Tuesday, March 3, 2009

cat and string


The term UFO implies a lot, and by definition, it’s unknown. How can I wrap my head around something so utterly strange, something that, no matter how you look at it, remains unknowable.

Here’s something that helps me. I use a piece of string when I play with my cat, I stand in the kitchen and wiggle it around, and my cat just goes nuts. I never really let her “catch” the string, I try and keep it just an inch in front of her. Sometimes she’ll manage to get it in her claws, but I’ll snap it away and out of reach.

Does she think the string is alive?

I can’t help but think this is exactly what’s happening to us. To me, this phenomenon is similar to that piece of string. It wiggles out in front of us, but it’s simply impossible to catch. Does my cat have a way to perceive the string as a string? Maybe, but she doesn’t seem to be that insightful, her reality is that it’s a wonderful and special living thing that magically amplifies her very being. The string-game can get so overwhelming that she gets positively unhinged with excitement.

And the experiences described by the abductees may be impossible to accurately perceive. This bizarre experience is, like the string, capable of overwhelming and unhinging.

Do we say that the UFO occupants are visiting us in the same way my cat would say the string is alive?

One thing that draws me to this subject is that, at it’s core, it’s just such a intensely wonderful and scary story. I used to love spooky campfire stories as a child. Now as an adult, I still crave that mysterious thrill, and the UFO phenomenon fulfills that need. Is there something universal about our need for a scary story? Do “they” know about that need, and frame the experience in a way that will satisfy us on some deep level.

These stories are so elusive. We want to be able to “kick the tires” of this experience. But it just doesn’t happen. As soon as we get close to a clue or answer, it has a way of skittering away, just out of our reach, like the string on my kitchen floor.

My cat needs to play the string game to truly fulfill her cat-ness. Do we need the experience of trying to confront an elusive mystery, to truly fulfill our human-ness? A pragmatic scientist would say no, but what would a primitive shaman say?

My cat and I are connected to each other when we play the string game. So then, what are we connected to?
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This essay (above) was my VERY first posting on this blog. Look below, you'll see that Mac Tonnies left the VERY first comment. We have both written essays about cats as a metaphor for humanities interaction with UFOs.

These essays were the genesis for two more postings, HERE and HERE.
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AUDIO essay with Mac and me reading similar essays:
Posted Feb 11th 2010
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4 comments:

Mac said...

Have you read my essay about cats and laser pointers? We're on the same page!

hunter said...

mike!
i think we probably need many strings, or at least we think we do. at any one time i am 'chasing' any number of things, or strings, many of them as elusive as the one you dangle for your kitty. i wonder what it would feel like, and what lessons we might learn if we let the strings dance and conciously decide to not be attracted, or distracted by them?

Anonymous said...

Totally strange and synchronous!
Trish

Jonathan said...

The person who opened my mind to UFOs was an English literature professor. Being a 22-year-old undergraduate the knew everything I threw disdainful questions about him. Amongst my incredulity I remember asking him questions about why would they do this or that. His answer is always stuck with me. You said when we look at alien activity and try to discern their agenda or purpose, we're in the exact same position as a cat, watching a man reading the newspaper, wondering why he's doing what he is doing.