We are already in 2024 and we come from a world dotted with continuous acts of violence against everything, against the feminine, against the human, against culture, against science, against the planet itself.
It occurred to me to talk to you about something different, or at least apparently different. An almost bucolic and delicate theme but one that always makes me think.
I would like to explore the relationship between the world of men and the world of animals.
It is a very ancient history, which began with the history of hominids up to sapiens itself.
It is as if with the emergence of the human the natural propensity towards what is alive, even if not human, emerged as a human characteristic. In the most ancient man there was perhaps already the intuition that an animal, like himself, was not just mere biological matter.
Imagine an ancient primitive man who, for his own survival, had to defend himself from ferocious and primitive beasts like himself or fed on them by hunting them or simply observed them because they were so strong, autonomous, capable of defending themselves and living freely.
Since then the relationship with animals has definitely changed and taken many forms. A very ancient but unfortunately destructive idea is that of man's domination over animals which are inferior and without any form of mind or sensitivity. It is an old Aristotelian but also biblical idea that somehow explains the exploitation to the point of torture of the human world over the animal world and nature in general.
For man, exploiting the world to develop was inevitable, history went this way but the relationship of exploitation towards what was not human was also proposed in human relationships. And I see in this a terrible primordial error coming precisely from the idea of feeling superior to others or to what is different.
The relationship with animals has also become something else. The development of man, his culture, his sociality, have evolved. Faced with something that doesn't speak like us, doesn't think like us, doesn't do anything like we do, we still manage to enter into a relationship. Anyone who has met an animal in their life knows that a dialogue can still take place, a way of understanding each other can be found between very different beings because they belong to different worlds. Animals put in what they can put in and therefore perhaps find food, warmth, protection, tranquility, reassurance, pleasure. Man puts a lot more into it. It is a relationship, at least on our part, non-verbal and non-rational, into which we can say that we project our internal dimensions and also our affections. A cat is neither a person, nor a stuffed animal, nor a little panther even if we pretend to say so. It's something else. Coming into contact with the life of an animal by recognizing it and respecting it for what it is and what it can do, understand and feel, tests our examination of reality, that is, the ability to differentiate what we are and what we think and what is inside of us with what is inside the “others”.
One could say that a relationship like this is easy, without the complications of a “real” relationship between human beings but I have always been fascinated by the fact that although easy, the relationship with any animal remains a dialogue with an interlocutor who is always a little unknown, a little ‘unpredictable, above all always free.
The tamest puppy in the world will never think what we think, he will never be like us. We will never have made him in our image and likeness. It wouldn’t be bad to consider this even in a relationship between human beings where the claim to domination through assimilation and disappearance of the other’s reality is unfortunately so frequent.
Is the relationship with animals a simple story? Yes but free!