Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Burning off the fog


Watching the sun burn off the fog along the edge of the farm is one of the special pleasures of watching the world from my terrace. As autumn progresses we see more contrails scratched in the sky above the Pyrenees, and the loss of foliage over our pond re-reveals the fields beyond.

I’ve just finished reading Mark Rowlands’ ethics text Animals Like Us (2002), which precedes his best-selling memoir The Philosopher and the Wolf. The timing of my reading this (it’s been sitting on my shelves since before I got to France) is that I see he has a new text Can Animals Be Moral?

Animals Like Us is a wonderfully accessible book, its rigor sacrificing nothing in terms of clarity of expression. The concluding page is especially potent and poetic:

“Animals can suffer for us, not only for those things that have been thrust upon us, but also for those things that we have brought upon ourselves. They suffer for our smoke-induced lung cancer, for our obesity-induced heart-disease, for the sloppy and irresponsible way we have used antibiotics. We, their self-styled masters, are lazy and stupid and, above all, ungrateful. But that’s OK. If anything, these are just other sins, and someone or something, else can be made to take our sins upon them, and suffer so that we might not have to. Jesus is, apparently, live and well, but somewhat unwilling this time around. He’s living as a Draize rabbit, and LD-50 mouse, a heroin monkey, and a smoking dog.”

There’s still some fog to be burnt away.

dawn dew on dill

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