Thursday, May 18, 2017

True Happiness (part 3): The First State Of All Living Things

My first pet was a dog named Rusty. I think was three. I may have done something three-years-oldish to the dog, but all I remember is that he bit my face and I never saw him again. Then there was Petey, a parakeet. Had him a long time. One Sunday morning we were walking out the door on the way to church when he fell off his perch, dead as a door-nail. He’s buried in the woods somewhere in Texas. My parents had a dog names “Whiskers.” Drove me nuts.

Now there are three cats in the house: a massive pure white cat named “Runt” (he was the runt of the litter), “Buddy,” a jet black cat who thinks he rules the world, and “Lilly,” the blondest a cat can possibly be. She’s alright. Runt keeps to himself, which is good. And Buddy . . . what can I say? “Get down!” “Stop that!” Things like that, I suppose.
What makes an animal happy? For Buddy, it’s food in all three bowls (he’ll clink them together with his paw if low or empty). A dog? Whatever makes his tail wag perhaps. Fish? No clue. Just feed ‘em and change their water. Our Son has a turtle upstairs. Can’t tell what makes him happy--maybe being inside his shell makes him happy. He’s in there a lot. Netflix or something.

There’s a beauty to animals, in the house or in the wild. But deep inside even the most domesticated animal is this burning desire to get out. Outside is too big for Buddy--scares him-- but he has gotten out a time or two and sits and the door meowing because he wants to try again. Runt gets out but he’s too fat to jump the fence, but Buddy could go right over.

Reminds me of the bass my dad caught and kept alive in a fish-tank at home (I was very young but remember this distinctly). Can’t have normal fish. Gotta have a bass. I think he was going to try to grow him to good “eating” size. One night we had some people over for games or dinner or something and the fish decided he wanted out. So he got out. Jumped right out of the tank straight down onto my mother’s hair and did his fishy, “Ohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrapnotagoodidea” dance all the way down to her lap. He wanted to be out of that tank because by nature, he did not belong in a tank.

But I digress: Lady Philosophy considers happiness as the first state in all living things (Book 3, Met. 2).


Caged and chained, living in fear of his master and eating from his hand but still a sight to behold. Let him taste fresh blood and “their latent will returns; with deep roaring they remember their old selves.”


Watch him fly, listen to him sing, catch and cage him, feed and water him and keep him. “[Y]et it he fly to the roof of his cage and see the shady trees he loves . . . the woods are all his sorrow calls for, for the woods he sings with his sweet tones.”


No matter what bends a branch down, soon as that weight is gone, does it not spring up again?


“PhÅ“bus sinks into the western waves, but by his unknown track he turns his car once more to his rising in the east.”

Conclusion: “All things must find their own peculiar course again, and each rejoices in his own return. Not one can keep the order handed down to it, unless in some way it unites its rising to its end, and so makes firm, immutable, its own encircling course. And you too, creatures of the earth, do dream of your first state, though with a dim idea. With whatsoever thinking it may be, you look to that goal of happiness . . .”
(Read Part 1, Part 2)

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