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Cultural Zoo

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'This book is a major contribution to culture and to the psychoanalytic literature. The authors explore how animals, both wild and domesticated, have powerful symbolic meanings in our psyches, mythology, religion, literature, art, music, and popular culture. From the prehistoric art of Lascaux to Picasso, from The Fly to the American eagle, the psychoanalytic perceptions are subtle and suggestive, the aesthetic, film, and national insights are a delight.'-Peter Loewenberg, Dean, Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute, Professor of History and Political Psychology, UCLA'Our cousins - the animals - swarm, creep, fly, swim, and crawl all about us, even sharing our houses and infesting our bodies. We hunt them, breed, them, clothe ourselves with them, and eat them for dinner (as they sometimes do to us). They populate our literature, myths, religions, arts, our language and its metaphors, and they haunt our unconscious fantasies and our dreams. The profoundest, fiercest, and most intimate urges and feelings within us are our animal passions and instincts. The parade of animals that accompany us through this life is held up for review and appreciation in these delightful essays, all of which share a dedication to the understanding of human life and culture through the lens of psychoanalytic theory in its manifold diversity.'- Robert A. Paul, PhD, Candler Professor of Anthropology and Dean, Emory College

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Chapter 1 - Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Bond between Man and Animals

ePub

DANIEL M. A. FREEMAN, M.D.

From the earliest dawning of neonatal awareness, our experience of ourselves emerges through our affective interaction with other beings. Many aspects of our needs for intimacy, attachment, and social interaction are shared by humans and social beings of other species. This has contributed to the bonds which have developed between us, as animals have become not only domesticated and tamed but also personal pets and significant emotional objects. Real and imaginary animals join humans in the fantasy and interactional worlds that shape our emotional development. Cuddly stuffed animals function as transitional objects, recreating an illusion of our mother's presence when she is absent. Pets trust and depend on us, give us love and acceptance, and serve as our companions. Their images appear in children's stories, nursery rhymes, cartoons, toys, costumes, and fantasies. Animal imagery is ubiquitous in our similes, metaphors and aphorisms, folklore and mythology. Pets offer comfort to those who are lonely. As we mature, we think of pets as friends and children. They may fill an empty nest for older people who continue to enjoy having someone to nurture.

 

CHAPTER 1 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Bond Between Man and Animals

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CHAPTER 1

Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Bond

Between Man and Animals

DANIEL M.A. FREEMAN, M.D.

From the earliest dawning of neonatal awareness, our experience of ourselves emerges through our affective interaction with other beings. Many aspects of our needs for intimacy, attachment, and social interaction are shared by humans and social beings of other species. This has contributed to the bonds which have developed between us, as animals have become not only domesticated and tamed but also personal pets and significant emotional objects.

Real and imaginary animals join humans in the fantasy and interactional worlds that shape our emotional development. Cuddly stuffed animals function as transitional objects, recreating an illusion of our mother's presence when she is absent. Pets trust and depend on us, give us love and acceptance, and serve as our companions. Their images appear in children's stories, nursery rhymes, cartoons, toys, costumes, and fantasies. Animal imagery is ubiquitous in our similes, metaphors and aphorisms, folklore and mythology. Pets offer comfort to those who are lonely. As we mature, we think of pets as friends and children. They may fill an empty nest for older people who continue to enjoy having someone to nurture.

 

Chapter 2 - Dreams of Animals

ePub

NORMAN R. DOIDGE, M.D.

So vivid, at times, are our dreams of animals, that we may be tempted to accord our nighttime audiences with them a special status in our dreams. There is even a name for animal dreams, theriomorphic dreams (Hall, 1953, p. 55). But do theriomorphic dreams deserve, along with a separate name, a special status? To extend a special status to a manifest dream element requires caution in psychoanalysis, for it is sound technique to revert to symbolic explanations only after one has explored the dreamer's associations. Still, the notion of a special status for animals in dreams has its appeal, if only because there is a special relationship between the unconscious and “the animal” in psychoanalysis. Those aspects of animality that we consciously reject persist in the unconscious. Dreamers in a civilization that relies too heavily on reaction formation will experience visitations of their own warded off animality as “uncanny,” as the forgotten-familiar, re-emerging. The psychoanalytic theory of regression in dreaming is a scheme which describes the many ways by which we move back toward our more animal selves at night, by regression, and shows what lies underneath our reaction formations. This regression is not only the move toward more “animal” content in our dreams, but to a more animal-like mind or process. Thus there is a move from secondary process logical reasoning to primary process; from well-developed speech to visual images; and the loosening of the censorship which permits the contents of the instinctual life to emerge from time to time with greater clarity. This regression moves us from qualities of mind which are specific to human beings, to qualities shared with higher animals. Thus, the intimations of our animality are many in dreams, so why not anticipate, with special regard, the emergence of animals in our dreams?

 

CHAPTER 2 Dreams of Animals

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CHAPTER2

Dreams of Animals

NORMAN R. DOIDGE, M.D.

So vivid, at times, are our dreams of animals, that we may be tempted to accord our nighttime audiences with them a special status in our dreams. There is even a name for animal dreams, theriomorphic dreams (Hall, 1953, p. 55). But do theriomorphic dreams deserve, along with a separate name, a special status? To extend a special status to a manifest dream element requires caution in psychoanalysis, for it is sound technique to revert to symbolic explanations only after one has explored the dreamer's associations. Still, the notion of a special status for animals in dreams has its appeal, if only because there is a special relationship between the unconscious and "the animal" in psychoanalysis. Those aspects of animality that we consciously reject persist in the unconscious. Dreamers in a civilization that relies too heavily on reaction formation will experience visitations of their own warded off animality as "uncanny," as the forgotten-familiar, reemerging. The psychoanalytic theory of regression in dreaming is a scheme which describes the many ways by which we move back toward our more animal selves at night, by regression, and shows what lies underneath our reaction formations. This regression is not only the move toward more "animal" content in our dreams, but to a more animal-like mind or process. Thus there is a move from secondary process logical reasoning to primary process; from well-developed speech to visual images; and the loosening of the censorship which permits the contents of the

 

Chapter 3 - Human to Animal Transformations in Literature

ePub

THOMAS WOLMAN, M.D.

Animal stories abound in ancient myths and folktales. Aesop's fables, for example, make use of animal characters almost exclusively. Creation myths of all cultures assign important roles to animals. Interestingly, the personification of animal characters can help dramatize the human elements in the story, as it does, for example, in the modern fable Animal Farm by George Orwell (1946).

The Bible, by contrast, presents animals in more supportive roles, in accordance with God's wish that Adam have dominion over the animal realm. The domination of the animal world goes hand in hand with the power to give every creature a name. The Bible explicitly separates humans from animals by granting only the former the capacity for speech and language. Thus stories such as Noah and flood, Jonah and the whale, and Daniel in the lion's den tend to present animals as mute, according to the conventions of future realistic literature. An interesting exception to this rule is the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The serpent not only speaks, but also dominates. One could say that it sets a chain of events in motion that results in Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. The serpent is also different from other biblical representations of animals because it symbolizes a complete human attribute—sexuality. Sexuality is given bestial form, not because it is nonhuman, but because it is the very essence of humanity, the element which thrusts humanity out of the innocent world of the animal kingdom.

 

Chapter 4 - Animals in Children's Stories

ePub

DAVID W. KRUEGER, M.D., AND LAUREN N. KRUEGER, B.Ed.

Children still remember what we have long forgotten. An illustrated children's book, of talking animals, must tell the truth, ring with emotion, and graphically depict concerns. As music and art bypass the conscious mind, animals in stories carry powerful emotions, resonate and evoke various elements of experience.

Animals speaking intelligibly seem as natural to a child as plants talking, trees exchanging confidences, and objects becoming animated and alive. In the simple language of now, ducks and toys speak at least as distinctively as a parent. Children animate and vivify what we later analyze and dissect. In this way, children may not be lonely even when alone, as they surround themselves with countless companions, many of whom are in direct communication with them.

The sensibility and intelligence in the real communication of animals are not lost in children. The wisdom of many animal stories portrays the richness of inner life, as well as the vividness of external life, such as birth and death, heroes and villains, mastery and defeat.

 

CHAPTER 3 Human to Animal Transformations in Literature

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CHAPTER3

Human to Animal Transformations in

Literature

THOMAS WOLMAN, M.D.

Animal stories abound in ancient myths and folktales. Aesop's fables, for example, make use of animal characters almost exclusively. Creation myths of all cultures assign important roles to animals. Interestingly, the personification of animal characters can help dramatize the human elements in the story, as it does, for example, in the modern fable Animal Farm by George Orwell (1946).

The Bible, by contrast, presents animals in more supportive roles, in accordance with God's wish that Adam have dominion over the animal realm. The domination of the animal world goes hand in hand with the power to give every creature a name. The

Bible explicitly separates humans from animals by granting only the former the capacity for speech and language. Thus stories such as Noah and flood, Jonah and the whale, and Daniel in the lion's den tend to present animals as mute, according to the conventions of future realistic literature. An interesting exception to this rule is the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The serpent not only speaks, but also dominates. One could say that it sets a chain of events in motion that results in Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. The serpent is also different from other biblical representations of animals because it symbolizes a complete human attribute-sexuality. Sexuality is given bestial form, not because it is nonhuman, but because it is the very essence of

 

Chapter 5 - Artists and Beasts: Sacred and Sacrificed

ePub

ERIC LAGER, M.D.

The masks…were magic things. But why weren't the Egyptian pieces or the Chaldean?…Those were primitives, not magic things. The Negro pieces were…mediators…against everything—against unknown, threatening spirits…. They were weapons. To help people avoid coming under the influence of spirits again, to help them become independent. If we give spirits a form, we become independent….I understood why I was a painter [(Pablo Picasso, in conversation with André Malraux); Quoted in Richardson, 1996, p. 24].

When I began this essay on the animal image in art, I approached it from the side of aethetics. It occurred to me that what usually elicits a sense of beauty is what we judge safe in nature. Out of such survival determinations evolve artistic decorations characterized by predictability through symmetry and repetition. That artists increasingly destabilized and creatively restabilized forms to evoke and resolve emotional turmoil, I deemed a luxury available in the safety of evolving civilizations. But as I pursued the animal image, I could not escape the impression that, when viewed historically and cross-culturally, this subject derived directly from childhood fears of castration. Similarly, the motive for the creation of idyllic images is often the denial of darkness, replete with confusing, animalistic demons of the primal scene. Picasso's instantaneous recognition of a similarity between his own animistic motives and those of the Africans was an act of insight because he did not literally believe in spirits. Picasso's insight and biography, on the one hand, and on the other, the ubiquity of animistic cultures supports the notion that a variety of animal images defend against separation anxiety and especially castration anxiety.

 

CHAPTER 4 Animals in Children's Stories

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CHAPTER4

Animals in Children's Stories

DAVID W. KRUEGER, M.D.,

AND LAUREN N. KRUEGER, B.Ed.

Children still remember what we have long forgotten. An illustrated children's book, of talking animals, must tell the truth, ring with emotion, and graphically depict concerns. As music and art bypass the conscious mind, animals in stories carry powerful emotions, resonate and evoke various elements of experience.

Animals speaking intelligibly seem as natural to a child as plants talking, trees exchanging confidences, and objects becoming animated and alive. In the simple language of now, ducks and toys speak at least as distinctively as a parent. Children animate and vivifY what we later analyze and dissect. In this way, children may not be lonely even when alone, as they surround themselves with countless companions, many of whom are in direct communication with them.

The sensibility and intelligence in the real communication of animals are not lost in children. The wisdom of many animal stories portrays the richness of inner life, as well as the vividness of external life, such as birth and death, heroes and villains, mastery and defeat.

 

CHAPTER 5 Artists and Beasts: Sacred and Sacrificed

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CHAPTERS

Artists and Beasts: Sacred and Sacrificed

ERIC lAGER, M.D.

The masks ... were magic things. But why weren't the Egyptian pieces or the Chaldean? . . . Those were primitives, not magic things. The Negro pieces were ... mediators ... against everything-against unknown, threatening spirits.... They were weapons. To help people avoid coming under the influence of spirits again, to help them become independent. If we give spirits a form, we become independent.... I understood why I was a painter

[(Pablo Picasso, in conversation with Andre Malraux); Quoted in Richardson, 1996, p. 24].

When I began this essay on the animal image in art, I approached it from the side of aethetics. It occurred to me that what usually elicits a sense of beauty is what we judge safe in nature. Out of such survival determinations evolve artistic decorations characterized by predictability through symmetry and repetition. That artists increasingly destabilized and creatively restabilized forms to evoke and resolve emotional turmoil, I deemed a luxury available in the safety of evolving civilizations. But as I pursued the animal image, I could not escape the impression that, when viewed historically and cross-culturally, this subject derived directly from childhood fears of castration. Similarly, the motive for the creation of idyllic images is often the denial of darkness, replete with confusing, animalistic demons of the primal scene. Picasso's

 

Chapter 6 - Animals, Music, and Psychoanalysis

ePub

JULIE JAFFEE NAGEL, Ph.D., AND LOUIS B. NAGEL, D.M.A.

Writing this chapter presents us with the ambitious and novel task of combining three seemingly disparate topics: animals, psychoanalysis, and music. While each area has its own body of literature, citations that combine all three are conspicuously absent. Consequently, our challenge has been to find relevant sources and synthesize them. The pages that follow are organized around the following subjects: an overview of how composers have used animals in their compositions (both in titles and in musically programmatic material); a look at how psychoanalysts have understood the function of music; and finally, an examination of Serge Prokofieff's (1936) musical fairy tale, Peter and the Wolf. Our journey through the musical zoo begins with a look at how composers have incorporated animals in their work and continues with how psychoanalysis has approached (and avoided) the functions of music.1

MUSIC AND ANIMALS

 

CHAPTER 6 Animals, Music, and Psychoanalysis

PDF

CHAPTER6

Animals, Music, and Psychoanalysis

JULIE JAFFEE NAGEL, Ph.D., AND

LOUIS B. NAGEL, D.M.A.

Writing this chapter presents us with the ambitious and novel task of combining three seemingly disparate topics: animals, psychoanalysis, and music. While each area has its own body of literature, citations that combine all three are conspicuously absent.

Consequently, our challenge has been to find relevant sources and synthesize them. The pages that follow are organized around the following subjects: an overview of how composers have used animals in their compositions (both in titles and in musically programmatic material); a look at how psychoanalysts have understood the function of music; and finally, an examination of

Serge Prokofieff's (1936) musical fairy tale, Peter and the Wolf

Our journey through the musical zoo begins with a look at how composers have incorporated animals in their work and continues with how psychoanalysis has approached (and avoided) the functions of music. 1

 

Chapter 7 - Animals and Religion

ePub

EDWARD F. FOULKS, M.D., Ph.D.

There is a universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted and of which they are intimately conscious [Hume, 1755, p. 477).

Comparative anatomy has revealed homologous organ systems and physical structures basic to humans and animals from all phyla. The human genome project and recent studies of DNA sequencing have discovered further basic structures at the biochemical level which are common between humans and all other animals. Evolutionary theory has been substantiated by such findings, and links humans to other animals in the chronological sequences and branches of species differentiation. Humans are phylogenetically related most predominately to ancestral anthropoidal apelike species of primates, a family of placental mammals related to a vast array of extinct and living kindred creatures, including horses, cows, sheep, dogs, cats, rats, and others. Evolutionary theory furthermore connects the origin of this group of mammals to reptilian ancestors, who developed endothermal regulation of their body temperature. All bird species developed similarly from a different branch of warm-blooded reptilian ancestors; one perhaps related to dinosaurs. Furthermore, all reptiles evolved over time from land-based amphibians who had thicker skin and protective covering over their eggs. Creature relationships, furthermore, go from the amphibians to semiland adapted fishes back to more primitive creatures of the sea, including tubal tridermal coelenterates and clumped and mobile single-cell protoplasmic foragers. From these we are ultimately related to the autosynthesizing, self-replicating amino acid chains that began the whole process billions of years ago.

 

CHAPTER 7 Animals and Religion

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CHAPTER 7

Animals and Religion

EDWARD F. FOULKS, M.D., Ph.D.

There is a universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted and of which they are intimately conscious [Hume,

1755, p. 477).

Comparative anatomy has revealed homologous organ systems and physical structures basic to humans and animals from all phyla. The human genome project and recent studies of DNA sequencing have discovered further basic structures at the biochemical level which are common between humans and all other animals. Evolutionary theory has been substantiated by such findings, and links humans to other animals in the chronological sequences and branches of species differentiation. Humans are phylogenetically related most predominately to ancestral anthropoidal apelike species of primates, a family of placental mammals related to a vast array of extinct and living kindred creatures, including horses, cows, sheep, dogs, cats, rats, and others. Evolutionary theory furthermore connects the origin of this group of mammals to reptilian ancestors, who developed endothermal regulation of their body temperature. All bird species developed similarly from a different branch of warm-blooded reptilian ancestors; one perhaps related to dinosaurs. Furthermore, all reptiles evolved over time from land-based amphibians who had

 

Chapter 8 - An Annotated Visit to the Cinematic Zoo

ePub

J. ALEXIS BURLAND, M.D.

My argument starts with the idea that psychological homeostasis and mental health requires regular maintenance. The same inherent self-reparative processes that are evoked by the psychoanalytic situation, which involve ego regression and working through, are regularly mobilized in less intense and less focused ways by many of us we attempt to cope with the daily traumas, disappointments, losses, frights, and frustrations with which we are confronted. This self-maintenance also involves a certain amount of what might be called daily psychological “calisthenics” by which we keep our psyches “fit” in a manner comparable to the physical exercises we are advised to do to keep our bodies fit. One venue in which we engage in this self-maintenance is that of aesthetic experiences, and film is probably the form that is most frequently used today.

That theatrical aesthetic experiences can have some form of psychologically beneficial effect is, of course, not a new idea, ever since Aristotle wrote of the purgative and purifying functions of tragedy, the therapeutic effect of the theatrical induction of emotional catharsis has been accepted as a given, although as our sophistication concerning matters psychological has grown I think most would agree there is more to this process than simply “catharsis.” But even beyond whatever prescriptive suggestion philosophers may have offered, the simple fact is that for centuries all people, educated or not, sophisticated or simple, most of whom have never heard of Aristotle, have spontaneously sought out exposure to dramatic presentations, in churches, in schools, around camp fires, in books, in opera houses, in theaters, on the radio, in movie houses, and now at home on television. Surely something draws us all to such experiences, and for most of us with some regularity. Few if any of us seek out such experiences with a conscious therapeutic intent; we do it as there is a sense of pleasure that is involved, and a kind of inner fulfillment, and that is true whether the drama is comic or sad, frightening or romantic, contemplative or adventurous.

 

CHAPTER 8 An Annotated Visit to the Cinematic Zoo

PDF

CHAPTER 8

An Annotated Visit to the Cinematic

Zoo

J. ALEXIS BURLAND, M.D.

My argument starts with the idea that psychological homeostasis and mental health requires regular maintenance. The same inherent self-reparative processes that are evoked by the psychoanalytic situation, which involve ego regression and working through, are regularly mobilized in less intense and less focused ways by many of us we attempt to cope with the daily traumas, disappointments, losses, frights, and frustrations with which we are confronted. This self-maintenance also involves a certain amount of what might be called daily psychological ''calisthenics'' by which we keep our psyches "fit" in a manner comparable to the physical exercises we are advised to do to keep our bodies fit. One venue in which we engage in this self-maintenance is that of aesthetic experiences, and film is probably the form that is most frequently used today.

That theatrical aesthetic experiences can have some form of psychologically beneficial effect is, of course, not a new idea, ever since Aristotle wrote of the purgative and purifying functions of tragedy, the therapeutic effect of the theatrical induction of emotional catharsis has been accepted as a given, although as our sophistication concerning matters psychological has grown I think most would agree there is more to this process than simply

 

Part III - Epilogue

ePub

VAMIK VOLKAN, M.D., AND SALMAN AKHTAR, M.D.

The preceding chapters have sought to underscore the role of human imagination regarding animals in the realms of religion, fiction, children's literature, art, music, and cinema. The ground covered by them has ranged from the Judaic sacrificial lamb to the sacred cows of Hindus, from Kafka's (1915) irony about human metamorphosis into a cockroach to Rilke's (1907) anguished poem, The Panther, from the big bad wolf of Little Red Riding Hood to the grotesque monsters of Maurice Sendak's (1963) Where The Wild Things Are, from the somber complexities of Peter and the Wolf, to the intriguing animal characters in the recent movies Babe and The Fly. Together, these contributions offer a panoramic view of the involvement of man with animals in all the cultural realms of civilization.

As a coda to this symphony, we offer some additional remarks about two other areas in which the psychic involvement of man with animals plays a significant but largely uncelebrated role. The first of these areas pertains to immigration and exile. The second involves large group issues such as national identity, ethnic conflict, and war.

 

CHAPTER 9 Immigration, National Identity, and Animals

PDF

CHAPTER 9

Immigration, National Identity, and

Animals

VAMIK VOLKAN, M.D., AND SALMAN AKHTAR, M.D.

The preceding chapters have sought to underscore the role of human imagination regarding animals in the realms of religion, fiction, children's literature, art, music, and cinema. The ground covered by them has ranged from the Judaic sacrificial lamb to the sacred cows of Hindus, from Kafka's (1915) irony about human metamorphosis into a cockroach to Rilke's (1907) anguished poem, The Panther, from the big bad wolf of Little Red Riding

Hood to the grotesque monsters of Maurice Sendak's (1963)

Where The Wild Things Are, from the somber complexities of Peter and the Wolf, to the intriguing animal characters in the recent movies Babe and The Fly. Together, these contributions offer a panoramic view of the involvement of man with animals in all the cultural realms of civilization.

As a coda to this symphony, we offer some additional remarks about two other areas in which the psychic involvement of man with animals plays a significant but largely uncelebrated role. The first of these areas pertains to immigration and exile. The second involves large group issues such as national identity, ethnic conflict, and war.

 

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