Are cats better endowed for happiness than humans?

Yes, cats have a natural inclination to be happy and peaceful. Humans are based on anxiety, because of the fear of death and because their project is happiness.

This altered pursuit of happiness is doomed to failure. The present escapes and the fear that events will hinder this future happiness fills the psychologists’ offices.


How do cats deal with it?

Cats don’t need to examine their lives because they don’t doubt that life is worth living.

Cats live by following their nature; humans, by repressing it without understanding themselves or their place in the world, so they often err in how to live their lives.


Is the search for meaning our undoing or our salvation?

When we realize that we are not immortal, we start inventing religions and philosophies to give some meaning to our lives. Then, these narratives take over and we spend our lives trying to be the character we have invented.

Cats, on the other hand, don’t, because life is not a story. Better to get rid of that script. The unscripted life is more worth living than any story you can make up.


We tend to think of life as a tragedy.

Tragedy is real, but the problem is that in seeking some meaning in tragedy we tie ourselves to it as narrative. Cats, despite having difficult lives, do not obsess, they turn the page.

They don’t long for the life they haven’t lived. There is no such thing as a perfect life, that is a burden we should abandon. In reality, our lives, such as they are, are richer than any concept of perfection.

The good life is not the one you could have lived or can still live, but the one you are already living, accepting it as it is, with its difficulties, instead of dreaming of lives that are not real and that prevent us from enjoying the one that does exist.


Do cats do better?

Cats want nothing more than to live the life they are living. We have to forget about chasing happiness and maybe we will find it.


Don’t cats ever get bored?

Boredom is the individual’s fear of being alone with himself. Cats are content with themselves and when they do nothing they find ataraxia, that condition of stillness that philosophy seeks.


Another chimera?

If you crave calm and peace, you will be agitated.


What else do cats know that we don’t?

Cat ethics is like selfishness without ego. The cat lives for her young, but not to satisfy a self-image. Ethics is living according to our own nature.


Without conscience?

Living well does not mean being more and more conscious. The best life for any living entity means to be itself.

The inner life of humans is frayed. There is hardly a self-conscious self, just a hodgepodge of experiences.


Doesn’t living well mean becoming more and more conscious?

I think Socrates was wrong in believing that the good life is the examined life, I believe that living well is living in accordance with one’s nature, even if that is difficult. I advocate, despite suffering, to live with fearless joy, like cats.


Cats do not wonder about the meaning of life.

The meaning of life is a smell that arrives by chance or a tactile sensation that before you know it is gone, but others wait. For humans contemplation is a break with their daily living, for cats it is the sensation of life itself.


What is your conclusion?

There is more wisdom in cats, and in living with them, than in philosophy itself. Montaigne, a skeptic who lived surrounded by cats, said that we should rely on our nature, accept it and enjoy it, and not on philosophy. The problem is that our nature is divided, unlike that of cats. That is, we cannot solve the deep spiritual questions, we can only solve the practical matters of life.


We think we are superior to other animals. Is there a scale of value?

There is not this cosmic hierarchy, there are no animals superior to others, this kind of universal scheme; each species and each person must live according to his nature.



Interview with John Gray, philosopher and author of the book ‘Feline Philosophy’.

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