Archives de Tag: Nature

As Stephen Wilson points out in The Magical Universe (2000), the people who prac­ticed these rituals were mostly poor people who struggled to survive, always trying to stave off disaster and wishing therefore “to placate, cajole, and even manipulate these controlling
forces … to keep away harm and evil, and to procure the good which consisted of fertility, well-being, health, and life” (p. xviii). But in the eyes of the new capitalist class, this anarchic, molecular conception of the diffusion of power in the world was anathema. Aiming at controlling nature, the capitalist organization of work must refuse unpredictability implicit in the practice of magic, and the possibility of establishing a privileged relation with the natural elements, as well as the belief in the existence of powers available only to particular individuals, and thus not easily generalized and exploitable. Magic was also an obstacle to the rationalization of the work process, and a threat to the establishment of the principle of individual responsibility. Above all, magic seemed a form of refusal of work, of insubordination, and an instrument of grassroots resistance to power. The world had to be “disenchanted” in order to be dominated.

Silvia FEDERICI, Caliban and the Witch, p. 173-174