All-knowing being on four legs
I like to play the game with myself “What is Samwise (my dog) thinking?”
My usual response is that he is thinking something to the extent of “Ugh, these fucking humans. The things they make me do for food.” I sometimes imagine Samwise with the voice of Morgan Freeman and then the thoughts get more profound.
Instead, I imagine when he looks up at me for no reason, i.e. I have no food, he is telling me “Just be in the moment Carly, like me.” Or when I scratch his tummy and he rolls onto his back giving me more access to his underbelly. At this moment he is saying “Don’t be scared to show your softer side, the unguarded side because when you do, that is when you get the best from life.” Or like when he is ripping apart a toy that I bought him just an hour before and he stops to consider his work. Here he is telling me, “Remember to pause and admire your work, whatever that work is, no matter how big or small, stop and see the beauty you bring to the world.” And finally, when we are in a staring contest, holding the silence as he waits for me to give the cheese, he wants to tell me, “I have no concept of time (actually proven by studies) therefore my ability to hold the silence and be at peace with it is unbounded.”
But humans aren’t so easy
But what if Samwise was not his all-knowing and all-loving self, ie. when I encounter my two-legged counterparts, what happens then? What happens with people that are angry with the world or with me or themselves or are contrarian to me and/or my beliefs? As I write this I think of a podcast I listened to yesterday, the podcast is called Inflection Point with the Host Lauren Schiller and it was the most recent episode with Sally Kohn, the author of “The Opposite of Hate”. She talks about our obsession in the US with hate and she spoke about how both sides, of any conflict, meet hate with hate, usually a righteous hatred of the other side. Her argument is that when there is no empathy and when we meet hate with hate then we perpetuate the cycle of hate and we are no better than those we hate.
Her argument, one that resonates deeply with me, is not that we should deplore terrible things, but that no one is the worst thing they have ever done or said and that no one is beyond redemption. Someone is more than the worst thing they have ever said to me or done to me. Just as I am more than the worst thing I have ever done or said to them. This knowledge was freeing. It means I do not have to hold grudges. I do not have to sit painted into a corner about how I feel about someone. I can be Samwise, I can choose to see them the way Samwise would see them, as the best version of themselves. And it is possible that in doing so I can show them how to also see the best version of themselves.