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: http://whyismycatsosad.blogspot.com/2011/07/luco-at-onkalo.html. 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.
"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.
I 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.