Gray, John. “Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life”,Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.
Cats, Humans and the Meaning of Life
It seems that philosophers have always looked at the idea of happiness and how to make it happen, how to be a good person, how to be loved and how to live in a world filled with loss and yet constantly changing. John Gray looks at cats to see if they just might have the answers to be these issues. The way that cats live is without the anxiety of life; they do not display self-consciousness and they simply do not have to deal with life as humans do. Gray looks at what has been written about cats and explores what we can learn from them.
“Gray offers a profound, thought-provoking meditation on the follies of human exceptionalism and our fundamentally vulnerable and lonely condition.” He looks at life as a way forward but minus “illusions and delusions, revealing how we can endure both crisis and transformation, and adapt to a changed scene, as cats have always done.” Do we see what cats reveal about the human relationship with the world?
Cats have always adapted to their surroundings and how they do that has something to say to those of us who find it hard to do so. I do not think of cats having the power of thought but they certainly have something that we do not.
The book is really about humans and not cats yet we do have cat-related anecdotes from life and from literature. More important that in reading this we learn about various schools of thought. As a philosopher myself, I spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning of life. I have not, before reading this, thought about how cats see life. Beautifully written and provocative, I have a lot to think about now.