Sentimentality and Animality

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5 Responses

  1. Ante says:

    It’s funny you covered this topic just now. I’ve been thinking about it more than usual for the past year or so, so I’m glad my layman thinking was along the same lines as your interpretation. There is this scene you can see a lot in Zagreb:

    A dog owner, almost always a woman, waiting with pious patience, plastic bag in hand, for her furry darling to finish its dump. It is in my opinion an image of civilizational collapse just as much as some romantic painting of the Vandal sack of Rome. More restrained, but sadly much more realistic.

    It almost begs for a painter to depict in an artistic manner: Upright and impressively unmoving, the human female is awaiting for a chance to pick up dog shit. Dog is hunched, hind legs bent. Brown crap coming out of its hallowed behind.

    • Malić says:

      Pričao mi je netko kako je na TV gledao prilog o starletama koje su išle spašavati petrinjske peseke nakon potresa. U nekom od okolnih sela napale su čovjeka jer drži šarplaninca na lancu. Nisam sam pogledao ali navodno da je to izgledalo kao susret zemljan a s nekom vanzemaljskom vrstom, tolilko je čovjek bio zbunjen.

      • Ante says:

        Taj pojedini slučaj mi nije ostao u sjećanju, ali je svakako nakon potresa bilo takvih inicijativa. Sjećam se dobro da sam pogledao par FB postova i videa te nekakve udruge što li i da je po svemu odgovaralo događaju o kojem ti je netko pričao.

        Ono čega se sjećam je bio video u kojem dvoje pripadnika zlatne zagrebačke mladeži sjedi u stanu (poprilično velik dnevni boravak) na kauču sa psom. Vani je nekakva buka, moguće je bila nova godina ili neka proslava, nisam više siguran, a taj pas kao jako preplašen bukom dok ga oni šutke skupno miluju po glavi i značajno pogledavaju u kameru. Naslov i opis videa je bio nešto u stilu “kakvih sve kretena ima, jadan pas se boji” dok su komentari kolega iz udruge prizivali fizičko nasilje i uvrede protiv onih koji stvaraju buku. Jer su valjda svi u krugu 1000 metara dužni znati da je u tom stanu hipersenzibilni pas snjeguzica i njegovih dvoje vlasnika mladih, urbanih, obrazovanih kozmopolita.

        Nikad nisam imao ništa protiv pasa, dapače smatrao sam sebe nekim tko voli životinje, ali od ovakvih stvari mi dođu svakakve misli na pamet.

  2. Han Fei says:

    I myself do not own an animal, so I can sort of see where you’re coming from. At the moment I mostly tend to view them as engines for producing turds on your furniture, though that might change someday. But I can’t agree with the view presented here. Of course animal ownership isn’t about dressing your pet up in a costume or treating it as it were a baby. This is an aspect of cultural degeneracy and there’s nothing to argue about it.

    But in general, in general, it is not correct to say that animals do not have a significant role to play in a person’s life. It is an error to blame animals for not being human, thus not worthy of any emotional attachment at all. An animal is not sentient though it possesses intellect, it is usually not individuated to a great extent apart from its genera, though it can have a measure of individuality and even self awareness, it is capable of affection but not exhibiting all of the complexity of love of human beings and other higher forms of intelligent life.

    For example a dog feels love for you because you provide it with food and shelter, thus satisfying its primal survival needs as a living organism. Often members of that species exhibit such an instinctual love even towards a cruel owner who provides it with neither. But this does not belittle a dog’s love, because such is the extent of its capability to do so. In this extent it is simple and it is as pure as anything we humans are capable of. Thus a dog’s love cannot be seen as illegitimate, such as it is. In fact it would take a certain level of uncanny intelligence for a dog to have the option of ceasing to love its owner so as to run off somewhere else, something that can’t be said of humans. That’s why we have the expression “loyal as a dog”, in other words loyal even the object of your love is doing wrong to you.

    Furthermore, it is a well accepted fact that animals have an uncanny ability to resonate with their human owner’s psychic state and adapt their behavior to suit it in a theurapeutic manner. A sick person, if I may use a slightly wooey term, reverberates at a specific frequency which the animal companion has the mysterious capability to modulate. Hence sick people or old people have a tendency to grow strong attachments to their pets – apart from the fact that this phenomenon has a physiological nature that I think not a few people can attest to, it also benefits their emotional balance and well being.

    From another perspective, interacting with an animal helps to “ground” a human being in the world, because of the interaction with an intelligence that is not affected by the existential separation of mind, body and place. An animal’s self awareness is ever present in being’s continuity, as opposed to floating in the abstract thoughts and emotional states, like humans. Hence we have the concept of animal familiar or animal companion, which is a specific species which is particularly attuned towards our personal soul. Some people have a stronger awareness of this attraction, others can live their entire lives without feeling anything of the sort. This is not something that can be treated with a dismissive manner. The point is that human beings are supposed to have this relationship with animals and other living beings and this is all well and good.

    Of course the crucial point to be taken from this discussion is that in all of our relationships with our animal companions, we need to recognize the fact that they are animals and respect the boundaries, both moral and biological. In the modern egomaniacal society, such a relationship often takes a darker, pathological tone – where we demand of the animal to satisfy the needs that can only be provided by human beings, and in turn treat the animal is if it was a human in its place. This type of attitude is as harmful to the owner as it is to the pet, even when the latter isn’t being physically harmed in any way.

    • Ante says:

      Not that you are wrong, but problem is that people DO treat animals as a replacement for other people, because animals are easy to “love”. Ofc this “love” includes castration and taking the poor thing to be “put down” (we say literally “put to sleep” here, some based Slav euphemism there) once it becomes sick and stops being a source of happy tail wagging. The great number of people you can see in any city, women especially, walking their dogs are very obviously using them as a replacement for children, as an example.

      It is a very cheap “love”, since it entails no sacrifice and no responsibility (I hope we agree picking up shit isn’t a responsibility in the sense of what the word means for human relationships), the object of this love is in essence just a toy and is discarded just as easily as any inanimate object. Or in other words, as Branko put it, it is love devoid of everything BUT sentimentality, usually in the form of feeling happy thoughts while stroking something furry or having the right chemical reaction when seeing the wretched being rejoice to see you, unaware that the day of it being “put to sleep” is nearing with each tail wag.

      Problem isn’t that people get attached to animals and vice versa within the framework that such relationship entails, but exactly that this framework has been broken for great part of society.

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