|Boucicaut Master, 15th c. Fitzwilliam Museum|
"Parting" is a term in geology that denotes the breaks along parallel lines in rocks due to stress (in utter layman's terms). Once it is made, that's it, the stone is never whole again. And I think of this geological act of hewing, (and of seeing it in those Squire Boone caverns), and I think of the hewn as a primal human condition (order hewn from chaos, Adam hewn from dirt, Eve hewn from Adam, humans hewn from Eden - some of these thoughts assembled here), and all of a sudden just now it became important to think about animals' parting from some Eden state. Darwin and the urban pigeon would point to adaptability instead of Eden, Donna Haraway and Tim Morton would tell me to stop looking for origins and original states already, but (because I am just as fascinated by the mythology of Eden as I am by our potential freedom from/abandonment of it) I would want to pause and insist on asking about the post-Edenic fate of the pre-human. Animals were created before Adam and Eve in this our heavy and laden Judaeo-Christian ecology. When humans parted from Eden for their moral failing, how did this affect the animals in Eden? Are animals innocent morally? Innocent of morality? There's undoubtedly an answer in medieval theology, I just have to keep reading (and keep thinking through Karl Steel's book). But until then, I will keep turning to the pre-human as a way to consider the ecologies of the non-human and the post-human: did/do they have partings?