Photo of the Week presents      

Photo of the Week 340
"Feline theory of compassion"


foto desta semana
Photo: Maarten Zeehandelaar

Ever noticed how cats jump onto the laps of people who least desire it? It’s obnoxiously confrontational: it forces them to decide what to do and face their usual rejection. But, whatever they decide to do, it most likely won’t be a violent act, even though they might feel a tad violent inside. Acceptance, disapproval, a caress, a nudge, nothing more. Something similar happened just now, as I tried to figure out what to write about this cat.

I noticed that none of the associations coming up have anything to do with this cat. All that comes up (and it is a lot, I can tell you that) is stuff about cats in general or cats I know. As it turns out, I have nothing but preconceptions for this cat. A preconception overload so to speak, it blocks my ability to approach this cat with an open mind. Also, I realise I know that feeling.

I feel it when I see Donald Trump, or politicians like him. In fact, by now there is so much information in my head about Trump that I would like to smack him in the face, should I meet him. Trump, cat, cat, Trump. Suddenly I see how this might also be why a Midwesterner who has never met a Mexican, can vehemently support Trumps wall and why a jihadi will drive his knife into someone he “knows” to be an infidel. I want to think I am different, but this cat, this preconception overload I feel right now, plainly shows I am not. And it is a strong force.

For I know that I would be able to write about this cat, if it were on my lap right now. But in real life that means this: should I meet Trump, I should take him home, share a meal and talk, thus experiencing what he is like and base my opinion on that. Trump?! Really?! The force of this particular preconception overload is so strong, that even typing those words makes me itch. And that happens while knowing full well that I will never ever actually meet this man!

So there it is. Such is the nature of intolerance, towards whomever. Thanks cat, for revealing that.
Funny thing really, while I have nothing to say about this cat, it apparently has a lot to say to me. Perhaps I should jump on someone’s lap next week.

Text by: Peter-Jan Vermeij

Until the next Photo of the Week!

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