Lingis' 'Bestiality' and 'Religion of Animals' Notes - Jolie, Jesse, Natalie, Sabrina



*-symbiosis - boundary of our bodies/other species*

*“The number of microbes that colonize our bodies exceeds the number ofcells in our bodies by up to a hundred fold.”(p 27) *

*“Let us liberate ourselves from the notion that our body is constituted bythe form that makes it an object of observation and manipulation for anoutside observer.” (p 28)*


*- goal oriented movement, teleological movement*

*-return to this with grosz, deleuzing notions of becoming*


define goal (not-goal oriented page 28)

plane of intensity/virtual

*”most movements are not goal oriented”*


*“How little of the movements of the bodies of octopods frolicking over thereef, of guppies fluttering in the slow currents of the Amazon, of cockatoosflaunting their acrobatics in the vines of New Guinea, of terns of thespecies Sterna paradisaea scrolling up all the latitudes of the planet fromAntartica to the Arctics, of humans is telelogical! How little of thesemovements is programmed by an advance representation of a goal, a result tobe acquired or produce a final state! Most movements do not get theirmeaning from an outside referent envisioned from the start and do not gettheir direction from an end-point, a goal or a result. Without theme, climaxor denouement, they extend from the middle, they are durations.” (p 30)*


*-animal behavior as eroticism - domestication?*

page 36

*”If an infant brought up in a highrise apartment, where all the paths hewalks outside are paved and even dogs and cats are forbidden, still acquiresfeelings other than those which purring, growling, or roaring machinestransmit to him, it is because he has contact with humans who have madecontact with the living forces of nature.”*


hypothetical world where there are no animals - what are purely humanmovements


*-does it all have to point to erotic, learning from animals for otherpurposes*

*Without theme, climax, or denoument, they extend from the middle, they aredurations.*

pg. 31 - *”The movements and intensities of our bodies take up the movementsand intensities of our bodies take up the movements and intensities oftoucans and wolves, jellyfish and whales. Psychoanalysis censures asinfantile every intercourse with the other animals, which it so obsessivelyinterprets as representatives of the father and mother figures of itsOedipal triangle.”*

grizzly man

feral children - wild child

*”Today in our Internet world where everything is reduced to digitally codedmessages, images, and simulacra instantaneously transmitted from one humanto another, it is in our passions for the other animals that we learn allthe rites and sorceries, the torrid and teasing presence, and theceremonious delays, of eroticism.”*

-embodiment of animals or symbols (power?)

pelts - tradition of killing/wearing/power

page 39 - *”Humans have from earliest times made themselves eroticallyalluring by grafting upon themselves the splendors of the other animals, thefilmy plumes of ostriches, the secret luster of mother-of-pearl oysters, thespringtime gleam of fox fur.”*

-frame/chaos bodies/boundaries - art as object art as tied to environmentnot separate

-art about the duration/process rather then the final state

-desire to understand process of creation, emphasis on process beingimportant - breaking down boundary of artist/viewer symbiosis - importanceof interpreter?

*Religion of Animals:*

page 56 - *”The noble impulses are nowise contrived to serve human needs andwants, human whinings.”*

define noble

our eyes are drawn to exemplary individuals… saunter on.

“yet we are also drawn to people who are not exemplary”

doing something beyond its practical reason -

page 60 - *”For courage as the word indicates, is the force of theheart(cor, cuer, coeur) and sociological studies show that the same numberof people die bravely and die cowardly among those who think that theirdeath is the gateway to eternal bliss among those who think their death isonly annihilation.”*


Cannibal Tours

Documentary by Dennis O'Rourke.Performing the Self & performing the Other.Something about Lingus brought me here.

- posted by helen


Response to 'Dangerous Emotions' -- Robin Sacolick

“How even less do most movements represent initatives by which an agent posits and extends its identity!…A campesina in Guatemala occupies her hands with the rhythms and periodicity of her knitting as she sits on the stoop gossiping with her friends…every purposive movement, when it catches on, loses sight of its telos and continues as a periodicity with a force that is not the force of the will launching it and launching it once again and then again…when (the carpenter) pauses he, alone in the neighborhood, registers the nearby tapping of a nutnatch on a tree trunk…The movements and intensities of our bodies take up the movements and intensities of toucans and wolves, jellyfish and whales…[through] These movements extend neither toward a result nor a development. They are figures of the repetition compulsion…” I am trying to understand this whole passage from the “Bestiality” chapter. Musically, Lingis notes the periodicities of life and whereas some of them, such as the knitting and hammering, are done for an articulatable reason, others, such as fiddling with ones hair repeatedly, have less well understood motives.  Lingis wrties of “the” repetition compulsion; whereas I have experienced it, I am not sure what he represents when writing of it: psychology? anthropology? his own opinion? biology? etc.  Is it a well-accepted phenomenon, or is it something he believes in? The same goes without saying of “the movements and intensities of our bodies take up (those) of toucans and wolves…”.  When he writes of intensities, is this in the same sense as planes of intensity?  Oh what a tangled web we weave when we wax eloquent.  Or maybe I’m just exercising my spider genomes. Repetition, whether or not it is compulsive, has value in human existence. That which springs to mind is the way in which it lulls us and makes us feel safe. On the other hand “Every purposive movement, when it catches on, loses sight of its telos and continues as a periodicity” is a VERY interesting thought relevant to my work.  I am planning to do dissertation work on music and ritual, and repetition is almost always involved.  Last quarter I did a term paper on alternate teleologies and their therapeutic psychological benefits.  This fits right in. Another passage that will assist my own research interests is the one about Le Clezio’s observations on the music of the Lacandon Maya in Chiapas: “how their songs, leaving words and meaning behind, pick up and join the basso continuo of the frogs the dogs, the spider-monkeys, the agoutis, the wild boars, and the sloths in the tropical night.”  The immense spiritual depth and strength of surviving Mayan peoples is a topic too large for here, but suffice it to say that the implied recognition of the value of identity with ones environment and ecology has both material and psycho-spiritual utility.


Response to 'Dangerous Emotions' -- Beth Ratay

“…the high point of diving is not to distinguish some rare fish but to be observed by them.”

So far, a theme that seems to pervade Lingis’ book is the theme of humans separation from the physical, natural world. In our current society, people have separated themselves from the natural world through many means. Society’s imposed taboos against taking pleasure in the touch and feel of an animal is one instance where we separate ourselves from nature. Our Freudian Ego causes us to feel guilt when we seek or derive pleasure from a socially unacceptable source; or there is a limit to the amount of pleasure we may derive. These emotions and desires are “dangerous”; they allow the Id too much control.

“It is when we see the parent bird attacking the cat, the mother elephant carrying her dead calf in grief for three days, that we believe in the reality of maternal love.”

Lingis is pointing out here that we are animals, and that we learn from animals. Our urban society of brick and stone produces too many individuals who do not know how to be animal in caring for one another as opposed to animal in defense of a territory. Many children grow up without ever knowing the devoted love of a pet, and as a result they are unable to connect with others on a deep emotional level.

Art is one way that we are able to express and experience this sort of animal pleasure and fulfillment in a socially acceptable, but maybe not always, way. As artists, we can bring this joy of the moment, this joy of sensation to the public, and I feel that this is part of the purpose of art for me: to share and express these dangerous emotions.


Post-Speciesism: We are all in the mush pot -- Sabrina Habel

Post-Speciesism: We are all in the mush pot

Hurray, a look at systems thinking! So we as humans have finally spentenough time breaking down ideas, objects, and life forms into compartmentswith labels and drawers, trying to master the natural world. Its finallytime to destroy the compartments and build everything back up into a wholesystem, complex, difficult to command, unpredictable, and deserving of ourunyielding respect. The world doesn’t revolve around you, me or us, none ofus are the winners or losers. We are all swimming around in the mush pot,with our dependencies, equilibriums, predators, cooperations and so forth.

The return to the system is apparent in all of the readings. In Lingis’s TheReligion of Animals, we look to the entire animal kingdom to find theattractions and repulsions within human response to other humans. InBestiality, a search to find more parallels in human and animal emotionalresponse. As if we need to be reminded that we are animals too, our bodiesmust survive the earth’s gauntlet every single minute of the day. We arevulnerable. Donna Haraway’s article goes further to look at our position as“partial connections” and the great amount of interspecies mingling thatoccurs without our conscious knowledge. And It all comes full circle (as itoften does when looking at systems thinking) with John Dewey’s The LiveCreature. Even in 1934 he stresses a need to de-compartmentalize, to lookinto oneself before projecting outward, in creating more questions thananswers.

Like Lingis says, the Brazil nut is a hard one to crack and so is systemsthinking. We have to retrain ourselves to undo how we have been conditionedto think since entering the world. It is especially hard because we don’tlike uncertainty, unfinished stories, loose ends. Well TOO BAD. I agreewith the authors. Humans are not superior to the entire earth (universe)system; there is no value judgement to be made because we can’t even graspwhat we are, where we live or who we live with.