Animal Presences by James Hillman

By James Hillman

Uniform variation of the Writings of James Hillman, quantity 9

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The eagle “soon waxeth angry with spiritual arrogance” because its temperament is exceedingly hot and dry.  23 Mighty, battle-mad Ajax takes his name from the eagle (aietos). It seizes the frightened hare, the milky calf, the bleating lamb, the abandoned child; these weaklings fall prey to the seduction of a great grasp. Any beautiful boy like Ganymede can be carried away by the ascending impetus. Power. Knowledge. To wing among the lightning flashes untouched, forever, no more falls. Each day, an eagle tears at the liver of Prometheus, eating into the passionate organic soul of ira and concupiscentia, the Promethean drive consumed by its day-world ambitions.

Simply by returning humans to the animal kingdom, Darwin had put us too close to the ape, that species which has carried through the centuries one or another aspect of the culturally repressed, whether it be knowledge, drunkenness, brutality, figura diaboli, or polymorphous pleasure. A psychological reason for why evolution theory met such resistance is that the ape is in its shadow. Notions of evolution influence dream interpretations.

Cruelty to animals is therefore logically impossible because they are incapable of feeling. “They eat without pleasure, they cry without sorrow, they desire nothing, they fear nothing, they know nothing,” says Malebranche. They are machines.  38 Like one of the faithful facing East, our faith in human superiority is confirmed with bacon at breakfast, at the hamburger stand at lunch, and over chicken dinner in the evening with Grace – thank thee Lord and bless this food. The animal as meat belongs to our religious beliefs.

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