Whales

Whales_ooc_250 x 200 cm_kiefersfelden 2020

i remember my elementary school years when i got animal cards to learn. A blue whale was shown on one of these cards and I was fascinated by the enormous size and streamlined shape of this whale. But even more than this picture of the whale itself is the memory of a feeling that I always get when I think of the habitat of these animals. This space without limitation in which there is no left or right, only a feeling for above and below. Enveloped in this blue-shining substance in the depth of which it becomes darker and darker. it is a feeling of fear and vulnerability, of being exposed, disoriented, but also of weightlessness. but the nature of a whale gives me a feeling of security and calm, something that larger animals probably transmit because of the way they move. Also their way of communication, these penetrating sounds, chants, the spreading in the water, and their sensory abilities. I think in all of our body memories the ocean is stored as our amniotic fluid. But the symbolic or allegorical approach of many ancient cultures to these creatures also shows this deep connection. For me, Bill Reid, the Canadian sculptor, is one of the great artists who transformed Haida Art into contemporary art. Books such as Herman Neville’s novel “moby dick”, in an overlapping view of Hobbes, let the whale appear as a symbolic creature, as Leviathan. The state ends the bellum omnium contra omnes and begins it against its peers when it is “advantageous”. The sovereign Leviathane swim in the “lawless seas” of the natural state because there is no violence over them to decide for them. “All those creatures”, explains Melville, “prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.” Well-organized, well-armed powers are “in constant enmity” here. Captain Ahab’s whalers is just one of the powers involved in this fight. It is undoubtedly delightful and productive to read Moby Dick as a commentary on Hobbes’ political theory.

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