‘So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.’ –Kafka


So what does fascinate me in the animal? The first thing that fascinated me is that every animal has a world. It is curious because many people do not have a world. They live the life of everyone’s life, no matter who, no matter what. Animals have worlds. An animal world, what is it? It is sometimes extraordinary limited. And this is it that moves me. Finally the animals react to very few things. Several sorts of things.


So the very first characteristic of the animal is the existence of specific, peculiar animal worlds; and it is perhaps, sometimes, the poverty of those worlds, the reduced character of those worlds that interest me a lot.

For example, we have been previously talking about animals such as the tick. The tick responds or reacts to three things. Three stimuli. Nothing more in a nature that is a huge nature, three stimuli, that’s all. It tends towards the edge of a branch, attracted by light. It can wait on top of that branch for years without eating, without anything, totally amorphous. Well, it waits for a ruminant, an herbivore, an animal that passes under its branch, ready to drop; it is a kind of an olfactory stimulus. The tick smells the animal passing under its branch. The second stimulus; the light then the smell. Then, once fallen on the back of the poor animal, it will look for the least hairy area. Here a tactile stimulus. And it sinks into the skin. It does not care about anything else. In a swarming nature, the tick extracts three things. This is what makes a world.


It is not enough to have a world to be an animal. What absolutely fascinated me are the issues of territory. Because constituting a territory is nearly the birth of art.


If someone would ask me what an animal is, I would answer “a being on the lookout”. It is a being fundamentally on the lookout. (…) The writer is on the lookout. So is the philosopher. You see, the ears of an animal. Well it does nothing without being on the watch. An animal never keeps still. While eating, it has to watch out if anything is happening in its back, on its sides, etc. Such an existence on the lookout is terrible.

{ Gilles Deleuze’s ABC Primer, with Claire Parnet | PDF | Read more | Video 1, Video 2 }

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