Jeffery Cohen’s lecture, in class yesterday, was such an incredible experience. I was very surprised at hearing how in-depth, important, and emotional the field of “thing theory” can be. However, of all the topics discussed during yesterday’s lecture, the one discussion that captivated me was the analysis of Laüstic, which seemed to fully embody what we have been covering, in this course.
I was intrigued about what Dr. Cohen said about things being forced into new forms against their will. In this case, I thought it was interesting how we saw the nightingale’s own vibrance being suppressed by it dying, and also, I was moved by what Dr. Cohen said about the idea of ethical concerns with forcing this dead creature into becoming a piece a vibrant matter, according to the wishes of its human murderers. Such a view of the nightingale seemed to truly shed light on what Bennett has been saying all along in Vibrant Matter, and that is, we need to garner a more ecological and ethical view on our treatment of things.
Although the nightingale’s death does seem to evoke a kind of sadness and contempt for those who reshaped its vibrance, I would argue that its beauty is still preserved and carries on. When we think about how the nightingale was, in essence, at the wrong place at the wrong time, the very act of turning it into something of a saintly idol seems to evoke a sense of respect and reverence for a being that would have otherwise been discarded and forgotten about. However, by becoming a symbol of the two adulterous lovers, it seems that its vitality is increased and even saved from a short appearance in the story of forbidden love.
Therefore, I would agree with Cohen’s assertion that we should have an ethical concern for something that has had life its life, or vitality, taken from it, but I would say that in the case of Laüstic, something far more beautiful emerges through the act of reshaping a material’s vibrance.