A common way that people have viewed the world is through the lens of animism. Animism is a belief system that is common among hunter-gatherer and forager societies. In animist beliefs all things, living and non-living alike, have spirits. As such, all things are imbued with human characteristics. This completely blurs any sort of separation between culture and nature. The following article discusses animist beliefs in further detail.

Bird-David, Nurit. 1999. “”Animism” Revisited: Personhood, Environment, and Relational Epistemology” Current Anthropology 40(51): S67-S91.


A good case study of animist beliefs comes from the article Chronically Unstable Bodies: Reflections on Amazonian Corporealities by Aparecida Vilaca, an abstract of which can be found here (see #5).



As I point out in this abstract, although the animist beliefs of the Wari are cosmological, they still recognize a very important fact: that any distinct division between culture and nature is illusory.  I am not advocating that everyone drop what they are doing and become literal animists. I am just saying that there are some valuable perspectives here to be considered and that it may be beneficial to, in some way, incorporate these lessons into our ways of thinking about human-environment interactions.