This morning the Owner does not purchase a cheese scone from the cafe. Instead, bizarrely, she appears to be eating mango from a pot. There seems to be a scone-shaped hole in this cafe where the scone ought to be. It is gnawing at me.
The Owner says she fancied a change and I can have a piece of mango if I like.
I say this does not make up for the fact that I am living with a scone-shaped hole in the cafe.
She says there is no scone-shaped hole in the cafe. Yesterday a scone, today mango. You cannot experience a scone that is not there.
I say I know this is incorrect because Sartre says nothingness is really experienced. I know this because I am experiencing it. If a scone-shaped solution is not found I may fall into the scone-shaped hole.
The Owner says the trouble with Sartre is that he was all negative, and if there really was a scone-shaped hole in the cafe then surely there is also a rhinoceros-shaped hole in the cafe where a rhinoceros ought to be. Indeed there is no limit to the number of things which are not in the cafe. Why have I not fallen down those holes?
I point out that this is different. Sartre would say that the conscious knowledge that there is no scone in the cafe is not the same as the conscious knowledge that there is no rhinoceros in the café. The first is the consequence of a world in which it is a truth that scones and cafes have an expectation of paired existence, the second is nothing other than the random attempt of the Owner to silence the Moral Dog. The scone, I add, combining philosophy and science with a speed which astonishes even me, is like Schrodinger’s cat. Even before I entered the cafe my belief in the possibility of the scone created Schrodinger’s Scone. It’s not-hereness is therefore a nothingness. I did not, on the other hand, believe in the possibility of a rhinoceros, since up until now the cafe has been sadly empty of rhinoceros clientele.
The Owner says just because there was was never a rhinoceros in the cafe does not mean there could never be a rhinoceros in the cafe. If there had been a rhinoceros in the cafe, she adds thoughtfully, there perhaps would not have been a cafe.
I suggest she is not getting Sartre. The scone-shaped hole is a consequence of the freedom of the Moral Dog to constructively imagine.
In that case, says the Owner, finishing her mango and preparing to leave, sconeless, why has the Free Moral Dog not constructively imagined a rhinoceros? It seems, she says, somewhat rhinocerosist.
I tell the Owner that I am not rhinocerosist. If, for instance, I had ordered a rhinoceros from Amazon, or liberated one from the zoo which is, after all, only a mile away, then in addition to Schrodinger’s scone we would also have experienced Schrodinger’s Rhinoceros.
If Schrodinger’s Rhinoceros had been here, the Owner says helpfully, it would probably have eaten Schrodinger’s Scone.
I say rhinoceroses do not eat scones.
She says its rhinoceri.
I say there was never a suggestion of more than one rhinoceros. One rhinoceros might possibly get here, if the Amazon lorry could get it up Highgate Hill. Several would be silly.
She says that’s a good one coming from a Dog who is quoting Sartre and Schrodinger because he wants a cheese scone.
The Proprietor of the cafe appears with a cheese scone. Here, she says to the Owner, please give this to your Dog and take him away to the Park.
That’s very kind of you, says the Owner, but he really has to learn that he cannot conjure up a scone by quoting Sartre.
That’s all very well, says the Proprietor, but the other customers are more worried about him conjuring up a rhinoceros. Please ask him not to order one. This is a decent place. Lots of china.
We head for the park with a delightful absence of scone-shaped holes. I can’t believe what you just did, says the Owner. You manufactured a scone out of Sartre.
And a rhinoceros, I say modestly.
The Moral Dog. Existentialism in action.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.