Refection

September 25, 2017

Over the summer I was very preoccupied with my various summer jobs, these ended up taking a big portion of my time. In the little time I had free I would research my dissertation work. I read loads and loads of interesting things about our relationship with animals. As i researched i become more and more aware of my own unique  perspective when considering myself and my connection with the animal world. Laura Mark's essays really made me reconsider the way I looked at myself within the animal world. In one of her essays she explains that when a human interacts with an animal they tend to project human attributes and characteristics onto the animal ie projecting that their dog is cocky or cheeky or even lazy. She explains that people often see their pets as mirrors reflecting qualities found in the owner back at them. Assuming human thoughts and emotions onto a creature that might not be be capable of. She also refers to those who see animals as meat, which i believe is the more primitive/natural way of viewing the animal, only because in the animal world it's fairly certain animals view each other that way. She cites a video from a zoo, where a baby hippo is filmed running about acting as a hippo would. Here it is human nature to project human characteristics onto said hippo "he's a cheeky little guy!" through out the course of the video the hippo dies and it shows the dissertation of the animal. We watch as the mirror turns to meat within minuets. This really made me think. As someone who keeps both pets and farm animals there is this conflict within me which creatures are meat which are mirror. I will acknowledge that my projections onto my pets is less than most as the animals all serve a purpose rather than just companions (sheep dogs), we've always had the animals live separate to us the dogs in the porch, the horses in the stable the sheep in the fields. I recently lost one of the family dogs and it doesn't pain me, the death an animal  always seems to feel so ordinary/ acceptable natural to my family. other mammals life spans are so short compared to that of humans so the death is less shocking to me. I don't think I want to have animals in my work too figural, but when looking at animals I find farm animals one of the most interesting simply because of this interesting line they walk of meat and mirror. Vegans have my respect of course. But not eating animal products due to moral beliefs is the most human thing, in a way I believe it separates one further from the animal because only the humanist human would recognise the morality when considering taking an animals life for food and choosing not to do it. where I have always been interested in looking at the animal within the human, and the connection that is there. I need to make sure that I look for the animal elements within the human not projecting human elements onto animals. The sad truth is that we will never really be able to know an animal's thoughts and feelings as they do not possess the means to communicate them with us. it is simply resisting the urge to project and assume that will allow us to look at the animal as they in a more antithetic light.

 

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