Thursday, February 02, 2012

My cat as an Avatar of what the Founders saw in Man

I have a cat named Kramer. Kramer is jet black. As a kitten she lived the first four or five months of her life with a friend of mine in his bachelor apartment when he was between wives or girl friends. She was so aggressive and possessive that when she was about a month old her mother took the other kittens and marched west into the Arkansas outback and left her with Jimmy.

Jimmy was wise enough not to leave her in the apartment by herself because, if she got bored she would find something to break. He tried to take her to the office but his employees (he owns a sign company) rebelled. So Kramer ended up living with Jimmy, riding wherever he went on business in his pickup, staying in his office when he was there, and bonding with the dominant male in her life.

As luck would have it, one day I needed a sign at my business and I called Jimmy. He arrived the next day, cat in hand, opened the pickup door and I watched as, the soon to be named, Kramer, vaulted from the vehicle onto the sidewalk and surveyed her new domain with the yellow eyes of the predator she naturally embodies.

Suffice it to say that Kramer has owned us for some 10 years as of this month. The pertinent point about Kramer's history is that she perfectly embodies the characteristics of a dominant feline predator even though she weighs only 11 Lbs.   She has no fear of dogs, she has four of them, and it is amusing to walk out the door and see her perched on the most desirable dog pillow while two Labs, a Chow and a Flat Coat Retriever try to make do with three cushions.

She has bonded with me to the extent it is possible for a her.  Since I took her to the hospital after her near fatal run-in with the coyote, when she clearly expended several lives, she even looks at me as something other than a meal in the event of famine.  I think this is as close to affection as she gets.

She allows me to sleep with her in my bed although if I get too unsettled trying to get comfortable around her she will sink her claws into my leg just to let me know where she is. Sometimes when I am carrying her, and she objects to being carried, she gets “the look” and I know she is about to attack my face. Her "tell" is easy to discern, however, and in the few cases when she has successfully attacked my face she has just dragged her claws across my cheek to let me know the damage she could wreak if she chose.  Just a hint you understand.

Sometimes, just to break the boredom, she will decide I am prey, and as I am in mid-composition on the computer she will attack my leg as if it is a young piglet, sinking her teeth and claws into my leg.  Then, having counted coup, she beats a triumphant retreat when I defend myself.

Whenever I read about Siegfried or Roy or one of their imitators being mauled by a lion or tiger or other clawed beast, after they incomprehensibly stuck their head, or arm, or other member into its mouth, or idiotically exposed themselves to the claws, I just shake my head. Haven't they ever owned a cat?

So what, you ask, is your point and how does this relate to philosophy?

Humans have a characteristic nature as well. The most aggressive of them are very similar to Kramer, in a human kind of behavioral variation. You can fill in the behavioral blanks as well as I.  Profession have sprung up which characterize these violent and domineering actions as “aberrant” and “anti-social”.

They are definitely “anti-social” but they are not aberrant. They represent normal predatory behavior.

The Founders, the people who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were well aware of the aggressive nature of Man and that if the People were not protected from the government, eventually an aggressive human predator would occupy the office, and abuse its powers and the people.  The abuse could be out of boredom or perhaps in pursuit of abstract power, perhaps for the “greater good”.  Probably, as with Kramer expressing her feline predation, simply because it is human nature.

The result of this Founder's knowledge is the difficult structure of the Constitution with its frustrating separation of powers and its competing branches and duties. The bonds which restrict the aggressive and/or ideological nature of the Executive, the Senate, the House and the Judiciary, protect us all.

When President Obama, or any President, complains that Congress blocks his programs, progress, or agendas, be aware that it is the originally designed system that is forcing the President's aggressive nature to moderate, work with others, take it slow, obey the Constitution and in so doing, protects us all from the teeth and claws of the predator that is Man.

Kramer is unfailingly what she is, as are Humans.

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