[thechat] Icons was Mythology was comics

Andrew Forsberg andrew at thepander.co.nz
Thu May 24 15:17:46 CDT 2001

>>I'm not sure what, if any, instruction they receive from these 
>>manifestations ... but they're exceedingly pleased by the whole 
>No, Andrew, your cats are not worshipping an icon when you feed them.

Oh, come on, sure they are.

>An icon (and I even looked it up to make sure) is a representation 
>of something spiritual. While catnip could approach the spiritual 
>for your cats, it's still real, concrete and existent.

For my animals, the daily, and miraculous, appearance of dry food 
falling from a magic bag that comes from on top of the fridge (that 
cold place they don't like -- oh the irony) -- *is* the manifestation 
of one of the two things in their lives that is pure joy. This 
fountain of dried food is very much, for them, like a 'direct 
religious experience' -- although I doubt they'd believe in a 
singular god, it would be more likely they would worship a perfect 
and humungous Hill's Science Diet / Nutros Max Cat ball (or perhaps a 
purina one pellet, they don't like that stuff so much however).

>An icon is not that definitive. I have not seen the face of God, God 
>exists for me, and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel is /supposed/ to 
>represent creation, but it's an interpretation.
>So, if your cats created a representation of their food and they 
>worshipped it, then it could come close to being an icon.

OK, yea, you're right -- but how about direct experience (dried 
food), and icon (heater).

>Which probably sounds a little out there -- an icon represents the 
>spiritual, but not the earthly so if I haven't *seen* it, how can I 
>believe it? Because I do.

I guess that was what I was trying to contextualize for those of us 
who don't really buy any form of Plato's spiritual / earthly binary 
logic. If I think of my cats and how they really have no idea 
whatsoever how the food gets above the fridge (or even if it gets 
there, for all they know that food may have always been and 
neverending); they have a fair idea of how the switch on the side of 
the heater works, but little understanding of the origin of wood, 
firelighters, cigarette lighters, smoke .... the fireplace is a place 
of much worshipping for our cats.

Icons don't have to be spiritual -- think of Dionysian phallus 
worshippers, or the cult that Augustine belonged to before 
'converting' to Christianity. There are plenty of things beside the 
spiritual to get religious about -- if you think of spiritual as 
'other-worldly' and religious as 'faith'.

Andrew Forsberg

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