January 1st Paper Journal

January 1st, 2003
Allan Brothers Coffee House

There have passed by me four beautiful women, all with long, thick, wavy to curly brown hair, and deep dark eyes. One, I believe of Italian heritage sits in a corner in conversation. I must admit that after my drunken stupor last night (and the odd dream-like imagery of such a woman) I half-hoped to see the face I had imagined walk in the door.

Painting Cats

I am reading of cognitive studies done on animals. At the point of the book I am at, page 91, I am reading of a cat’s ability to discriminate between biological and non-biological motion shown via a display of lights. The interesting thing here is that when shown this display upside down the cats could no longer discern between the two categories. Why is this so interesting to me? Recall my English professor at UAM She incorporated environmental literature into our studies and I loved her classes as an outpost of progressiveness in rural Arkansas. One day while in her office we were onto a topic of consciousness, for I was ever the psychologist, and she threw out the notion of cats and elephants painting as evidence of creativity. I was only enterying my travels into psychology and philosophy, and I am still woefully aware of my complete lack of knowledge even today, and so I had no good answers for her. Last year, during my birthday, Christtine bought for me three books, the Story of B, a book on cat poetry, and a book on the phenomena of painting cats. I flipped through them, appreaciative of the gifts. I haven’t given a very good study into the painting cats phenomenon, yet if memory serves me at all, the paintings of the cats were characteristically painted upside down. The crossing of the brain’s left side to the right side eyes and muscles and vice versus was wonderfully illustrated in last night’s reading and its ties to light sensitivity and anamats by a current researcher in the field. I must add that with my reading on this, I would have to re-build from the ground up a psychology for cyclops were I to write a fiction on them. But back to the rail and my train of thought. Left/right neural crossing is accounted for, yet upside down pattern recognition isn’t as easily done so. I vaguely recall an experiment where a woman , in Scotland I believe, wore a special headset which inverted ALL visual information. That is she saw the world upside down all the time, in the shower, making tea, riding a bike, whatever. At first she was unable to do anything at all. But after a lengthy period of adjustment she was able to pour tea, ride a bike, read a newspaper, completely as normal. When the headset was removed she underwent a period of adjustment, but it was much quicker this time. The point is that I am generalizing that the inverting of visual cues seems to play havoc on recognition. It is a very large ideaolical jump to make (and perhaps careless of me to do so). Do cats have an adapted ability to do this? The bio/non-bio motion detector tests seem to indicate that they do not. I would have to investigate further the phenomenon of cat painting, yet from what I’ve read the notion is severely damaged. It is worth noting that those I’ve met who support the idea of cat painting are hoping for a a proof of animal consciousness. Animals have a series of consciousness and awareness about them, but it is decidely not human in character. We only know a human sort of consciousness and we look for signs of such in animals. This is, I believe, a mistake and we need to first come to grips with what consciousness might actually be before we can effectively look for it in others.

Talking about the environment

I suddenly recall soething from last nght’s drunken session at home. I sat on the couch, the lights off and a candle burning, and a glass of wine in my hand and two glasses in my mind (grin) and I imagined a public input meeting in Eugene concerning forests. I have read in my book Uncommon Ground the exerpts of such a meeting in Eugene to discuss the plans for logging forests and protection of the spotted owl. The comments range from pure utilitarian logic without heart, to the exemplification of ignorance (and in some cases sheer stupidity) and a swelling of passion, and every mixture of them all. I imagined my own testimony at such a gathering (again, I was lying on the couch in a drunken state). I had given one in Texas when Clinton unveiled his roadless protection policy and after my speech I was given a hearty round of applause. Emotion was my driving force on that one. Yet in the imagined one of my drunken dream my speech was of a different flavor all together. I do not now recall my message’s specifics save for small portions.

I remember addressing everyone present and saying that this was not a time to learn how to divide up use for a land. But it was, and should be, a forum for investigation of our true place in the environment around us. I put down the equally flawed ideas of the fluff-bunnies (not the term used in my speech) as every tree is spirit, and the companies that use everything for a buck, mentalities. I argued that a compromise between reverence and spiritual place in nature and the resources notion of the forests was not what was needed. We have that now and it is failing us miserably. We have both, areas where a forest is “off limits” to everything but the most primitive of access, and we have forests slated for clearcutting, to be turned into toilet paper and junk-mail. Both sides threaten the forest. Both sides are flawed because we need both… to be able to lose ourselves in a rich, deep forest, as well as to provide for our material needs. At the root of each side is a very problematic ideaology and should I cut down a tree with an axe while living in a remote wilderness I am still offending the fluff bunnies (again, not the term I used in my speech). Each side attacks the other side as completely wrong, whereas they view their own argument’s truth as a matter of degree, the last defense for a poor philosophy. I argued that when the opinion that the earth was round started out, it was not a compromise between two competing ideas, one of the earth as flat and the other the earth as a cube.

If there be any good in democracy it be not in the freedom of its citizens, nor in the security of its state, but instead of the triumph of ideals. Supposing that such a speech is given and that the counsel agrees to re-think the forestry practice completely (and along with zoning and development laws), the two sides are heavily entrenched and would have great influence on the formation of the new ideaology. In this vein, the banana pellet of profits are hard to give up. The stimulus/response behaviors of clearcutting a forest for a profit is unlikely to go away on its own. The use of any shared “resource” from the environment ought not have any profit-driven motives behind it as far as I’m concerned. In this response perhaps a socialist answer is the best for the timber industry. That the welfare of ecoysystems which directly impact our individual and communal quality of life is dictated by private interest driven by profit motives is a deep threat to the integrity of the ecosystem, the support system, the beauracratic systems, and the welfare of the dependants.

Again, my thoughts turn to the bio-region upland from Nimes, France. In the collection of essays in the book Finding Home published by the Orion Society, it went into a too brief of a detail …

Will have to continue later on entering this portion… must ready myself for work.


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