- Sonoma, CA
I was leaving the house to go to dinner recently when I noticed our dog running along the fence barking at passers-by, then looking back to see if we noticed she was protecting us. It made me think of a friend's cat who would catch and kill gophers and other creatures, and then leave them on the back porch for her human friends.
I felt like I was seeing a more-than-human, deeply embedded need to be "useful," to contribute. There are a lot of fancy words tossed about by philosophers arguing over whether there is or isn't something like an 'essence,' but I would say that when any creature stops caring about whether they are helping or harming their fellow creatures and the larger world, they have lost contact with something very fundamental and essential in their natures.
But, as humans, we don't experience this lack of care as a betrayal of the larger world, but as a betrayal by and an alienation from that larger world.
Of course, even Hitler felt he was making the world a better place, was making a 'contribution,' so we have to look beyond 'sense' and consider 'sensibility.'
Do I make my 'offerings' humbly and sweetly, like a cat laying out gophers on a back porch, or do I make them aggressively and forcefully, full of resentment if they're not appreciated? Are my offering rooted in eros or thanatos? are they life affirming or life denying?
This may seem an odd 'bio' but bio- means life, and isn't it odd we reduce that root to mere facts of personal biograry?
Anyway, I try to remember when I open my self to others that what matters is the spirit in which the offering is made, not how it is received--some may see a nourishing repast, others a stinking carcass, and I shouldn't take it personally.
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