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Animism (from Latin , "breath, spirit, life") is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence.Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive.
The religious studies scholar Graham Harvey defined animism as the belief "that the world is full of persons, only some of whom are human, and that life is always lived in relationship with others". He added that it is therefore "concerned with learning how to be a good person in respectful relationships with other persons". Graham Harvey, in his 2013 Handbook of Contemporary Animism, identifies the animist perspective in line with Martin Buber's "I-thou" as opposed to "I-it". In such, Harvey says, the Animist takes an I-thou approach to relating to his world, where objects and animals are treated as a "thou" rather than as an "it".
Definition of animism
1: a doctrine that the vital principle of organic development is immaterial spirit
2: attribution of conscious life to objects in and phenomena of nature or to inanimate objects
3: belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies