Fighting the Enemy as a Fabrication of an Enemy as a Human Habit

Oscar Domingues, “The Bull’s Anima”
Oscar Domingues, “The Bull’s Anima”

As Karl Jung has been teaching us, every man’s psyche has an anima, the feminine aspect, part of the man’s soul, perceiving the world from feminine perspective. Therefore according to Oscar Domingues’ painting the bull being the male that he is, has an anima. It is the gaze of anima that we’re encountering here, a horror ridden gaze, gaze of appeal.

Anima closes the right eye of the bull (with her fingers), the gaze of the bull’s animus (masculine perspective on the world) which is full of fury – what else can the animus of a bull that is selected for the fight feel – being a bull is to be a macho. The animus of a macho male is that of a fighting-hero. It can respond to “provocation” only with a belligerent answer. It is what causes the bull to clash with those who challenge him, he wants to smash and crush, fight and kill, fight and be killed. The animus makes the macho male more fearless when he fights and less fearful, sensitive to being killed, to dying.

But every fight/war-lover has anima that is usually kept shut up in the basement of even the highest-ranking generals’ psyche. It is this anima came to the surface of the bull’s face in Domingues’ painting – to express to us its horror and its grief about what humans done and continue to do with bulls by transforming them into target of human cheerful mass obsession with bullfighting. Is bull’s anima appealing to people for mercy? Is she asking us to wake up and to stop the killing bulls (by using their cognitive limitations as an excuse)? In comparison with a human being the bull is a child, a big hairy child. Why don’t we feel shame for abusing this child, this awkward and proud inhabitant of our mythology?

We see around the bull’s head three horns, one to the right horn is smaller, as if, it belongs to the anima of the bull. But why Domingues needs to have so many horns in this painting? Is it to make the point about how many bulls have already been slaughtered by humans (not mediated by any self-reflection) and vain bloodthirstiness? Why do we continue to force the bulls to be pans in our belligerent game of bullfighting, which we use to boast to one another about our fighting skills and courage?

It is, as if, the bull-anima is talking to us through Domingues’ painting from the cemetery of the murdered bulls. Her words through her weeping are trying to reach us between the darkened sky and the blood of spilled life covering the circus arenas of civilization.

Oscar Domingues
Oscar Domingues