AND NOW, the system of thought instituted by Descartes, Bacon, Boyle, and their compatriots has been called the ‘mechanical philosophy,’ because it posits that the universe that is to become the ‘Dominion of Man’ is nothing more than a machine, an inert object that can consequently be observed objectively from without. No divinity, no spirit, no will, no agency, no consciousness, resides within the more-than-human world.
The perennially disenchanted Descartes, finding intolerable the notion that anything in the world could be explained without positing purely corporeal causes, totally devoid of mind and thought, wrote, ‘There exists no occult forces in stones or plants, no amazing and marvelous sympathies and antipathies, in fact there exists nothing in the whole of nature which cannot be explained in terms of purely corporeal causes, totally devoid of mind and thought.’ He went on to say, ‘[Animals] have no mind at all, and it is nature which acts in them according to the disposition of their organs, just as a clock, which is only composed of wheels and weights, is able to tell the hours and measures of time.’ Similarly, for Nicholas Malebranche, non-human animals ‘eat without pleasure, they cry without pain, they grow without knowing it; they desire nothing, they fear nothing, they know nothing’. All these conceptions would have been impossible without the precedent established by Genesis, where the world was an artifact created by a god who remained separate from his creation at the opposite side of an unbridgeable gap.
Only humanity had anything that could rightly be called will, consciousness, or spirit. Since humanity and the world were representatives of the opposing principles of a dichotomy, human ‘subjectivity’ or ‘free will’ was a corollary of the mechanical, objectified nature of the rest of the world. This, too, was dependent on the mythology of Genesis; only humanity was ‘made in the image of God.’ It was also dependent on Aristotle’s confinement of thought to the human mind, with no input from forces and beings outside of itself. ‘I think, therefore I am,’ a statement which Descartes felt to be a self-evident truth, is preposterous outside of this Christian-Aristotelian tradition. Remember the words of Heidegger: ‘We do not come to thoughts. They come to us.’
— excerpted from Love of Destiny: The Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism by Dan McCoy (2013)
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