Thursday, March 25, 2004

Evolution of Religion, Spiritual attachment to Land

In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion by Scott Atran

I am not a particularly religious person but have often thought that the concept of the Spiritual must have some deep psychological basis as it is so powerful and universal.

On a related issue it is interesting to consider the notion of a spiritual attachment to a landscape such as within the Maori world view. We appear to have a mental module that finds particular landscapes pleasing - unsurprisingly the landscapes that are reminiscent of the Savannah planes of Africa. Tie such a sensitivity to landscape to a module that spiritualises some things of particular importance - such as the land on which you rely on for your existence - then its possible to come up with something like a spiritual attachment to the land. (This is in no way supposed to be a rigorous scientific argument, just a consideration of some possibilities).

So a consideration of Maori "spiritual values" when it comes to resource management make sense within this framework.

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