Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Juice: Beston and Liljefors


This is another in a series called “Juice,” pairing a quote and a picture to stimulate discussion.

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystic concept of animals…For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings. They are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

Quote by Henry Beston (1888-1968) in The Outermost House.
Art by Bruno Liljefors. (1860-1939).

2 comments:

david ellis said...

I wonder what differences in actual practice such an altered view of animals should entail.

Should a person become a vegetarian, for example?

James Gurney said...

I suppose that's one reasonable response, because we might be more reluctant to thoughtlessly gobble up a creature that we respect as an equal.

But I take the quote more in terms of avoiding the tendency to always anthropomorphize animals. There's nothing wrong with seeing human traits in animals——we all do——but to see them as mysteriously endowed even beyond our human powers is a tantalizing idea.