Cats. I’ve written a bit about them in these webpages. About how observing our house cats’ everyday behavior can illuminate something of human behavior, which, if you’re keeping score at home, indicates a global, if not universal, consciousness. Mainly, I’ve concentrated on how Carol’s and my three cat buddies have spontaneously changed their behaviors in new circumstances, and, conversely, how they crave pattern. They need certainty, yet are adaptable to new circumstances.
Whether they alter their patterns or not, their deep psychological baggage does not go away. Whatever made Oscar jump in his early life, he’s still antsy about today. Whatever made Elvis feel insecure early on, his neediness precedes him even now. And Gracie… well… Gracie still loves to take a swat at big ol’ Oscar and then hide behind our legs, like she’s still a tiny waif of a thing. Since switching her to a raw food diet, she has ballooned. (But don’t tell her that!)
How they see themselves seems not to change much. They live far shorter lives than humans. If we stretched their anxieties and self images over the course of an average human lifespan, we might find that their ability to change in personal psychology matches up perfectly with our own. Perhaps it’s easier to see the stickiness of early developmental behavior in cats than in us because their truncated lifespan gives them an exaggerated version of our problems. Or perhaps I am wrong about the accordion-like nature of inner space compressing space junk per the demands of the limits of time expressed as lifespan.
Or whatever the hell it is I’m trying to sound intelligent saying.
Look, the point is, cats now and forever reflect their early care. Some aspects of them may change with time, better care, and through learning from other cats and training by cat people. Some, but not all, because other aspects are engrained in their personalities and their reflexive responses, and while all of this may read like, “Duh,” the thing to note is that it’s easier to observe this in cats and then think, ‘That’s not me.’ But that is you. That’s all of us.
As we sit here and pity cats their inability to get over the crap that happened to them when they were kids, ask yourself, how many of us do? We mistake our ability to work on our psychological baggage for our actually working on it. We talk a great game about what we can do, how much we can learn, how we can release ourselves from the bondage of our past—how much we can change. And then… do we actually do it? I mean some of us do, right? But do most of us?
Or do we relax in the self-satisfaction that we have this great ability and that’s enough? To be better than cats in theory while stunted in our growth, actually. How many of us mistake comprehending our shackles in an abstract way for freeing ourselves from them?
And here you may still be saying to yourself, “Duh.” Okay, fine. Duh. But now ponder this one….
If our psychology and our rate of dealing with our baggage is the same or similar to a cat’s, then our psychological selves do not separate us from animals. I mean our selves with our vast intellect and imagination may be wildly out of control, exploding and expanding creatively in ways that other animals don’t, but is that because we are more evolved or because we’re out of balance?
That one’s not so Duh now, is it? And here we are left with a cat purring on our lap and a question in our head: If the self and its expression are not what humans bring uniquely to the table of life on this here planet, then what did Mother Earth birth us into existence for in the first place? What else are we here to express if not our psychological selves?
Don’t ask a cat. They’ll tell you, “slavery.”