“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Agamben, Animals and Meta Syndrome

I was just reminded of this assertion of Giorgio Agamben's:

Dasein is simply an animal that has learned to become bored; it has awakened from its own captivation...

Ah, you haven't yet plumbed the depths of meta-boredom. Show me boredom and I'll show you being bored of being bored. Stick that in your pipe to come and smoke it!

Show me a bored animal and I'll show you a pencil that's positively catatonic with ennui. How's that for upstagement?

With apologies to the all round clever chap, my Ph.D. student Michael Martel, who runs a good line that Agamben is really rather object-oriented.

1 comment:

martelmd said...

I always read this part of The Open as Agamben claiming that human apprehension similar to animal apprehension as defined by Uexkull. Certainly, there is meta-ness to his claim, but it might also be in line with OOO's claims about the consciousness of all objects (and that consciousness isn't the carrot for the most highly developed beings, but something much "less"). There is certainly a degree of irony to Agamben's comment here, especially considering his abandonment of Heidegger's open and profound boredom. Of course, Agamben does have a tendency to go "meta" from time to time, and this irony has a ring of "I will show you the ground of your ground!"
Thanks for linking to my blog! This all reminds me that I need to get posting again.