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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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Unanimal Mankind. Man, Anima, and the “Organization” of Life.

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Unanimal Mankind. Man, Animal, and the “Organization” of Life

Tadeusz Sławek

Abstract

The essay tries to approach the question of whether it is conceivable to bring the human and animal to the common existential denominator, to open the possibility of thinking in terms of the “humanimal.” Thus, what presents itself as the major problem is the issue of whether or not it is possible to, borrowing the phrase from e.e. cummings’s poem, “unanimal mankind.” Various paths which one may take inspecting this territory open yet another vital interrogation concerning the degree to which the societal dimension of human culture and “formalized humanity” (Herman Melville’s phrase) is enracinated in the presocietal, primeval world of which the animal is representative.

Keywords

mankind; animal; organization of life; humanimal; unanimal mankind; e.e. cummings; formalized humanity.

1.  A Strange Automaton or Beast

The famous frontispiece to Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan reveals the nature of the modern state as a man-like machine, a robotic, proto-cyborgian construction which uses the figure of human being in a double way. First, it takes over, at least in part, the individual human body to incorporate it within its own form: the state is a gigantic human figure which consists of innumerous bodies of countless individuals. Second, the enormity of the structure of power uses the human body not only to drain it of its sap and thus to generate its own elan vital but also to,...

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