John Gray – Why cats don’t need philosophy
Tue 1 November, 2022 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm GMT
Philosophy since the ancient Greeks, and before them in India and China, has been about how we humans should live. The three schools of classical western philosophy–the Sceptics, Stoics and Epicureans – all identified its goal as ataraxia, a condition of unshakable tranquillity. But what is it about the human situation that gives rise to anxiety? More than anything else, it seems to be mortality – not simply the awareness that we are going to die, but the knowledge that our lives are unalterably finite. Philosophy has been a therapy for dealing with this fact.
Cats don’t need philosophy because they already know how to live and they aren’t troubled by any thought of death. Humans look for meaning by telling their lives as stories, but stories can always be disrupted or ended by chance and death. Cats find meaning in the sensation of life itself.
Can we learn to live like cats and do without philosophy? Or are we destined to be always looking for a way to live?
Professor John Nicholas Gray, Political Philosopher & Author
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