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The Animals in Us – We in Animals

Edited By Szymon Wrobel

In art and literature, animals appear not only as an allegoric representation but as a reference which troubles the border between humanity and animality. The aim of this book is to challenge traditional ways of confronting animality with humanity and to consider how the Darwinian turn has modified this relationship in postmodern narratives. The subject of animality in culture, ethics, philosophy, art and literature is explored and reevaluated, and a host of questions regarding the conditions of co-existence of humans and animals is asked: Should discourse ethics now include entities that initially seemed mute and were excluded from discussions? Does the modern animal rights movement need a theology, and vice versa, is there a theology that needs animals? Are animals in literature just metaphors of human characters, or do they reveal something more profound, a direction of human desires, or a fantasy of transgressing humanity? This book provides answers and thus gives a new impetus to a so far largely overlooked field.
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Not Being Angel. Manichaeism as an Obstacle to Thinking of a New Approach to Animality.


Not Being Angel. Manichaeism as an Obstacle to Thinking of a New Approach to Animality

Rafał Zawisza


I focus on the monastery life in Europe and its predomination of vita contemplativa upon vita activa. It isn’t hard to distinguish within Christianity its Manichaean component whose characteristic feature is a grudge against matter, body and sexuality. This complexity of ideas brought about the contempt of vital elements of human existence, so that its animal past, still present in Zivilisationsprozess. Alternative anthropology inspired by an evolutionism should based on the presumption that only through the appreciation of an animal dimension of us—instead of monastic desire of becoming an angel—will it be possible to create new perspectives for renegotiation of the human-animal boundaries.


Manichaeism; animality; Cartesian heritage; vita contemplativa; vita activa; Machiavelli; Spinoza; principle of gratitude; human-animal interconnections.

To study the history of Christianity one needs to have a subtle sense of irony, which is, as it seems to me, a helpful feature of historians. This type of reasoning accompanied Ryszard Przybylski, while he was writing his magnificent book concerning the Desert Fathers, i.e. the first Christian eremites. He portrayed them as follows: saint Dorotheus of Gaza complained that new brothers entered his community with all kinds of worldly sins, vices and customs.

“He did not yet know that exactly that’s the reason why a monastery would soon become the oasis of civilization and in...

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