By Peter Brookesmith
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Additional resources for Creatures from Elsewhere: Weird Animals That No-One Can Explain
When one exchanges the death of an animal for a measure of immortality, one is immeasurably enriched and has lost nothing, since sacrificial life is ceaselessly recuperative. The more the industrial collective tries to follow the pseudoreligion of money, the more it grasps at animal immolation as the salvation of enterprise. Jean Baudrillard explains this best: The reversibility of the gift in the countergift, of exchange in the sacrifice, of time in the cycle, of production in destruction, of life in death .
Dr. Phillips becomes 54 increasingly perturbed as the woman observes her snake zero in on a rat, for she seems herself to embody the predatory behavior of the serpent: The snake was close now. Its head lifted a few inches from the sand. The head weaved slowly back and forth, aiming, getting distance, aiming. Dr. Phillips glanced again at the woman. He turned sick. 24 After the snake has devoured the rat, the woman leaves the laboratory, promising to return. She never does. Steinbeck’s narrative is a prism of the basic mechanism of animal killing: compensatory victimization.
It was a conceptual darling of European vivisectionists like John Hunter, who sought with excruciating precision to map out the functional networks of organismic activity to which different structures of the body give rise. The 49 main premise of the theory of the animal economy was that the living animal body possessed a dynamic equilibrium of organismic functions greater than the sum of the body's parts. An “invisible hand” controlled the smooth integration of the disparate roles of these parts in a manner closely analogous to the invisible hand that oversaw the efficient interlocking of the varied and often geographically isolated activities of capitalism.