Tesla, Pippin, things, and the ethereal

by Andrea Elizabeth

Thoughts after watching a 2 year old PBS documentary on electric cars: Though I believe in the naturalist, stoneage American Indian way of life, there’s something compelling about Nicolai Tesla. Maybe dirty fossil fuels are the evil middle level that needed to be either bypassed or transcended to come to legitimate progress. But even if it is cleaner, fluorescence and alternating current is cold. Electricity always seems gnostic, ethereal, elusive and ungraspable to me. I like the mechanical age better for it’s blatant honesty, but it’s so dirty. If only pendulums were perpetual and the detriments of being late to wind or letting your fire go out weren’t so costly.

When does resistance to change cross over from a correct commitment to nature to sentimental nostalgia?

Along with this, how much of our feeling about nature’s flora and fauna is anthropomorphic transference? As if a mountain or a river or a dog will feel the same trauma when violently assaulted as people do? The other extreme is that devastating them doesn’t matter.

And is a person’s priorities messed up if they’ll spend thousands of dollars on home improvement or car maintenance or improvement, and not on medical intervention for their dog? People who will spend the money on their pets usually say it’s because they consider them part of their family. I think that is unbalanced anthropomorphism. Dogs have short lives that are meant to serve man. The balance is tipped when resources that should be directed towards one’s children or the Church are diverted to treatment that is excessive. I did spend $150 twice on Pippin’s pain medicine, which I hope he could digest at the end. Looking back, I do wish I had his lump of 5 years initially removed and saved money by not biopsying it, because I don’t believe in chemo for dogs. My reasons for not were that it wasn’t bothering him, it was well hidden by his fur, and I was told it was benign. I don’t know if it became malignant and eventually spread to his digestive system, which bled out in the end. I also wish my Vet had recommended just removing it without biopsy.

As far as spending a lot of money on material possessions or experiences, the purist will say that even laughter is excessive. That pretty much categorizes even putting salt on your food as self-indulgence. Part of me wants to forsake all of that, but it seems like a death wish. Maybe it is in that such a one thinks the only experiences worth having are heavenly ones, a foretaste of which is found in pure prayer. These are the Saints who live only on the Eucharist or nothing at all, like St. Mary of Egypt did, whose grave was dug by a lion. The rest of us are unrepentant, self-indulgent gluttons. But God and the Saints are merciful to us. They recognize the difficulty of giving things up, and that attachment to things also contains an element of love that can be transferred to God, others, and even unselfishly towards the things themselves, hopefully before one dies. This is the purification or purgatory of natural dying. Pippin never hung out with us unless he was leashed or confined until that last day. He came up to us on the porch instead of his habit of running away. Good dog.

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