"All  Rationalist Doctrines Necessarily End In Nihilism"

(Authored by Salvatore Folisi under his pen name Xander Stone. Appeared in Adbusters Magazine, issue #84, July/August 2009.

The modern Western mind operates mainly through the channels of rationality and reason. Because we seem to have attained a status of virtual mastery over our environment to acquire what we need or want, we have little interest in the more profound dimensions of that living environment—the limitless beings of nature, or of our potential relationship with those beings, or forces, that surround us—with whom we live and die, and upon whom we depend for our ongoing existence. However, regarding the whole of humanity over our entire span of evolution upon this planet, the modern Western perspective may in fact be the exception to the general rule, an anomaly, or at least merely one perspective among many that have served and in various ways enriched humanity down through the millennia. 

Pre-Western views on humanity—which have also been termed “native,” “indigenous” and “primitive”—emphasize the faculties of intuition, sensation and feeling more potently in their focus upon the interrelationship of human beings with the multifarious manifestations of the natural world. Pre-Western perspectives also employ these faculties in discerning spiritual forces at play through this world of created forms, of living creatures whose life-force, according to these perspectives, is both a mystery and a blessing and whose origins can possibly only be imagined. 

In his autobiography, Lame Deer Seeker of Visions, the 20th century Native American Indian yuwipi, or shaman/healer, states, “The spirit is everywhere. Sometimes it shows itself through an animal, a bird or some trees and hills. Sometimes it speaks from the Badlands, a stone or even from the water.” In these paradigms of coexistence within the web of life, human beings take what they need, with a certain measure of piety, from the world of living creatures. They also have particular, even religious, ways in which they give back to the earth and so to the spiritual presences or realities, which are intuitively felt to have expressed themselves through the earth. Therein lies a profound difference, which distinguishes the pre-Western from the modern Western mind set. 

In essence, what modern civilization feeds the planet is mainly poison. Not only that, we are taking more and more and more through our constant “development” of land, deforestation and overall mining of the earth’s natural resources. Although we tend to believe that we have evolved beyond the mentality and overall capacity of the pre-Western mind-set, there is obviously much we can learn from rudimentary reflections upon their everyday practices. And though we triumph the victory of reason and rational thinking over the “foolish and outdated” ways of primitive cultures—with their superstitions, rituals and symbolic thinking—it is obvious that they still have some very important lessons to teach us. 

Salvatore Folisi AKA Xander Stone 

(This article was taken from a larger essay by Salvatore, entitled "Giving Back To The Earth: A Reciprocal Way Of Being In A One Way World." Adbusters re-titled the essay.)