Lizzie and the Philosopher: musings of the day

“Stop! I have to take a closer look at this one.” It is beyond me what might be so incredibly interesting about this specific grass-pole, but hey, I am not a dog. Sometimes it even involves digging with a front leg. At other occasions my canine companion pushes out a few extra drops of pee – for the umpteenth time, that is – in response to the registered message. In my vain innocence, I once thought that all those stops were of some sanitary nature…

My walking pace has already been adjusted to this ‘ground-scrolling’ a long time ago. Striking how ‘likes’ and other reactions to outpourings on social media – mostly communicated through emoticons – may well be forms of human marking behaviour. Also notice that of the four primary feelings – Glad, Mad, Sad, Afraid – three are represented in the list of Facebook emoji’s, but one is missing…

What inspires our dear four-legged friends to approve or reject remains a guess, but it is beyond dispute that blunt emotions are the stimulus for their reactions. Meet a K9 colleague ‘live’, and all emotions pass by. “Over there! Wacko! Let’s play rough! Top!” – “Look! Filou! My hormones are running wild!” – “Hear that Sukie growling and barking viciously! Tit for tat!” – “Jazzy is so huge! I’d rather take a big bend around this one, thank you!”

Who invents all these dog names, I have no clue, but dog tails are invariably tucked in, when loud fireworks occur, that I do know. ‘Afraid’ belongs definitely in the list of basic emotions. Similarly, noticing an animal clearly of a different species – let’s say a cat, for example, or a rabbit – makes the impulse to go after it and catch it, uncontrollable. What? Uncontrollable, you say? Come on! Not us! We, humans, have Culture and Civilization, haven’t we!

Staring intently into the distance, I suddenly notice that one of the Antwerp highlights of Human Civilization – namely the cathedral, on the other bank of the river – is hidden from my view! Slowly the unstable tubs of a Ferris wheel creep up – or they glide down, if you like – as if it were a sentimental metaphor for life itself. (Must be a coincidence during Christmas time…) Up there one must have a tremendous look-out.

A surprising calm falls over me. Such a breath-taking panorama must inevitably contribute to a broader perspective, redeemed from the hectic, reactive emo-delusions of the day. But then again, it strikes me that, turning around in such a gondola, even a critical mind is doomed to abide to the world’s ups and downs. Such as when one towering cruise ship after another obstructs the view of the magisterial cathedral tower. Winter fair is in town! Do I hear the familiar ring of a cash register? (jhv)



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