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  • Writer's pictureCrone

What does it mean?

Bobbit seems to be singing to me. But what is he saying? Does the song express something or does the behaviour (singing while close to me) contain the meaning?

George Schaller in The Last Panda describes himself as "an explorer in the ways of animals." I like that. What he goes on to say is even more interesting.

[A]s Werner Heisenberg noted: "We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." A fact is not a fact until someone has posed the question, and slowly the world of the animal emerges from the questions raised and facts collected. But if someone else asks a different question, a different creature, a different reality comes into existence. The animal is an illusion created out of the animal's interaction with an observer who decides what to measure and record and what to ignore. [...] Any biologist who observes a tiger, gorilla, panda, or other creature and says he or she has done so with total objectivity is ignorant, dishonest, or foolish.

This aligns with Vinciane Despret's thesis in Living as a Bird, where she shows that by asking different questions and basing research on different ideas, many almost contradictory views of territory were documented.

And this reminds me of something in Jack Turner's The Abstract Wild: "A passage from an obscure journal by the philosopher Nelson Goodman often occupies my mind. 'For me, there is no way which is the way the world is; and so of course no description can capture it. But there are many ways the world is, and every true description captures one of them.'"

So what is a true description? I return to Despret:

It is about finding the theories which are more in tune and better in tune, both in the sense of being attuned to a richer and more diverse reality and in being more closely attuned to birds and to their performances than was the case with previous theories. It is the realization that a territory is an ensemble made up of many different powers. And knowing how to respect these. Creating a territory means creating modes of attention, or, more precisely, it involves putting in place new regimes of attention. These two scientists succeeded in learning how to pay attention in the way birds pay attention to each other. By stopping, listening, and listening again. Here, now, something important is happening, something significant is being created.

What significant thing is created by this intimacy between Bobbit and I? Entanglement? Affection? Security? Beauty? Happiness? Love?

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Nov 26, 2023

It's a good thing, whatever it is xx

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