Exercise 1.3- When Species Meet

In this excerpt of Donna Haraways’  ” When Species Meet” two stories are connected together . The first story is about Derrida’s relationship with the cat and how he struggled to properly respond to the cats behavior. The second story is about Smuts attempt at properly researching the behaviors of baboons. Both stories have a common underlying theme, this idea of how humans struggle with “becoming with” creatures around them. She explains how to become with a creature you must in a way mimic them, showing how by mimicking the baboon they changed the view of her from an “object” to an “subject”. This change in perception from the baboon is quite groundbreaking because it shows a different relationship being taken on between human and animal. To truly “become with” an animal, an individual must embrace the animals characteristics and behaviors.  When Smuts began adjusting her behavior around the baboons by simply changing the way she walked and sat, the baboons response changed dramatically. Although the baboons were not friendly with Smuts, they had established a relationship in her attempt to “become with” them. Humans must be able to recognize the “invitations” given by the animal. Smuts did this, while Derrida struggled with analyzing the cats response and what it meant. We see a failed attempt at “becoming with” the cat.  There is  this idea that close bodily interactions between two species can enlighten more truth then language interactions. With language its easy to deceit, but the natural bodily reactions is hard to fake.  So with that two questions that I have regarding this piece are:

What are the exact signals that an animal might give that humans must be able to recognize? Can  this “invitation” be misinterpreted?

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