Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I've seen cats look at the moon

From Text 405 of The Book of Disquiet:
Life would be unbearable if we were conscious of it. Fortunately we're not. We live as unconsciously, as uselessly and pointlessly as animals, and if we anticipate death, which presumably (though not assuredly) they don't, we anticipate it through so many distractions, diversions and ways of forgetting that we can hardly say we think about it.

That's how we live, and it's a flimsy basis for considering ourselves superior to animals. We are distinguished from them by the purely external detail of speaking and writing, by an abstract intelligence that distracts us from concrete intelligence, and by our ability to imagine impossible things. All this, however, is incidental to our organic essence. Speaking and writing have no effect on our primordial urge to live, without knowing how or why. Our abstract intelligence serves only to elaborate systems, or ideas that are quasi-systems, which in animals correspond to lying in the sun. And to imagine the impossible may not be exclusive to us; I've seen cats look at the moon, and it may well be that they were longing to have it.

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