Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

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Do you need a friend?

December 20, 2018

In resent weeks quite a few sad things happened in the animal asylum. We got old cats who’s human friends died or were transferred to a nursing home, we got abandoned cats, and we got severely sick cats, some of them hopeless cases with no chance of recovery.

We got also a young wildcat, for whom the confinement into a room was nothing less than torture. When we realized, that this was indeed a wildcat, it was too late and the animal died despite the efforts of two veterinarians. It apparently died from distress and exhaustion, though it could also be that it was already sick and would have died even if immediately released. We never will know.

All the abandoned or widowed cats are deeply traumatized when they arrive here. Some just hide in a corner and eat nothing for days. One needs to talk with them and pet them, they clearly appreciate it. Unfortunately there are not enough volunteers to spend the time necessary to permanently lift the spirits of these poor creatures.

We thought about inviting children or even whole school classes to the animal asylum, to let them play and get familiar with cats, but todays kids are not interested in animals anymore, they are totally occupied by their smartphones with which they fiddle around all day long.

Some of the sick cats had to be euthanized. This is not one of the shelters, where pets are routinely euthanized if they don’t find a host after three or four month, but if an animal suffers and there is no chance of a cure, it seems ethically justified to relieve it from its misery.

I don’t feel guilt. I did what I could, spent time with many of them, made them purr and relax for a while. I don’t feel guilty but I feel helpless and dispirited.

Is there a heaven for cats? They would deserve to live in eternal bliss, just like humans, who, according to Judeo-Christian mythology, will go to heaven when they die. Of course, humans could also end up in hell, if they didn’t behave, and so would cats. Will there be a Judgement Day for cats or a purgatory?

Could a cat be reincarnated? Maybe reborn as a tiger, a lion, or even a human? Reincarnation is a risky business, especially with the escalating holocene mass extinction. We all, humans and cats alike, could be in deep trouble in our next life if we were reborn as an endangered species.

A skeptical and practically oriented person will set aside any metaphysical speculations about an afterlife and reserve ruminating about such matters for a time when there is really nothing better to do. A skeptical mind will just for good measure and in lack of a better and more convincing hypothesis assume, that before ones procreation one was nothing and after death one equally will be nothing. To be nothing is for sure more comfortable than eternally burning in hell and probably less boring than infinitely floating around in heaven.

Assuming that our life is just this short time between the endless nothingness before and after, assuming that it is just a little bright spark in the darkness of eternity, every moment of it is precious and we should not waste even one minute with idleness or unfocused, irrelevant, and foolish activities.

What one in the end makes with this short and precious life is of course depending on the individual value system, but to enjoy life and to help making life also enjoyable for fellow humans and fellow animals seems to be an attractive and sensible proposition.

Such a strategy would also comply with many religious teachings, though there are certain passages in some of the holy scriptures, which consider humans as the “crown of creation,” entitled to reign the world and treat their fellow living beings as they please.

In addition to this religion based speciesism there are several other value systems which also lead to a code of conduct which is very different from the mentioned proposition, inclining people to be a pain and a horror for their fellow humans or animals and to torture and kill as many of them as possible. Racism, militarism, fascism, capitalist wealth accumulation and exploitation, religious fanaticism, and ultranationalism are prime examples. This way of managing and regulating ones life unfortunately is widespread and therefore deserves attention and scrutiny, but it cannot be discussed here, it will be discussed in another content and another post.

To spend our precious time with the family and close friends is an intrinsic practical application of the mentioned proposition and the Christmas holidays are an opportunity to come together and enjoy each others company. Christmas is a curious mix of pagan rituals (Saturnalia, Yule), the Christian nativity myth, and Western consumerism, yet it brightens the darkest days of the year and if one is able to disconnect from consumer culture it can be nice and cosy. It can also be a time for reflection.

Christmas could be a time of peace and happiness, but it could be a hard time for people who live alone and don’t have close friends. Lonely people cannot celebrate Christmas in the way it is suggested by Christmas carols, Christmas stories, and Christmas advertising. They cannot spend the Christmas Eve joyful and peaceful with family and friends. How should they, when there is no family and when there are no friends?

Lonely people can go to their local pub or some other place where they usually hang out and meet the regulars there. Most of the other visitors will be lonely as well, most of the visitors will also be without a family or close friends.

They will stand or sit together, they will drink and smoke and talk rubbish. It will be kind of a family, though a dysfunctional one. Maybe it should be rather called a brotherhood — the brotherhood of the lonely hearts. These men are an allegorical brotherhood who is converging in an allegorical “Lonely Hearts Club,” sometimes listening to an allegorical “Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

It is a brotherhood, no woman ever shows up.

There are lonely women too, but they stay at home. The lonely woman looks TV, listens to her favorite love songs, reads a book, or writes her most heartfelt and most emotional thoughts into a diary which in all likelihood nobody except her ever will see. If she is computer literate the lonely woman alternatively hangs out on a social media site or publishes her deep and sincere introspections and reflections as a blog post.

Men go out and drink, women stay home, so they never meet each other.

Why should the lonely woman go out to a pub where a few dozen unhappy and to various degrees intoxicated men are standing or sitting around, looking at any females with a strange mixture of craving, anxiousness, insolence, and contempt?

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the “Lonely Hearts Club” crowd includes also nice and decent guys, but a significant number of the club members will be loners, losers, sexists, misogynists, and otherwise troubled persons. The troubled or outright deranged characters will set the tone, and visiting a place where such people convene is useless and risky, is a recipe for disaster.

Suicide rates don’t go up during Christmas, they actually decline, at least according to statistics. Why should suicides increase? Being alone is hard at any time of the year, not only at Christmas. The lonely and terribly sad guys will make it a few more month, as the hopelessness and pointlessness of their existence slowly sinks in. The terribly sad guys will spare their suicide till spring.

The lonely and terribly sad guys would not have to suffer, they would not have to indulge in their melancholy and they would not have to feel unloved, unwanted, and useless. They would not have to let their pain accumulate up to the point where they simply cannot take it any longer.

They would not even need to be alone at Christmas!

Most of the sad and lonely souls have of course not chosen to be alone. They would like to have a family and close friends. They would like to have someone who loves them and cares for them.

They don’t have a mate because they are either not attractive, poor, dumb, or have unrealistic expectations about a prospective partner. Many of the lonely guys or gals don’t see themselves as ugly or dumb, and they reject persons as inadequate who in fact would be a good match and would perfectly fit to them.

The ones who are aware of their unattractiveness and rightfully consider themselves as misfits will rather hide in their caves than look out for equally unattractive misfits.

In any case, we live in a superficial and shallow world and having a good looking partner is a status symbol. Many prefer to have no partner because they don’t want to share their life with an ugly one that would maybe deflate their social status.

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, how true, but in todays society beauty is standardized (and commoditized) like everything else. If your face is not symmetric, if your nose is too big, your eyebrows are too bushy, if you got wrinkles and your skin is not fair and spotless, you are simply out of luck.

If you are born ugly, poor, and daft, you will have a hard time under any circumstances. If you are only ugly and daft, you can try expensive cosmetic surgery. If you are ugly and intelligent, you at least theoretically have the chance to acquire skills that will make you attractive over time. You can research and learn, acquire wisdom, discover the secrets of life, and develop your personality. Over the years you can increase your charisma and your face will more and more reflect your sincere and genuine nature. You will become respected and admired.

But this is a long and winding road to go and there are only a few hours till Christmas Eve! How can the lonely souls make it through the upcoming holidays without being depressed, discouraged, dispirited, saddened, damaged, and totally crushed?

Well, it is very unlikely that you will be able to find the love of your life in the few hours till Christmas. But you can find someone who needs you and depends on you and maybe will even trust you and like you. You can find a kind, sensitive, and generous friend, you can find an unpretentious, honest, and gentle companion.

Most important of all, you can rescue a lonely soul who is desperate like you and who faces an uncertain future or even death. Think about it, this could become one of the most gracious and benevolent deeds you ever will be able to do. This could become a turning point, a pivotal moment, a capstone of your life, and it is not that difficult to achieve.

You just have to go to an animal shelter and adopt a cat!

Adopt a cat, save a cat, marry a cat.

The animal asylums are all overcrowded and in some places cats have to be euthanized because nobody wants them and there is no space and money to keep them indefinitely. You can save the life of an innocent creature who like you is lonely and forsaken and desperately wants to have a home, a warm place, somebody to cuddle with.

Please!

Please, go there and look, you will see old and young and pretty and ugly cats. Don’t take the young and beautiful, take the old or ugly one, this is the cat that will not easily find a host. This is the cat that most likely will adore you and will be grateful and love you with every piece of its little heart. This is the cat who will wait for you when you come home and be joyous and meow as loud as she or he can.

This is the cat who will sit on your lap softly purring and who will put its little head in your hand and who will sigh and stretch and relax and who will be happy just for being able to be near you.

Take your cat mate home and show her or him your place. Maybe you need to buy a litter box and some toys or a scratching post. If you are in a quiet area without much traffic you can let the cat out, but not until she or he got accustomed to the house. If you need to keep your cat indoors (because of heavy traffic, hunters, bait poison, or predators like for instance coyotes and eagles) you have to entertain it, play and talk with it, stroke and caress it. A minimum of one hour a day will be required to keep your feline companion entertained and happy.

Not everything will work out smoothly right away. Don’t be discouraged when the cat pees on your precious Persian carpet or throws down an expensive antique vase, don’t shout angrily, when your friend scratches you unintentionally, and, most important, never punish your cat.

You may be a bit upset, when the cat shreds the curtains as it is trying to catch the big fat fly on the windowpane. You may be even more upset, when your little friend sips from your tee after it just has gorged on the big fat fly that it finally caught. You have to face it, the standards of hygiene, cleanliness, and tidiness in your home from now on are set by the cat. Cat households are not antiseptic, and that could be even a good thing, because minor infections that you may not even realize will help your immune system to develop antibodies and be prepared for more serious infections.

Whatever happens, don’t forget, this cat is a living creature, a sentient being like you. This cat will be your friend and companion, it will advise and correct and teach you, it will soon become more precious and important than any of your material possessions.

This Christmas you will not be alone, you will be petting, caressing, fondling your little friend. You will be feeding your cat and you will be playing with your cat and talking with your cat. You will maybe sit on the computer with the cat beside you, looking up all cat-help sites and gathering infos about how to keep a feline pleased and healthy.

Don’t forget, this is a longtime (and for one of you even lifelong) commitment! You cannot divorce your cat, you simply cannot do that! From now on you have to share your life with your little friend, no matter what happens. Don’t worry, the cat will give you back all the love and it will give it back twice. If you are a caring person and you have love to give, everything will work out.

If you don’t want to commit yourself in a relationship with another lonely soul, if you don’t want to take the responsibility and adopt a cat, you maybe can find solace listening to one of the most sensitive and sincere songs in pop history, Gilbert O’Sullivan’s composition ALONE AGAIN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6pzZy1w3BM

When a little while from now,
If I’m not feeling any less sour,
I promise myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower.

When climbing to the top
Will throw myself off
In an effort to make it clear to who
Ever what it’s like when you’re shattered,
Left standing in the lurch
By a church with people saying
“My God, that’s tough, she’s stood him up.
No point in us remaining,
We may as well go home.”
As I did on my own,
Alone again, naturally.

To think that only yesterday,
I was cheerful, bright and gay,
Looking forward to, well who wouldn’t do
The role I was about to play;

But as if to knock me down,
Reality came around
And without so much, as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces,
Leaving me to doubt,
Talk about God in his mercy,
Who, if He really does exist
Why did he desert me?
In my hour of need
I truly am indeed
Alone again, naturally.

It seems to me that there are more hearts
Broken in the world that can’t be mended,
Left unattended;
What do we do?
What do we do?

{instrumental break}

Now looking back over the years,
And whatever else that appears;
I remember I cried, when my father died,
Never wishing to hide the tears;

At sixty-five years old,
My mother, God rest her soul,
Couldn’t understand why the only man
She had ever loved had been taken;
Leaving her to start
With a heart so badly broken,
Despite encouragement from me
No words were ever spoken.
And when she passed away
I cried and cried all day;
Alone again, naturally

Alone again, naturally

Related:

https://mato48.com/2017/01/25/the-social-revolution-of-loneliness/