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Think about the strangeness of today’s situation. Thirty, forty years ago, we were still debating about what the future will be: communist, fascist, capitalist, whatever. Today, nobody even debates these issues. We all silently accept global capitalism is here to stay. On the other hand, we are obsessed with cosmic catastrophes: the whole life on earth disintegrating, because of some virus, because of an asteroid hitting the earth, and so on. So the paradox is, that it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.
What interests me is the following paradox: of how, precisely in our liberal societies, where no one can even imagine a transcendental cause for which to die, we are allowed to adopt a hedonistic, utilitarian, or even more spiritually egotistical stance – like, the goal of my life is the realization of all my potential, fulfillment of my innermost desires, whatever you want.
A cat is a purring parcel of paradox, a cunning collection of contradictions. A cat is lazy and busy, dainty and savage, affectionate and aloof, greedy and finicky, sound asleep in one instant, and awake and stalking in the next. A cat is a limp puddle of softness, surrounding a steel-hard and ever-alert set of muscles. … A cat has the face of a pansy flower, and is just as velvety. A cat holds infinity in her eyes, and your heart in her front paws.
And there is also the paradox that the dominating culture imbues the Indian past with great meaning and significance; it is valued more because it is seen as part of the past. And it is the romantic past, not the present, that holds meaning and spiritual significance for so many members of the dominating culture. It has seemed so strange to me that the larger culture, with its own absence of spirit and lack of attachment for the land, respects these very things about Indian traditions, without adopting those respected ways themselves.