Physiology of the Blessed

February 9, 2012

Agamben’s notion of the paradiscal body and in what form will humans be resurrected in is fascinating. He brings up the Edenic body, “the archetype of uncorrupted human nature,” and how the physiological makeup of the “blessed” could take on this pre-Fall form. He goes on to talk about how once resurrected, human life will have no need for bodily functions because the primary perfection of nature does not exist in the resurrection. Furthermore, animal life will not be allowed into Paradise because they are not blessed.

However, I was not sure as to what the argument was behind the animal life forms inability to be “blessed.” Do we not share those principal functions of nutrition and generation with the animals? Do not they too “eat, drink, sleep, and beget”?

The most intriguing quote that stuck out to me in chapter 6 was “If animal life and human life could be superimposed perfectly, then neither man nor animal — and, perhaps, not even  the divine — would any longer be thinkable.” In my own realm of the imagination, it’s difficult to perceive how man and animal could be superimposed. I feel as though within the human eye, it’s almost impossible to reach so far as to imagine a point where man, animal, and even divine become unthinkable.

Agamben addresses the relation between man and animal from a vantage point I had not completely considered previously. He draws on a passage from Thomas that says, “Yet they (men) needed them (animals) in order to draw from their nature an experimental knowledge.” Man was given the authority to bestow a name upon these animals despite the Biblical fact that animals were created first. The line separating the two seems to be created by man but as Agamben writes, “when the difference vanishes…something appears for which we seem to lack even a name.” Is he foreshadowing his previous statement that if animal and man become superimposed, they both will become unthinkable? Is this inevitable? And what exactly is the experimental knowledge that man draws from animal? Does animal not receive some sort of experimental knowledge from man?

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