Ontological hesitation thus becomes the essence of aesthetic contemplation, which forms the basis for an ethics of non-violence. One should assert, moreover, that this subjective difference implies somewhere that is not a “world,” that is not home, that is irreducibly, uncannily homely and alien. This alien “unhomely” (Unheimlich) home is impossible to think ecologocentrically as a total system bounded by an outside. The home-as-alien is ecology without Nature. Ontological hesitation is the most profound reason why aesthetic contemplation may be the key to understanding life forms. If nonhumans can contemplate thus, we are truly dealing with “unworking” animals, with animals as those beings who not only provoke us to theory, but are theory directly. Thus Levertov is incorrect to praise animals for not “faltering” and “know[ing] what [they] must do” (14–15).

From Animal to Vegetable.