De Profundis

Letter from G to PA (2013-4-27), page 3

This makes an interesting twist on the age-old idea of witches communicating with their cats as familiars because it is actually the cat that is trying to learn how to communicate. So, the next time you hear a cat meow, consider that it is actually trying to speak human.

This idea that a cat can develop through experiment a mutual language with a human reminds me of how many complex behaviours of learning, grooming, play, hunting and more are innate to the cat species. Having the chance to watch new-born cats develop into kittens, and beyond, has given me an appreciation for just how complex innate behaviours can actually be. Further, I find myself reflecting on how many of, say, my own behaviours, which I find myself doing, and even my personality as it has developed, could be similarly complex but innate to my being, not learned or socially acquired. The question is, I suppose, just how many of the complex behaviours in the human are but coded and determined into the body as it is structured, and are so often thought to be unique and spontaneous products of life as it develops after birth? So much of what cats do seems inherited, even such behaviours of complexity that are surprising; how many such complex behaviours of humans are similarly determined?




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