re: revisiting the gaze and mr. berger

i've long been crushing on john berger's mind.

for a good while now and finally picked up another one of this books, about looking. because it's saturday morning and i'm feeling particularly intellectual at the moment (it's fleeting so i should grasp it while it's there) i wanted to share a quote from the book and something i jotted down in my notebook while on the go.

"The eyes of an animals when they consider a man are attentive and wary. The same animal may well look at other species in the same way. He does not reserve a special look for man. But by no other species except man will the animals' look be recognized as familiar. 
Other animals are held by the look. 
Man becomes aware of himself returning the look." (chapter one: why look at animals, p4)

an animal looks. their stare stops other animals in their tracks. they're stopped. arrested in time. yet man does something different. he meets an animal's stare but it's with a look of power and dominance. some argue the animals don't have a gaze, because they're not aware of themselves looking. man is the only species who sees himself in the reflection of the water and knows it's himself looking back.

we see ourselves looking and when confronted with an animal, we also recognize that we are being looked back at. does it all go back to when narcissus first saw his face in the pool's reflection?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting topic.. maybe some animals have the same kind of "look" too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test


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