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On one hand, men exploit, manipulate and slaughter animals. On the other hand, they let animals interfere with their lives, pollute them, and sometimes dominate them. Since the classical Age, Man has sought to define himself in his opposition to animals. Claiming for himself the most noble faculties - consciousness, thought, esthetic sense, morality - he represses his own animal side, notably his sexuality. But Florence Burgat goes beyond this negative statement. She walks in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's steps, claiming that men, like animals are sensitive beings, liable to suffer. On this basis, she proposes a new morality. Florence Burgat is a philosopher, and works at the Laboratory of Social Anthropology of the College of France.
Why is the obsessive horrified by a tiny stain ? Why does the depressive relentlessly search for a redemptive punishment ? When human behaviour translates the suffering and helplessness of an individual confronted with anguish and solitude to the collapse of that being, to a retreat inside a strange inner world, to the loss of all that which anchors him to life, it is not enough, in order to understand him, to connect up the events of his life. It is also necessary to situate that individual in the wider scale of cultural indictations, which play a determining role in the formation of the personality. In this way, Évelyne Pewzner undertakes to show in what sense, Western Christianity, which is intrinsically linked to the problem of evil, leaves in each of us an imprint of distress. Évelyne Pewzner is a psychiatrist, and a professor of psychopathology at the University of Picardie.