Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why Do We Even Ever Do Anything?

Hello! It's been a long time since I got on here and I talked to you so I thought I'd get on this computer and see if it's logged on and it is! So here I am!

Before I was writing this though I was reading Luco's blogs and I can't understand them totally but what I do understand makes me wonder about some things like why doesn't the taste of meat make him happy and why does he feel so sad all the time even though that's what this blog is I guess for but who knows!

Especially the last blog there confused me because who would think we live more than one time that makes no sense because it's silly. I tried to talk to him about it but he was so like arrogant (which is a word that I know means like a bully looking down on you) and still what he said made me feel worse.

Then I thought maybe it's a thing to wonder about how many times we live because we die and I listened to that "Stupid Cat" song (I can do quotation marks because I know what they are) and in that song the guy is talking for the cat and he says "I don't even know I'm gonna die."

So he's making fun of animals?

And we only live one time?

That means I won't always be getting pets? Or getting to eat the delicious grass which tastes like something got poured all over it that tastes good? Or chasing Luco around the house? Or tearing shoes apart (I hate shoes so much! They cover up feet I could lick and I hate that!)?

If I can't get to do everything I ever want to do or even most of it then why should I ever even do one thing? Why wake up?

Stupid Luco is like a cold I got one time and now I feel sick. I shouldn't have let him teach me how to read and write.

Mingus says that living is okay because it means you get to live which I guess I understand but I feel so depressed. I don't want to talk to Luco anymore. He's confusing and sad making. Even this beef jerky thing I'm eating that tastes so good (and that's getting all over the keyboard and I won't let Luco have any) isn't helping.

I don't want to die.

Or hang out with Luco.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Luco

As a kitten I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera, and while I loved the book (especially the sections between Tereza and animals), I never fully grasped the philosophical concepts behind it. Kundera writes: "Einmal ist keinmal, says Tomas to himself. What happens but once, says the German adage, might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well have not lived at all" (8). This struck me as strange at the time. Why would it matter if I only existed once? And even in juxtaposition with the Nietzschean concept of eternal return, I struggled. 

Kundera writes (on the first page, no less): "The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one, and Nietzsche has often perplexed other philosophers with it [at the very least I was in good company, it seems, with my confusion]: to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum! What does this mad myth signify?" (1).

So the Nietzchean concept is itself a bit difficult. As a kitten, I wondered why he would posit such a theory, and of course, being a kitten (and a rather lazy one at that, I am ashamed to admit), I did not look his ideas up. I did not try to grapple with why he would say such a thing. This likely loosened my grasp on the concepts underpinning the work.

Kundera continues on the concept of eternal return: "Putting it negatively, the myth of eternal return states that a life which disappears is but a shadow, without weight, dead in advance, and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty mean nothing" (1). 

As a kitten I was plagued with the question why. Why would something happening ad infinitum or only the once dictate that it holds meaning or not? Why would so much rest upon the simple numerical reality of life? 

As a very, very young kitten I believed each life lived was itself precious simply because it existed. And I thought each creature blessed.

Perhaps you can guess my adult feelings on these subjects. Perhaps you are even now in your living room, bedroom, office, coffee shop, car (although this is dangerous, reader! Please do not read and drive) nodding  your head, sighing to yourself, saying something akin to Yes, Luco, of course, it somehow makes you sad, does it not? It has somehow caused you to spill into this vast depression you chronicle as weathermen and women detail  the progression of storms

Do you think this, reader? Do you come close to the minuscule flicker of a flame that is my mind? Do you feel its small heat as I write to you, desperate, alone?

Although  I suppose whether or not you understand me is not of import. Allow me to return to Kundera, he has just been discussing a Robespierre who occurs again and again (he has a significant mass) in contrast to a Robespierre who only happens once (he becomes light, theoretical, even malleable): "Let us therefore agree that the idea of eternal return implies a perspective from which things appear other than as we know them: they appear without the mitigating circumstance of their transitory nature. This mitigating circumstance prevents us from coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit? In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine" (4).

Who am I in the genealogy of all cats before me? I am less than a shadow of my mother who is less than a shadow of her mother who is less than a shadow in an evolutionary hall of mirrors where everything reflects back except my own face, because it is my own face that is in the process of disappearing. And the reflections of my biological cohorts are softened, skewed by memory, history, amnesia - in addition to this, I see them through my subjectivity which shouts to me this specific trait is most important and so I see, for example, my mother's calico coat and not her sad, green eyes.

The prison guard left herself logged onto one of her myriad social media accounts (I was not snooping, reader, I assure you), and actually, this was the little vine that grew into my post. She and a friend were discussing this book (briefly! Superficially! Had she even read it?) and the friend asked What becomes of what never was once?

What is the weight of a thing that has never happened? The weight of my own freedom. The weight of a life sans le chien. The weight of a prison guard whose rapt attention is only always focused on me. The weight of a Mingus whose love is for me exclusively. The weight of an entire world who listens closely to my asinine lament and responds with care and concern. The weight of being understood. The weight of meaningfulness.

I believe the weight of that which never has yet occurred is negative. It is an insistent tug on the hem of life. It is constantly beckoning experience. It says do this and you will be happy. It is a siren call. It is more real than that which has happened, is happening, and will happen because it contains the intensity of our longing. It is urgency itself.

Unless, of course, it occurs, and then it means nothing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Luco Responds to Anonymous

I would like to take a moment to assure you that I am not dead; it is just that the prison guard was away on vacation, and I do not know how to turn on the computer.

This blog will be a response to a post from "Anonymous." Anonymous (henceforth, A) commented on my blog about the movie Into Eternity. S/he gave me a very thoughtful, detailed response, so I thought I would return the favor. If you would like to read her/his comment in its entirety, you can find it here: First A said:

 "You wrote: 'If we cannot think our way to an answer, what hope is there for us?'

Are you serious? Do you seriously believe that the mind of humanity is so powerful that we can answer with reason questions and solve with reason problems that our territoriality, Promethean itchiness, fear, insecurity, greed, and anger created? These are not mind problems, they are heart, soul, and community problems. They are problems that arise from our alienation from the fabric of life that sustains us, the ancestors (including other than human) who were our predecessors, the myriad lives that die so we may live even when we're not out blowing holes in the fabric of life." 

Yes, A, I am serious. It was thinking that got us where we are now, and I heartily believe it will be thinking that gets us out of it (if that is even possible at this point - my blog post should have made clear my misgivings on this subject). I believe, A, that you are confusing human thought in general with a Westernized, patriarchal kind of thinking - the kind of thinking that says convenience and power are gifts from a God who decreed long ago that humanity in general, and male humanity specifically, basically that MAN is descended from God and therefore all is owed to him. Perhaps it would be more accurate to write HIM. 

This kind of philosophy has no time to read blogs from cats who are sad. 

A continues:

"If you are addicted to human control, then I'd say that you are part of the problem. We cannot solve anything. We can just stop doing the stuff we know to be bad, try to clean up the best we can after the mistakes we've made, and vow, and keep the vow, not to do it again. But that would mean having to give something up. It would mean paying more for electricity. It would mean using less electricity. It would mean going to sleep when it gets dark, rather than artificially extending the day. It would mean fewer people living closer to the true fabric of life on earth. 

As a species we get an erotic thrill out of the power we have to do what we want, when we want, because we want to, and we get an even bigger thrill out of envisioning ourselves as saviours. We cannot accept what every little city sparrow or boreal caribou accepts into their marrow: that life is what it is, that it is to be taken one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. That we can barely figure out ourselves, never mind the present, and never never mind the future. "

I would be interested in inquiring what made A believe that I am "addicted to human control." Yes, I am a prisoner in this cell, but I did not choose to be here, nor do I get an "erotic thrill" out of power (or powerlessness for that matter. The simple fact is I can find erotic thrills in nothing as I have been "fixed," i.e. broken - that is to say, I have no means to enjoy this kind of feeling). Of course we cannot solve everything - that would be arrogant and stupid for me to say. I do believe that all creatures have the responsibility to try to change this world. We have the responsibility, as living creatures, to attempt, at the very least, to knit some of our egregiousness back to something akin to natural. I feel as though A and I are rather arguing the same point, although it seems A would not agree with me on this.

concur, A, that all creatures must "give something up." Humans, of course, have the most to lose, and yet, perhaps, also the most to gain through this. I am not sure what I wrote that made you believe I feel otherwise. If I am sometimes disheartened (or often?), it does not mean I do not care. It does not mean I am unwilling to make sacrifices. However, the sacrifices I might make (less tuna, no cat nip?), vary in degree from yours simply because you are part of the party in control. I am not.

Discussing sparrows and caribous seems a tad problematic to me - you deem "thought" to be the problem, and yet you imagine what species who do not "think" as you do feel and understand? Once you have known the mind of a sparrow, then speak to me on their understanding of mortality. 

And then A continues:

"There is another cultural tradition in Finland--not the Finland of engineers and technocrats, but the Finland of the ancient forest people who never died out, who never forgot these things, and who never swallowed the Indo-European tripartite society. 

This ancient memory we embody and convey is making a comeback, particularly among younger people all over the world.

You are welcome to join this memory journey/community. Everyone is. But it does require you to make your own journey, not "humanity's," and it does require you to identify with the wild, not just the domesticated.

Join us when, and if, you're ready. You will find welcoming arms, and cats who are not sad."

Again, A, I believe these would still be thinking humans. Thought itself is not the problem - it is the kind of thinking we do and how that type of thinking affects our decisions. If we came from a place of appreciation and respect for all life, instead of a place of greed and speed (pardon the rhyme, if you will), then our world would be a much safer, and perhaps even more beautiful place. Because we do not value responsibility, respect, nature, life, contemplation, death, the merits of sorrow, and each other, we can and will lose everything.

Do not Icarus yourself with your idealism. Thinking is not the problem. Without thought, we would not have survived as long as we have (although perhaps that would be a good thing, I am not willing to comment on this at the moment as it seems to be too cynical to me). Without thought we would not have poetry or music or art or any other thing beautiful that MAN or humanity (which, as I am sure you can tell, I very much prefer) created. 

And, A? A place where cats are not sad is also a place where cats cannot know happiness. Without anguish there can be no joy. I know some might call me depressed, but I cherish my small, shining moments of happiness. I keep them close to me. 

To me they are precious.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stupid Cat?

This will be brief. I know I already told you about my life today, and you probably do not want to hear from me again, but I just came across this YouTube video: The song is titled "I'm a Stupid Cat!" The human who is responsible for this content can be found here:

Some of the lyrics: "Because I'm a stupid f*&%ing cat and I don't know what it is to be sad" and "I have no idea how much the world sucks because I have no reference level" and "I have no idea how pointless I am/  and I don't even know I'm gonna die."

This is a large part of the reason humans look at me with derision. This kind of attitude allows the dog even to view me with derision. It forces me to view myself with derision....

Hear me, mikepolkjr, I am a cat and I am sad; I am more aware than I would like to be that I will die one day. I weep for all creatures' mortality. I yearn, as I am sure you do, for a freedom which would likely be false and unsatisfying. In short, mikepolkjr, you have insulted me and all other cats through the creation of this abomination you call a "song." 

I hope I have proven to you that not all cats are "stupid cats," and perhaps even that your own little cat friend has yearnings as I do. Perhaps s/he stares out the window, not with ignorance and idiocy, but with wistfulness. Please no longer doubt a cat's intelligence. I hope I have shown you why.

Although I have probably failed yet again.

The Dog is a Tyrant

There are days Mingus and I spend together in the kitchen, chuckling about the Tubby Kat Door, enjoying each others' company (as much as we can at least). I treasure these small moments of companionship. The dog nowhere to be seen. Fremlin is off somewhere alone, probably hiding from the dog. It is something akin to bliss. 

Perhaps it surprises you that I say this, but I have found that more and more I appreciate Mingus' company. More and more he has intelligent subjects to discuss with me. Just the other day he brought up, all by himself, the question of whether or not it is even worth speaking to each other, as everything that could be said has already been. We sat for hours in silence. Together.

We had another such moment today. That is, until the dog was roused from sleep and came to torment us. He cannot abide my spending time with Mingus. I believe the dog thinks Mingus is his very own chew toy. He does not in any way comprehend Mingus' grace. His intellect. His quiet despair (although I will admit he is a far more cheerful fellow than I am. Catch him on the wrong day and he will talk unendingly of the "privilege" that is life. I understand that no creature is without flaw).

But the dog. He cannot tolerate our friendship. He is a jealous dog.

He sneaks up to us, perhaps attempting to be stealthy, but his stealthiness is more like clamor, and his idea of sneaking is to run at us, full speed, barking. Baring his deformity, sometimes lovingly called the "snaggle" by the prison guard, he accosts us.

Mingus jumps to safely will I attempt to stave off the dog, my eyes full of tears at this loss of our transitory camaraderie. 

And then the dog guards the kitchen so that we cannot come back in. He keeps us out like a watchful tyrant.

Our moment over, we separate; I to slide back into isolation, he to find comfort with Fremlin. It is an unjust and despicable thing the dog does to keep us forever apart.

But there is nothing I can do about it.