I have a hard time not noticing that, for most of the day, our cat likes to quietly philosophize. By which I mean - snooze. And our dog follows a similar philosophy. Their lives seem to be summed up by “be fed, run around a bit, snooze”. And in the case of my dog, bark like a lunatic at any and all squirrels and postal workers.
This behavior contrasts markedly with the birds I see in our garden. They’re flitting around, here there and everywhere, looking for something to eat. They don’t sit around a great deal.
Can I conclude that a top priority of life is to find something to eat? Outside, where life is hard, it takes up a good bit of time. And inside, where food is freely offered, it’s a quickly accomplished task. One that, once accomplished, permits us to just lie around and relax. Judging from these examples, I’d be forced to say yes, that would seem to be the life's goal.
And yet … humans. We don’t seem to advocate this approach to our time on this mortal coil. Especially in North America there’s this nagging sense that if we’re not eating (or sleeping or having sex) we should be DOING SOMETHING. Just sitting around is lazy. It’s a waste of time. It’s … non-productive. A sin.
Of course, if we busy ourselves we can perhaps earn more money. Money which lets us buy and eat even more food! But we can’t eat it all, can we? There’s a limit. And we wouldn’t want to try, unless a steadily increasing number on the weight scale is our goal.
Stuff! That’s an answer! With more work and more money we can buy more stuff! In fact, our society has evolved such that the creation and purchase of new stuff is seemingly its core activity set. Civilization would crumble if we didn’t keep working and buying and working and buying. Until we die, of course.
So does this make us happier than my cat or my dog? I can’t be sure, of course. But judging from their expressions I’d tend to think maybe not so much.
This is an important observation, so pardon me while I close my eyes and quietly philosophize about it. Zzzzzz ....