Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The nearest kin of the moon

This post is a tribute to the grey cat who comes to visit us sometimes. She lives next door but apparently likes company so when I’m working at home during the day she comes and sleeps on our bed next to my desk. She has a relaxed approach to life illustrated by this picture:

This is what she thinks of Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems:

We don’t feed her as she’s well cared for at home and she’s a gentle little soul so it’s quite touching that she likes to visit. Our flat is on the first floor but she gets in through the sloping roof below our window, being attuned to the wisdom of Kipling’s long-ago cat: ‘I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.’ Here’s what the ever-wonderful Martin Buber has to say about cats:

‘Sometimes I look into a cat’s eyes… The beginning of this cat’s glance, lighting up under the touch of my glance, indisputably questioned me: “Is it possible that you think of me? Do you really not just want me to have fun? Do I concern you? Do I exist in your sight? Do I really exist? What is it that comes from you? What is it that surrounds me? What is it that comes from me? What is it?” (“I” here is a transcription for a word, that we do not have, denoting self without the ego; and by “it” is to be imagined the streaming human glance in the total reality of its power to enter into relation.) The animal’s glance, speech of disquietude, rose in its greatness – and set at once. My own glance was certainly more lasting; but it was no longer the streaming human glance. The rotation of the world which introduced the relational event had been followed almost immediately by the other which ended it. The world of It surrounded the animal and myself, for the space of a glance the world of Thou had shone out from the depths, to be at once extinguished and put back into the world of It.

‘I relate this tiny episode, which I have experienced several times, for the sake of the speech of this almost unnoticeable sunrise and sunset of the spirit. In no other speech have I known so profoundly the fleeting nature of actuality in all its relations with being, the exalted melancholy of our fate, the change, heavy with destiny, of every isolated Thou into an It.’

Here's the cat with me - she's fed up of Buber:

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