UNLEASHING THE DOGS (1): Oedipal domesticity versus beasts of the wilderness


James Hillman tells us a story that illustrates the ambiguity of dogs (but such is the case for any animal) in Deleuze’s bestiary:

“once we humans and the animals were all together in a peaceable kingdom, until slowly a rift appeared in the earth, and gradually the animals were all on one side, the humans on the other of an ever-widening gap. At the very last moment, the dog leapt the chasm to be on the side of the humans.” (ANIMAL PRESENCES, 153).

Dogs in this story are the ambiguous relays between domestication and wilderness, sharing in both worlds, drawing us into the wild just as we tend to draw them into domesticity. An Oedipal relation with an animal means taking the position of the “beautiful soul” and denying the active inhuman forces, the wilderness energies, that compose the dog, for example just as much as us. Imposing a human…

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