Animal Crossing and Essentialism

In this past year, the game, Animal Crossing, or どうぶつの森 (Doubutsu no Mori) in Japanese, has become extremely popular. It came out on the Nintendo Switch right as the pandemic was starting, and it seemed the perfect game to help people pass the time and get through the forced isolation.

To be honest, I have only begun to play this game a couple of months ago, but I have to admit that I have been playing a lot during this time. One of the things that occurred to me as I have been playing is that this game is a great analogy for understanding the concept of Essentialism.

Animal Crossing Explanation

For those of my readers who are not familiar with Animal Crossing, it is a simulation game on the Nintendo gaming system. There have been several incarnations of this game. The most recent one on the Nintendo Switch is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or in Japanese, あつまれどうぶつの森 (Atsumare Doubutsu no Mori).

In New Horizons, you start on a Deserted Island Getaway Package, and over time, you develop the island. Animals that talk, walk on two legs, and wear clothing share the island with you and more join you as the game progresses.

There is not really any set goal or objective to the game, but there are short and long term goals. One of the long term goals is to achieve 5-star island status. When that goal is reached, Lilies of the Valley begin to grow on the island.

Metaphor for Essentialism

In many ways, Animal Crossing mirrors the physical world. The game happens in real time based on the internal clock on the Nintendo Switch. The scenery changes with the seasons, and there is the option for the island to be set in either the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere.

I actually have two islands, one that I share with my spouse on the Northern Hemisphere, and one that I have to myself on the Southern Hemisphere.

There are also other things that are almost too much like the physical world. You need tools that break on a regular basis. Much of the time is spent making money to pay an ever growing mortgage to the tanuki in charge, たぬきち (Tanukichi) in Japanese, Tom Nook in English. Your animal villagers have interpersonal interactions with you and with each other, and these interactions are not always pleasant..

Yet, there are many, many things about Animal Crossing that are clearly not reflective of the physical world, including the walking, talking animals that wear clothing.

Flowers blossom in every season, even in the middle of winter.

If you plant trees, they are fully grown and bearing fruit within three to four days, and money does actually grow on trees.

There are some things that you can learn about the physical world from Animal Crossing. If you donate bugs, fish, and fossils to the owl museum curator, フータ (Fuuta) in Japanese, Socratés in Spanish, and Blathers in English, he will give you a short speech telling you about them.

Even so, the information is limited, and if one were to base their knowledge of the physical world on Animal Crossing, one would have some very mistaken and skewed ideas.

Essentialism and Modern Science

The primary premise behind Essentialism is that the world of the senses is only a small portion of all of existence. There are other worlds beyond the physical universe and there is an Ultimate Reality behind all of the worlds.

The sensible world has roots in the Ultimate reality, as do all of the various physical forms that we can encounter. On the other hand, they are not the Ultimate Reality, only a reflection of it.

By design, Modern Science is limited to the physical world. It is limited to that which can be observed and measured and to rational conclusions that can be drawn from these observations and measurements.

In a sense, it would be like having a person playing Animal Crossing observing and cataloging everything that could be found in that world. Indeed, there are a great many people who do just that.

Yet, they are aware that there is a physical world beyond the game world, and no one would think that the Animal Crossing world is all that there is.

The methodology of Modern Science is appropriate to learn about the physical world, but Essentialism teaches that this world is only a small portion and does not represent Ultimate Reality. There is nothing wrong with it per se, and it can be quite useful and beneficial.

On the other hand, it can say nothing about anything that is beyond the physical world.

See also:

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos, Part III: What is the Earth?

The Image of the Cosmos

Essentialism, Rationalism, and Post Modernism: A Parable

Astrology and Authority

In this video, I examine a subject that is at the very basis of the craft of astrology, and that is what one excepts as authoritative and persuasive. This goes to the heart of the differences among the various branches and types of Western Astrology.

The Nature of Time and the Illusion of Progress

Here is the latest video on the Essentialist Astrology Channel:

For more information on this subject, see:

Guénon, René, The Dark Age, The Crisis of the Modern World, Sophia Perennis, 1942

Trent, Alice Lucy, Cycles of Time, The Feminine Universe, The Golden Order Press, 1997

Kali Yuga: The Patriarchal Dark Age

Satya Yuga to Kali Yuga: Gold to Iron – the True Pattern of History

The Unfolding of the Ages

The True Meaning of Evolution

Plato’s Perfect Forms vs. Jungian Archetypes

Here is this week’s video which discusses the differences between Plato’s Perfect Forms and Jungian Archetypes.

See also:

Original Forms/Archetypes

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos, Part IV: The Sphere of the Moon

Here is the next video in this series, The Sphere of the Moon.

See also:

The Image Sphere

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos, Part II: Plato, Aristotle, and Perfect Form

Part Two of the series about the Traditional Model of the Cosmos is now ready. This one gives a brief description of the differences between Plato and Aristotle on the subject of Perfect Form.

For further reading, see:

Robert Hand, On Matter and Form in Astrology

Traditional Science, Quantum Physics, and Simulated Worlds

The Traditional Model of the Cosmos, Part I: Brief Description of the Model

Below is the first installment of a series on my new YouTube channel, Essentialist Astrology, about the Traditional Model of the Cosmos.

It is my intention to have new videos on this channel every Friday afternoon.

Next week’s episode will be Part II: Plato and Aristotle.

The Home and the Marketplace

One of the important teachings in Filianism relates to the interaction between the home, or the Hestia, and the marketplace, or the Agora. Both are necessary for us, but in many modern cultures, there is a huge imbalance in how we treat both. The Agora is seen as central and more important than the Hestia. Filianism teaches that the reverse is true, that the Hestia is central and primary and that the Agora is secondary.

The Year of Sai Rhavë

In the Filianic calendar, the year starts on March 21, which is the day that we ritually celebrate Eastre and the Equinox, regardless of the day that the Equinox actually falls on, which varies from year to year. The day of the week that this day falls on is the first day of the week, and the Janya, or Great Angel, that rules that day is believed to govern the year.

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This year, March 21 fell on Saturday, so the Janya of this year is Sai Rhavë, whose planet is Saturn.

On my astrology site, I talked about the astrological chart for the physical Equinox. If you are interested in reading it, here is a link to that article:

Aries Ingress 2020 – A Time of Testing

Yet, as a Filianist, I also believe that the Janya who rules the year also takes on added significance during the year.

Sai Rhavë is a severe Janya, and She often makes life difficult for us on the physical plane. Even so, She is necessary and a manifestation of Dea. Her lessons are important, even if they are not ones that anyone would wish for.

As we start this year, for most of us, the themes of Sai Rhavë are quite clear. All around the world, people are in quarantine and isolation due to a rampant pandemic that is sweeping the world. The Rhavic symbolism behind this is obvious.

Yet, as is always the case with Sai Rhavë, we can also learn some very important lessons from the experience.

I believe that one of these lessons is the importance of the Hestia, as well as a deepened appreciation for the sectors of life that are traditionally associated with the Feminine Principle.

What is Essential?

In the state of the U.S. that I live, we are under a “stay-at-home” order. All businesses, except for those deemed “essential” are closed down. In effect, the Agora has been effectively shut down. It is interesting, though, to learn what business activities truly are essential.

Of course, in this crisis, medical care providers are essential. Yet, the businesses that directly support the Hestia are also essential, such as food providers, store clerks, and sanitation workers. Many of these people do not generally get much respect in our society, but during these times, they have been heroic in helping to provide for our comfort and our needs, risking their own health and safety.

Teachers and those who care for children are also getting new respect as parents are attempting to teach their children at home.

In addition to those who are still at work, we are also learning about what it is that we actually need, as well as the strange things that we think that we need.

Most of those in the U.S. have never really experienced shortages. We might be limited by our financial resources in what we can buy, but there has always been the sense that we could buy whatever we needed or wanted if we could afford it. Now, we are discovering that many things are quite difficult to find.

One of the stranger things has been just how important people seem to find toilet paper, which has now become a scarce commodity. Although, I remember many conversations with my late grandmother in which we talked about a new invention or technology, and she recounted to me that she remembered when they invented toilet paper. I wonder what she would say about all of this.

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Taking Stock of our Personal Hestia

Now that many people are at home, we are gaining awareness of our own Hestias and our own immediate families. There are those that are experiencing loneliness and boredom, particularly those that live alone. There are those that are having to be together with people that they have spent very little time with. Ironically, for some, such as housewives and stay-at-home moms, this is a time of greater engagement with the Agora, with spouses working from home.

While this is uncomfortable for many people, it is also a great opportunity to really examine our own Hestia and to see what changes need to be made.

This is not just a matter of practical considerations, such as working on our housekeeping or our relationships. It is also a matter of examining our hearts and souls and taking a hard look at our priorities.

Finding New Ways to Do Business and to Connect with Others

One of the things that we are having to do is to find new ways to connect with others. People need contact with other people, and right now, physical contact is dangerous. Yet, for most of us, there are other ways to communicate. Churches are finding that they can have Services electronically. Families can keep in contact through phone calls and video chat. While this might not be as satisfying as being in person, these methods do serve to meet our social needs.

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In many ways, we are much more fortunate than our ancestors who had to deal with various kinds of plagues. Even 20 years ago, this level of non-physical communication would not have been possible.

Indeed, I think that this is a large part of the big picture. We are moving from an era dominated by Earth to one dominated by Air. We are moving away from the physical and into the world of ideas and electronic communication. While this pandemic is pushing us faster in that direction, we were going there anyway.

For more information, see:

2020 – An Earth-Shattering Year

Many people are worried about the economy while we are not able to do business in person. That an understandable fear, but I believe that those companies that can adapt are going to survive and flourish, not just during this scary time, but into the future as well.

There will be change and turmoil, and some jobs will disappear. This happens whenever there are advances in technology. Yet, new jobs will emerge, and people will find ways to make a living.

Even after this pandemic is over, our world will not go back to the way it was. For better or for worse, we will all have to adjust to “the new normal.”

A Ray of Hope

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In a crisis, the best and worst in people come out. Yet, so far, there seems to be a lot more good than bad.

Yes, some people are selfishly ignoring precautions or hoarding items that we all need. Yes, some politicians and leaders are being less than helpful. This is not the full picture, however.

Some people are doing their best to be good. Performers and entertainers are giving free video performances. People are going out of their way to support and encourage each other from a safe distance. Businesses are doing their best to respond to this crisis by giving paid sick leave and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

In the U.S., for the first time in decades, opposing parties are working together for the common good.

Even though the physical borders between countries have closed, all over the world, people are working together to fight the same enemy. Many people are sharing their experiences in quarantine and isolation, and in some ways, this has brought us closer as a worldwide community than ever before.

Like all crises, this is an opportunity for us to call forth our best selves, whether we are heroic first responders, faithful grocery store clerks, or one of the many who are called to protect our own health so we don’t contribute to the spread of the disease or further tax the available medical resources.

Conclusion

This is a time of uncertainty and fear. Yet, this is also a time for us to take a deep look at ourselves and our values. Life has been changing over the last several decades, but this new crisis is pushing us headlong into that change. In particular, we are being forced to examine our relationship to both the home and the marketplace, and examine our priorities…as individuals, as families, as cities, as nations, and as a world.