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Do Cats Go to Hell?

Dec. 25, 2022

by Dr. David Fialk, Editor / Publisher

Do dogs go to heaven? Do cats go to hell? Does your pet have a soul? Do you?

One of the fathers of modern science, Rene Descartes, denied that animals have souls, declaring them mere mechanisms. Modern science takes it one step further, holding that we all, humans included, are only biological robots, meat machines.

Evolutionists maintain that life is motivated only by survival, our own, or, most generously, that of our genes. Whatever good we do for unrelated others is selfish, only because the odds of our personal survival go up when we are part of a band.

It's true that we survived as a species, not because of our strength, speed or claws, but because of our interpersonal cooperation: "You go to sleep, and I'll tend the fire. Then you'll tend the fire while I sleep."

A feel-good hormone, dropping in our brain, rewards us when we bond with others. This is true when we chat with someone, which explains why people prattle on so about silly things.

Along with denying the part of us that transcends the earthly fray, our soul, the geeks, who are in control these days, deny ideals, transcendental social principles. Friendship, we are told, has nothing to do with any noble ideal. It's just another evolutionary survival tool, reducible, along with everything else, to physiological, machine-like mechanisms of hormones and neurons in our brains. Love with a capital L goes the same way as Friendship, just another self-serving reflex of the selfish gene.

The Enlightenment, the first wave of secularization, of which Descartes was part, wasn't so extreme. It didn't take its negation so far. It got rid of religion's idea of a Transcendent Being, but kept religion's transcendental ideals: Beauty, Truth, Goodness, Art, Friendship, Loyalty, Love... The Enlightenment saw a lot of righteous atheists taking control.

But the Enlightenment's faith in ideals (Secular Humanism) evaporated in the first half of the last century. Beauty no longer redeems this troubled world. The commonplace is declared Art. Business is no longer done on a handshake. Goodness is for chumps. There is no Truth, only the propaganda of those in power. Love is not "'til death do us part," but "until further notice."

You can see this loss in modern architecture. The Gothic Revival (think Ivy League campuses), with its harmony and beauty, expressed a faith in ideals. But today's buildings are sterile, ugly, glass monsters. Scarred by unadorned high-rise stubs, the city no longer celebrates culture and civilization. Uninviting, it is just a utilitarian space, a place where we come to work. Similarly, pornography has desecrated the sanctity of the body, turning us into parts and things.

Sir Roger Srutin asserts that the dangerous distress of our society is a result of our loss of ideals. That "Anything goes" / "It's all relative" frame of mind has landed us in this hot water.

While my cat might have a soul, I don't believe that he has ideals. I think that Fellini brushes up against me in the kitchen, not because he understands Friendship, but because I am the source of food. Call me a cynic, but I think, given someone else's warm lap and a better menu, he would leave and never give me another thought.

But Vero's dog, Canela, is a different animal. A social animal, Canela has ideals, Loyalty chief among them. Nor is "man's best friend" without Friendship. And as far as Goodness is concerned, Canela knows when she's been bad, as rare an occurrence as that may be.

The kabbalists insist that we humans can gain and lose soul, that when we become a proper vessel for it, more soul flows into us. Doing Good, making Beauty, exploring Truth, all increase the soulfulness of our life, and our society.

The hyper-reasonable geeks don't have it right.

Reason is not enough, even when it comes to science. Intuition, insight and imagination account for a high percentage of scientific discoveries. Analytic research is often done only after a mysterious flash of understanding, to corroborate the transcendental hunch. The solutions to scientific problems have revealed themselves in dreams. Problems are easier to solve after the process of rational inquiry has been interrupted by a nap.

Existence cannot be described by some geeky rationalist theorem. Life is messy, not linear and square as our brain's left hemisphere would like it to be. Freedom is not nihilistic licentiousness. If we're all going to live together, there are rules that need to be obeyed. Making the world a more soulful, heavenly place is an ideal worth following.

Happy Holidays.

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