Trelograms #20 — Does My Cat Experience Me as a Person?

Yeva has been my first pet. Every now and then i wonder whether we have a mutual relationship, and what that actually means — am i seeking subjective experiences external to my own, which in turn acknowledge mine as external to their own, and mutually intelligible communication between the two?

Sometimes Yeva will meow from the balcony, looking into my eyes through the glass door, and come back inside as soon as i open the door — other times it feels a bit more like she just experiences me as a much desired radiator whose position in space she seems nevertheless rather bad at predicting.

Do i have a relationship with the ocean?

A few might suggest the ocean is in fact as conscious as we are. I wonder whether it might not be the other way around — as Daniel Dennett remarked in Consciousness Explained, “[perhaps w]e’re all zombies” — quoted here slightly out of context not as much as an “act of desperate intellectual dishonesty” as a sincere expression of confusion — are we as conscious as the ocean?

The only alternatives to that i find plausible are panpsychism or solipsism — has my mathematical training led me to disproportionately converge to either 0, 1 or infinity as the most likely answers to any question i ask?

So, what’s the weather like where you are right now?

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Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates

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