a corpse rules society – the corpse of labour

(this post is not about genH, but future ones will be.)

a month or so ago i read this fantastic manifesto against labour (they spell labour differently in europe) where the author attributes this fantastic line about baboons refusing to speak to immanuel kant:

it was immanuel kant’s keen conjecture that baboons could talk if they only wanted and didn’t speak because they feared being dragged off to labour.

i tried searching (via the internet) for kant’s keen conjecture in his own (translated) words, but no luck.  maybe that part hasn’t yet been translated into english.  or, maybe not all of kant’s writings are accessible over the internet.  or maybe kant never actually made the conjecture.  whatever the case, i really like quote.   i mean, all animals work — they work for food, shelter and sexual opportunities  — but only humans, as far as i can tell, continue to work once they’ve secured those necessaries.

i remembered that quote last week when i saw the (not so) fantastic mr fox.  for me, what made the animals so anthropomorphic wasn’t the recognizable celebrity voices or the clothes they wore, but the fact that they all had jobs and private property.

what i did like about the fantastic mr fox is how it openly endorses a type of stealing: it’s fine (and possibly even a moral imperative) to steal from large corporations.  which means i would have liked this movie more if i saw a pirated copy rather than paying 8 dollars to see it at the theater.



Filed under Brian

7 responses to “a corpse rules society – the corpse of labour

  1. michelle

    or maybe what made them so convincingly anthropomorphic them was that they had adopted a (what some would call human, but isn’t necessarily) desire to be relevant, a necessary part of the group. the jobs and property being a symptom of that desire for relevance, but more importantly their cooperation and altruism.

    and this isn’t a pro-capitalist comment. i just mean that, regardless of property ownership and social stratification in the forest, the animals (just like humans) ultimately had to cooperate to survive.

  2. brian

    but there’s a difference between social relations and economic relations. like plenty of animals have social relations with other animals without those social relations being determined by economic relations (like jobs).

    in fantastic mr fox, mr fox seems to locate the animal’s problems in the fact that they have forgotten that they’re actually wild animals rather than human animals (or rather the recent development of a type of human animal defined mostly by their relation to an existing economic order, or the ones who value work and jobs above everything else). in the movie, the animals are able to successfully execute their asymmetrical warfare precisely when they tap into their wild animal nature. however, once the battle is over, they’re back at their jobs and worrying about the real estate market. so what was the point?

  3. brian

    so i agree that it’s about cooperation. however, if the essence of cooperation is reduced to jobs, that kind of depresses me.

  4. michelle

    dont be sad. there’s an interesting article about capitalism and altruism here…


    so you can argue that cooperation’s not reduced to jobs if you agree with the assumption that, as you said earlier, humans are the only ones who work after securing sex, food, and shelter.

  5. natali

    what i liked most about that movie is that i kept complaining about how i wished it was about wolves instead of foxes and finally one showed up. i wonder if kant would say that i caused it to happen just by thinking it.

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