Accepted paper:

The resonance of gratitude in creative practice and the spiritual wisdom of indigenous ways of knowing: a call for an enchanted anthropology


Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes (University of Aberdeen / Universidade Metropolitana de Santos)

Paper short abstract:

I posit that gratitude generates a positive resonance according to many indigenous ways of knowing and that we should reject materialist concepts from Freudian, Darwinian and Marxian theories.

Paper long abstract:

I argue that the spirituality of all beings is certain and that enacting gratitude is central to understanding it. This realization calls for human actions and thought to be aligned and intertwined with the spiritual essence and combined wisdoms of indigenous ways of knowing; this may engender a restructuring of human institutions, a daunting task that can only be achieved through lasting collaborations and work. I adopt a creative and reflexive approach for connecting indigenous ways of knowing with ethnographic work on improvisation, creativity, spirituality and religion. I take into account the Stó:lo notion of shxwelí, the 'spirit power that lives inside everything' (McHalsie 2007), consider my experiences among indigenous wisdom-inspired and spiritualist improvising musicians in Brazil, and how dream experiences affect the life trajectories in which all beings are implicated (Bohm 1980). Understanding and applying the wisdom of gratitude in our lives fosters positive forms of resonance and growth. Anthropology's immersion in colonialist history and scientific modernity demands constant revision and skepticism regarding the concepts we adopt. Thus, we should be ever ready to change our ways of acting and thinking, embracing the 'threat of chaos' that follows from shifting a 'whole system of abductions' (Bateson 1979). We should strive for the re-enchantment of anthropological thinking and the critical transformation of taken for granted scientific theories in biology and cosmology, their concepts and formulations. We should ultimately and decisively undermine atheistic and materialistic beliefs about life, especially those that emerged from Freudian, Marxian and Darwinian notions.

panel Cog07
Throwing together ways of being/meaning: recursive anthropology at the cusp of a paradigm change [Roundtable]