Eating

Since there is most likely going to be a proceeding publication on the upcoming EAA session (Animal agency?) that I am partaking, I have now started writing my paper in the hope that I will have something to hand to the session organizer after the conference is over.

I just read Karl Steel’s article on wolf children (children brought up by animals). It is a very nice and thoughtful writing on the relationship between animals and humans, and to my delight, from a somewhat object-oriented point of view. This is the closing passage and it is one of the best descriptions of our role in the universe I have ever read:

Object-oriented ontology does not do away with hierarchies, nor does it entirely do away with correlationism. Rather it concocts a non- anthropocentric, universalized correlationism whose infinite centers, to be sure, would be unrecognizable to Kant or perhaps even to Quentin Meillassoux, correlationism’s greatest enemy. In this universalized correlationism, subjects are objects that are cared about. Each subject organizes its world, its polity, in its own way, unwilling and indeed unable to let everything into its borders and supremacy without sacrificing its own existence. This is therefore not a flat morality but one of infinite, incommensurable hierarchies.

With all this in mind, vertiginously shifting our attention and concern from one call to another, from one justice or injustice to another, with something or someone always slipping from our attention, always knowing—as Žižek demands—our attention to be anamorphic, we can speculatively think as trees, as the earth, as the forest law, as the pleasures of the court of Henry. They too have their thrivings; they have their interests in some polity; because each in its own way must eat, each needs its own limitrophic investigation. Each in its own way suffers the eating of others and thus has its own vulnerable meliorem partem. When we eat, as we must, we should at least eat as the Hesse story imagines the wolves do, unelevated, amid the eaters, not neglecting to remember that what we eat had its own best part that we have taken, perhaps irrevocably, and that we, not innocent, will be taken in turn. All bodies can only pretend to be upright; all are down here, constitutively interconnected and subject to an end; all must be immanently somewhere; all belong to others in ways they can hardly know; all subjects; all objects. All can only pretend to have a good conscience.

  • Steel, K. 2012. With the world, or bound to face the sky: the postures of the wolf-child of Hesse. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects. Ed. by J. J. Cohen. Washington, DC, 9–34.
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