Cosmologies, Part I

I tend to leave my ideas to collect dust. I've been thinking about this since the talk I had on Balinese Cosmology by the artist Wayan Karja in 2019 and a paper by Yuk Hui.


Cosmic Energy 2016, Wayan Karja


"Schemas that define the mode of participation of humans and non-humans"

Cosmologies are based on the proposition that ideas about the cosmos are an integral part of human cultural and social systems. To truly comprehend a culture, one must have some sense of its cosmology, their conception of themselves in relation to nature.

The ontological turn was a proposal to take different ontologies β€” cosmologies β€” seriously, in hopes of diversifying the dominant European discourse of naturalism and search for other ways of co-existence.

In ancient Greece, kosmos means order; cosmology, the study of order. Order can mean balance, harmony, equilibrium. The participation of nonhumans and nature varies from one culture to another according to different cosmologies.

The ontological turn in anthropology is a call for a politics of ontologies.

What this politics leads to is primarily a pluralism which has been endangered by naturalism’s spread throughout the globe by colonization.

At the center of such a politics is the recognition of a plurality of ontologies in which natures play different roles in everyday life

Yuk Hui continues, that recognition is the first step, while politics would only arise in the encounter between these ontologies β€” so what will this look like? For example, Bolivia had included the rights of non-humans within its constitution, reflecting an institutionalisation of ontologies.

The rise of recent technologies and its pervasiveness in our current world is, to Yuk Hui, a realisation of naturalism, a dominantly Western cosmology. Negotiating the two deeply interests me, in finding a co-existence and reproduction of a renewed relation between culture and technics.

Balinese Cosmology

extracts from the talk β€” in the process of transcribing

"Cosmology is timeless, like a mandala. When I think about mandala, in early societies, it's one of the important things, it's about going within, by imagining mandala.

2000 years before Christ, people lived with the ideas of cosmology. Bali means sacrifice, means ceremony, which they do everyday, which is their offering. The name is the island is the same with what's going on in bali island. In 60's, 70s, my grandparents know the cosmology we talk about, they know the world as bali. The cosmos is bali. Outside of Bali is Java. Because Bali mean in. Java means out."

Cosmotechnics, refers to a unification of cosmic and moral order through technical activities, e.g. human activities, always accompanied by technical objects such as tools.

Descola outlines it in Beyond Nature and Culture (2013), which I'm reading in patches,