Archive for the ‘Heilige Biester’ Category

Quote of the Day: Descartes‘ „beast-machine“

18. Juli 2010
Just another bird machine: Descartes

Just another bird machine: Descartes

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„If Brutes, as Learned Bards of late would prove,

Are only Engines, and like Clock-work move,

Say, how my dearest Bird, my charming Dove,

Knows that destructive Ill, has sense of love?“

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The quote has been taken from “The Turtle, an Elegy, by Clarissa” in The Gentleman’s Journal, or the Monthly Miscellany, III, published in August 1694 (p. 222).  The poem is a reaction to Descartes’ notion of animals being nothing more than spirit-less machines. The author wants to point out that he or she does believe in the existence of an an animal soul, that they are capable of emotions.

This idea of the „beast-machine“, however, had a great impact on how animals were regarded and treated in Europe throughout the 18th and 19th century. It allowed scientists to mistreat animals for scientific experiments without having to care about issues of emotion or pain. Thus a very common method of anatomic research in the 18th and 19th century was vivisection, i.e. cutting open animal bodies while they were still alive.

It has been argued amongst scholars whether Descartes himself might not have been convinced that human beings were machines as well, just like later Julien Offray de la Mettrie wrote in his famous book L’homme machine. If so, Descartes must nonetheless have feared the harsh reaction by the church, like towards his friend Galileo Gallilei, so that he might have suppressed the idea and hid it from the public. This way he only allowed animals to be soulless, whilst leaving space for the superiority and god-like appearance of the human race.

Lukas 12, 24. und Offenbarung 16, 1.-2.

13. Juni 2010

Das Tier in der „Heiligen Schrift“:

„Nehmet wahr der Raben: die säen nicht, sie ernten auch nicht, sie haben auch keinen Keller noch Scheune; und Gott nährt sie doch. Wie viel aber seid ihr besser denn die Vögel!“ (Lukas 12, 24.)

„Und ich hörte eine große Stimme aus dem Tempel, die sprach zu den sieben Engeln: Gehet hin und gießet aus die Schalen des Zorns Gottes auf die Erde! / Und der erste ging hin und goß seine Schale aus auf die Erde; und es ward eine böse und arge Drüse [sic.] an den Menschen, die das Malzeichen des Tiers hatten und die sein Bild anbeteten.“ (Offenbarung des Johannes 16, 1.-2.)

[Übers. Luther nach dem Deutschen Evagelischen Kirchenausschuss 1912]