Thursday
May142009

« Further Revelations From Dog »

buber the dog on kelli's chest while laying in bed. undeniably cute, looking at her like his one and only love.Kelli and Buber, lovebugsI was looking into the penetrating eyes of my dog Buber today. Something about that experience draws a bit more consciousness out of me. Today I was marveling at how in the deep, dark recesses of history, in the early days of civilization, dogs were not the companions we think of them as being today (though their usefulness for work was being established), but people were not as alienated as they are today. I heard an NPR Fresh Air show that brought up the matter of how coddled our pets are now, and how pet ownership has grown since the 1960s (suburban expansion and the like) and conventions for pet naming have shifted from "Fido," "Spot," and the like to names that are no different than people's names. (I am guilty as charged with Buber, named after a specific person!)

It would seem that the trend toward leading more "civilized" life drives us further and further from our primary relations among humans while simultaneously trying to reclaim what is lost by letting animals into our lives. That is because animals could never mess things up so royally as humans have with the project of "civilization" itself. Even Jesus was plenty awake to it—he turned to nature and even the animal world to illustrate right relationship. Others of his ancient time, and of equal stature in the world of religious insight often realized that humans got it wrong, but could find the way back to what is good and right. The civilized world, the world of empires, cities, massive systems are out of scale and dehumanizing. Right now, for many of us it takes an animal to reach back into our hearts to the soft, nougaty core. They are the reflection of what we've lost, or at least set aside, while we set our sights on other goals.

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