February 1, 2020: The Curious Lesson Learned by Conejo the Cat and More About the Art of Stopping and Starting Over Again?
Why should I cry for not being an apple, when I was born an orange, I’d be crying for an illusion, I may as well cry for not being a horse. Donna Williams
It’s very interesting how in the world everything has become more global: mining, drugs, guns, illnesses, the stock market, everything—except people. Isabel Allende
Conejo was my cat, though I use the word “my” as a convenience, not as claim of ownership. I guess I named him that because as a kitten his ears matured faster than his head, but he is long dead and I do not exactly remember.
I do remember he was stubborn and willful and gentle and affectionate all in a feline manner. I also remember, exactly, how much more I learned from him than anything he may have learned from me.
I was moving to Oregon in 1975 and Conejo knew something was afoot and became invisible. I had a deadline and finally could wait no longer. Literally, as I was driving away, I saw him. Breaking quickly, gear in neutral, motor running, out of the van I leaped and grabbed Conejo, who, for whatever feline “reason” did not run off. I put him in the vehicle—he had never been for a ride—and away we went freewaying it up through California.
It was horrible and there was nothing I could do. Conejo was freaking out, trying in his feline way to keep up with the world speeding by—an impossible task. But he was stubborn and willful, or perhaps just a cat, and he kept at it. He needed to apprehend all the newness, to assess, to organize, to make sense of it and his place in the speeding chaos.
It was about eight hours of torture for all, when Conejo learned something—actually two somethings: If one makes the world smaller or larger, stuff doesn’t go as fast. He had finally found the floor or the van, but he also found the horizon when perched on the back of a seat. His world could now be readily assessed, organized, and made sense of— his environment now in order, he had found his place and his peace in what was previously a speeding chaos.
I’ve often thought of that cat and what he learned—a learning I think I have yet to fully fathom on the human scale. Yes, like a cat, the world we live in requires some sort of order, some sort of predictability, and attaining that order might really be up to us. We can hunker down in some bunker of ourselves or we can perch on some hilltop of ourselves, both of which can afford us the ability to avoid the speeding chaos.
But because we have made sense of the world does not mean we are making sense. Apples are not oranges, horses and cats are not humans, and, so far, apparently people are not people. If we are driven to confine ourselves to a comfortable bunker or a lofty hilltop, we may be doing so because we cannot keep up with so many different modes of humanity. What is required of apples or oranges or cats or horses, may not be what is now required of humans. The creation of better or worse human beings, as opposed to recognizing differing skill-sets, does not serve us well—it enslaves. No god did that, we did. Entrepreneur or job-holder, liberal or conservative, this political party or that, this religious affiliation or that, the notion that there is one God taken to mean there is one right way of living and being is likely a contagion. There can be one God, but there cannot be one kind of living creature, one kind of human being.
Hierarchies can be fine for many things, but not for moralizing, not for classes of better or worse people. We are global and we are human and we are many in many forms. Making sense of that may require letting go of our overarching categorical imperative regulating human standing: inclusivity does not mean we all are required to be the same. Non-normal neurals (different neurology) and non-normal empaths and non-normal spirits are the norm.
Learning this is and has been difficult for me. It is aggravating to learn we do not have to be on the same page—it feels a like being an outsider. Yet when I feel like I’m on the same page with others, I get suspicious as though I’m missing something. I think I get the compass heading I’ve expressed above, but the implementation often looks like a Frankenstein, far from the beauty I’ve imagined. Maybe transcendence is more like troubled waters when caught between this and that, rather than the rapture we may expect. But what choice do I, do we have? We are well past the point of no return. Things are global and coming fast, yet we all still need place—roots. If I try to uproot others, someone somewhere has no place, and that, as it turns out, is a threat to all.