Awhile ago, my feline friend, Bella, wasn’t feeling well, so I took her to see the veterinarian. The Vet did a full exam – blood tests, x-rays – even kept her overnight to work on her symptoms. In the end, the Vet didn’t know what was wrong with her, how she got sick or how to treat her – and could not explain how Bella got better all on her own.
I recently read about a tomb uncovered on the island of Cyprus – my ancestral home. The tomb was 9,500 years old and contained a human and a cat laid out side by side surrounded by decorative jewels and artifacts. The cat died of natural causes and was clearly a beloved member of the family. Cats are not native to Cyprus so someone deliberately brought her to the island with them. This is the oldest evidence of cat / human fellowship ever found – far older than even Egyptian sources where cats were deified. Since it is unlikely that this is the actual first human / cat pairing, our relationship with domesticated cats must go back several hundred years before the internment. I think it is safe to say that humans and cats have closely interacted for more than 10,000 years.
10,000 years of cats living with us in society, in our homes, even sleeping in our beds – and yet, what do we know about them? Not very much. We can make guesses about their behavior but, who knows what’s really going on in the mind of a cat?
For that matter, what’s going on in the mind of a human? After a million years or more of history, what do we know about ourselves? Not very much.
There are dozens of competing scientific theories of personality and human psychology as well as many more theories in the realms of philosophy, religion and spirituality – but, nothing really definitive. Why do people do the things they do? It’s all just guesswork and speculation. After a million years of being human we still can’t say for sure what it means to be human. Why do people seek power over others? Why do people kill? Why do people adhere to fanatical belief system? Why do people fall in love? The are no clear answers.
Yet, there are many people who will tell you that they know the exact reasons why spirits, angels, demons, deities and extraterrestrials do the things they do: what their motives are, why they are on Earth, what they want for and from humanity. How could anyone know such things when they can’t tell you why one human prefers strawberry to pistachio ice cream? THEY CAN’T. It’s at best well thought out speculation and at worst self-delusion or deliberate attempts to deceive.
In reality, we don’t know much about cats and dogs; we don’t know much about humans; and we, certainly, don’t know much about other worldly beings. We just don’t know much about anything at all.