Sunday, February 1, 2009

"We Can Give Up Hoping To Be Eternal and Quit Fighting Dirt"

Recently I was at Borders and I stumbled upon the discounted section of random books. They ranged from books on cooking to the ever abundant romantic novels, however it was a book entitled Your Cat Interpreter:What Your Cat Is Saying To You, which I picked up and decided to browse on this day. The book explained the different ways cats communicate to their owners what they want, need, hate, etc. I remember thinking , how does anyone know that these cat's actions are language that they are communicating in any form to humans. I was making the assumption that communication should be a lot more complex to understand than my cat hates being stared at so therefore will never make eye contact. I kept thinking about this as I read Snyder's The Etiquette of Freedom, and how much Humans , me in this example, think they are so much different than other creatures. The point in the essay were Snyder says , "Language is a mind-body system that coevolved with our needs and nerves", really made me come to a connection between what this book was explaining and how communication within creatures occurs.

I find it interesting reading on how many possibilities there can be to approaching nature and wilderness. I find it even more fascinating the point in which Snyder list the Oxford Dictionary's entries for Wild simply because its all in a sense "negative" listings. It seems to me that man has tried so hard to seperate himself from "nature" with his concrete streets and his steel buildings over history that today man finds himself in a strange and unexpected position were his relationship to nature and the wild is so important both for nature and his survival. In a way the negative Oxford approaches to the word Wild are evidence of this self proclaimed human distance from "Wild", however in a time when there are issues concerning the survival of the earth and humans, man must come to terms with his inclusion in the book of nature. The mortality of man is forever not only his uncontrollable destiny but his biggest tie to nature. It is this I find fascinating with the observation of man and his game sat building eternal cities. But if life isn't forever than we can assume that nothing within is either. Man creates "eternal" cities however everything eventually becomes one with dirt.

Even TV shows such as Man Vs. Wild surround the whole concept of man attempting to out do nature. To live despite the wild's greatest attempts to put man in his place. It is not only a challenge to go out into "nature" in this show but to survive it for that requires a sense of almost supernatural technique and knowledge. (Which I will discuss further in my next post: Jesus Was A Tree Huger?)

I tried some of the things the book suggested with my own cat. He does hate getting his belly rubbed and therefore now I understand why he bites me when I do this. He also does not like being stared at so in observation I realized he does turn away from eye contact and follows those who don't look at him more ( Nobody likes being stared at). In all the cat and I have a more productive communication relationship these days. I simply began to think of it as not only do I talk to the cat, he talks to me as well.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be interested in your thoughts about the TV show The Dog Whisperer, where Cesar the dog trainer teaches bad pet owners to communicate with their pets. Actually he teaches them how to tell them who's boss. It feels like it's man's attempt to outdo nature in a very small scale. Maybe if this show had a different title it would be Man vs. What Should Have Been Domesticated Already.