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Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life Spiral-Bound | October 26, 2021

John Gray

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The author of Straw Dogs turns his attention to cats—and what they reveal about humans' torturous relationship to the world and to themselves

Cats do not need to be instructed in the good life. Obeying their nature, they are content with the life that it gives them. In humans, on the other hand, discontent with our nature seems only natural. The human animal never ceases striving for higher meaning. Cats, however, make no such effort. They are just happy to be themselves. That is why cats have no need for philosophy. They already know how to live.

So writes John Gray in this incisive new book about the follies of human exceptionalism and what we can learn from the animals that have long captured our imaginations.

The history of philosophy has been a "predictably tragic" succession of palliatives for human disquiet. Thinkers from Spinoza to Berdyaev have pursued the perennial questions of how to be happy, how to be good, and how to be loved—all of which held no relevance to their feline companions. In Feline Philosophy, Gray introduces us to some of these unburdened counterparts, showing how they approached issues of love and attachment, mortality, morality, and the Self: Montaigne's house cat, whose unexamined life may have been the one worth living; Meo, the Vietnam War survivor with an unshakable capacity for "fearless joy"; and Colette's Saha, the feline heroine of her subversive short story "The Cat", a parable about the pitfalls of human jealousy. The nature of cats, and what we can learn from it, is the subject of this book—and through it, Gray delivers a profound, thought-provoking meditation on just how vulnerable it is to be human.

Publisher: Macmillan
Original Binding: Trade Paperback
Pages: 128 pages
ISBN-10: 1250800250
Item Weight: 0.2 lbs
Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
Customer Reviews: 3 out of 5 stars 1,001 to 10,000 ratings