Morning with The Dilettante

I am gazing out the window at my cat. He is doing something in the snow. Sniffing, investigating. He sits and stares across the river. I wonder. How does he decide what to do next? How does he choose which scent to indulge, follow, investigate? Can he be said to have will?

I turn to my husband and we both start speaking at once:

“The real tragedy of consciousness…” I begin.

“Do you want me to…” he starts.

“Sorry, what?”

“Eggs. Do you want some?”

“Oh. No, thanks.”

“What were you saying?”

“I said, the real tragedy of consciousness is…” He interrupts.

“Have you been reading German philosophers again?!?”

I look down, contrite. “Schopenhauer,” I confess.

“Well, stop it!”

There is a pause. I put forth the subject once more: “Can I at least tell you about the tragedy of consciousness and why I can’t be my cat?”

“Oh, I suppose,” he says. ” But I think you should drink your coffee first.”

9 responses to “Morning with The Dilettante”

  1. I was looking at Chester this morning thinking something similar. He’s so in the moment. I’ll be patting him and he’ll be all snuggly until one of my hoodie ties dangles across his gaze, then he turns into attack/play mode. If I suddenly remove the ties and hide them, he’s instantly back into cuddly mode. I was thinking how odd it is that they can forget about things immediately after they happen, yet are capable of such prolonged and fixated attention when they’re in stalking/prowl mode, undeterred by any peripheral interruption that might distract from their focus on their prey. Interesting combo. Sometimes I wish I could “forget” things and move on as easily, or be capable of such undivided attention. Yet supposedly we’re the more evolved ones, so we must be at an advantage with our “self-awareness.”

    • Hey! I wrote a reply to this! Surely my blog isn’t marking my own contributions as spam?

      Anyway, it was something about Little Plastic Castles and the inability to forget. But then I started looking for Ani DiFranco on YouTube. Ani ROCKS!

      So, I’ll get back to you later. 🙂

  2. Please if you ever come to New York you can come over and tell me about the tragedy of consciousness. I’ll give you eggs and coffee, too.

    • I would be pleased to have eggs and coffee with you and talk about the tragedy of consciousness. If I ever get to New York, I’ll make sure that it is on the agenda.

  3. Fabulous, fantastic, gorgeous write, you need to give it to flash fiction or something, it’s beautiful writing and, and, and…honestly!

    Great post, but it’s an excellent piece of fiction too! Seriously!

  4. I’m showing this post to my husband right now and saying, “See, I’m not the only one who keeps German philosophers on the tip of their brain!”

    Aka: convince him that teh internetz prove I’m not crazy yet again.

    (Although, I find Nietzsche more than Schopenhauer applicable because his language is so gorgeous-and he’s a bit more life-affirming when he’s not shrieking)

    • I was reading struggling through Essay on the Freedom of the Will. I didn’t make it.

      I’m not particularly well-versed in any of the Germans, tend towards the French poststructuralists, with occasional dips into linguistic theory. Dilettante-y, you know? I find Neitzsche’s contention that the vast masses are necessary only for the production of great men… erm… objectionable. Also, I think he was lonely and I always want to reach out and pat his hand, and say, “There, there. Not everybody’s life is as miserable as you think it is.”

      BTW, I’m probably not the best evidence you can find of sanity. ;p