One of the same

March 28, 2018

Fox illustration

‘We stared at each other, the fox and I, for a charged moment. Her eyes were a pale bronze and seemed bright and aware. She turned away and trotted down the street towards my house. She wasn’t in a rush at all. We walked for a while, her in front, me a few paces behind. In those seconds I got the sense that we were one and the same, mammals, predators, denizens of the earth …’ ¹                                                                                                               

London’s foxes has been debated for many years by the people of England. Are they a pest, or beautiful wild animals coloring the urban landscape. In England, no other animal attracts such controversy. No other animal has provoked more column space or been debated with such polarization. Perceived variously as a beautiful animal, a cunning rouge, a vicious pest and a worthy foe. As the ubiquitous wild animals it is, it is not clearly understood.²

“Thing-power materialism, for its part, focuses on energetic forces that course through humans and cultures without being exhausted by them. It pursues the quixotic task of a material- is that not also an anthropology. Its political potential residesinitsability to induce a greater sense of interconnectedness between humanity and non humanity”. (Bennet, 2004, The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter Author(s))

In the text: The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter Author(s), Jane Bennet introduces “Thing-power”. Thing-power materialism emphasizes the closeness, the intimacy ,of humans and nonhumans. How we perceive ‘things’ and how we as humans relate to the nonhuman. The fox’s perceived villainy has much to do with our attitude to the earth and the way we treat it. The fox is a problem only insofar as it affects our own interests – and that problem is often exaggerated to suit other agendas. Intentions of spite and malevolence have been projected onto the fox for many years when, in fact, it is simply a wild animal, acting according to its nature.²

Deleuze and Guattari describe the earth as “an immense abstract machine whose pieces are the various assemblages and individuals, each of which groups together an infinity of particles entering into an infinity of more or less interconnected relations.” ¹

“In this ecological tale, “a fiber stretches from a human to an animal, from a human or an animal to molecules, from molecules to particles, and so on. For a materialist, humans are imperceptible.” (Bennet, 2004, The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter Author(s))

By understanding the foxes way of life, we can also understand them as a part of us. Human. Non human. Because together we form the world as a whole. By minimizing harm on humans and other lifeforms, we enabling thereby greater thriving of all life. Ethical motivation needs to draw upon co-feeling or sympathy with suffering, and also upon a certain love of the world itself, or enchantment with it. (Bennet, 2004, The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter Author(s))

“…In those seconds I got the sense that we were one and the same, mammals, predators, denizens of the earth …’ ¹

1    The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter Author(s): Jane Bennett

Source: Political Theory, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Jun., 2004), pp. 347-372 Published by: Sage      Publications, Inc.

2      https://eandtbooks.com/book/foxes-unearthed-story-love-and-loathing-modern-britain

 

Rikke Henriksen Winther

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