japonisme: animal

12 May 2009


The prison of one's character is painstakingly built to deny one thing and one thing alone: one's creatureliness. The creatureliness is the terror.

Once admit that you are a defecating creature and you invite the primeval ocean of creature anxiety to flood over you. But it is more than creature anxiety, it is also man's anxiety, the anxiety that results from the human paradox that man is an animal who is conscious of his animal limitation.

Anxiety is the result of the perception of the truth of one's condition. What does it mean to be a self conscious animal? The idea is ludicrous, if it is not monstrous. It means to know that one is food for worms.

This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self expression - and with all this yet to die.

It seems like a hoax. . . . . Culture is in its most intimate intent a heroic denial of creatureliness.

Ernest Becker,
The Denial of Death

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear lotusgreen,
I meant Kotondo's 1930 woodcut you posted on the 25th April. I recently discovered your site. It's oxygen. I'm just a profane.Thank you again,

13 May, 2009 06:23  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

ahhh... thanks for the clarification. and thanks again for your kind words.

13 May, 2009 07:33  
Blogger Yoli said...

Oh I so love this, it is at the heart of all of us. Knowing that from the darkness whence we sprung, we shall return again.

13 May, 2009 17:52  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

what a great reaction, yoli -- thank you and... yup.

13 May, 2009 19:05  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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