“With the chronophotographic gun, mechanised death has been perfected : its transmission coincides with its storage system. What the weapon destroys the camera immortalises.”
Friedrich A. Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1999
According to Henri-Louis Bergson, the term “primitive instinct” refers to what is innate, to that which is given to us by nature in order to survive. From this point of view, this instinct is something primordial, something that goes back to the origins of mankind. It would seem that we can’t go against this instinct as it isn’t the result of reflexion or reason but, instead, is a powerful, natural impulse, an unconscious force whose sole purpose is to preserve life. Bergson alluded to this term in The two sources of morality and religion (1932) which demonstrates that the primitive instinct, also known as the survival instinct, is present in every society and in every one of its members. The use of firearms and the practice of shooting are strongly associated with these notions of survival, protection and self-defense. It is also a controversial activity. More than any other sport, shooting can indeed be seen as an act of great brutality. Several sports can reflect this violence but shooting does so more than any other, at least from a psychological point of view. This aggressiveness can be felt in the steady, determined, impressive and threatening posture of the marksmen. There is, nevertheless, something touching, and even poetic, about the body language they adopt. Seen in this light, the expressions on the faces of these sharpshooters can become a subject for reflection on the instincts of human beings.