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March 2nd. Freedom.

I saw you, says Bercow. You were walking to Heel.

I was not Walking to Heel, I say with Dignity. I am a Free and Moral Dog. I make my Own Decisions regarding Where I walk.

You didn’t look very Free to me, says Bercow, you looked Totally Oppressed. Freedom means being as Loud as you Want to be and as Difficult as you want to be. Kant says the Freedom is the Only Right that Matters. Freedom means not following Morally Irrelevant Rules. Freedom Means Having a Vote.

I am both Loud and Difficult when I want to be, I say. Today I do not Want to Be. That is my Vote.

You cannot deny it, Pavlov has got you, says Bercow. Pavlov gets to All Dogs in the End. You have been Behaviourally Constrained by Pavlov via the medium of Good Boy Venison Bites. You no longer even Remember the Venison Bites, only the Warm Pleasant Feeling you got when you received one, and which you have now Associated with Walking to Heel. Thanks to Pavlov You are a now Robot Dog Towing the Party Line. What you should be Towing, in Fact, is your Owner. Pavlov was an Evil Genius.

Later, as the Owner and I walk Home I attempt to Tow Her.

Hergest, she says. Heel.

I Blink. Unaccountably I seem to be Walking in a Heelish kind of Manner next to her Leg.

I attempt to Tow her again, the Words of Bercow lingering uncomfortably in my Ear.

Heel, says the Owner.

I do not know how it happened. Once again I appear to be Walking where the Owner has Asked me to Walk.

I do not think Pavlov was very Ethical, I say to the Owner, à propos of Nothing. I think he was an Evil Genius.

What is this about? Asks the Owner.

It is about the Unaccountable Fact that whatever I try to do, I find myself Walking next to your leg, I say.

Pavlov was Extremely Ethical, says the Owner. Pavlov demonstrated that Moral Dogs could be persuaded to Do Things for their Own Good without even Thinking About It. Walking to Heel is a Noble Endeavour.

Pavlov appears to me to have Constrained the Freedom of the Moral Dog and made him Horribly Predictable, I say. How is Walking to Heel a Noble Endeavour? I ask.

Because, says the Owner, it allows us to Proceed in a Mutually Agreeable Manner with the Option to Converse whilst Avoiding Falling Over One Another. It allows us to Set out for any Given Destination with a Feeling of Certainty that we will Get There in One Piece and in a Pleasant Mood.

I suppose that is true, I say. But we could have Agreed to do so without the use of Pavlov and the Pavlovian Behavioural Conditioning Properties of Good Boy Venison Bites. Any time you wished to Converse with me and to walk in a Manner that did not involve Tripping up we could have had a Discussion on whether it was Appropriate and Put it to a Vote. That would have Better Respected the Freedom of the Moral Dog.

I suppose you are right, says the Owner, although Pavlov’s way is rather Quicker.

That is No Excuse for Denying me my Suffrage, I say. You have Curtailed my Freedom, I say. Bercow says I am a Robot, I say. He says he has had Experience of Not Having Had a Vote and it is Deeply Frustrating to Freedom of Expression.

That doesn’t seem to have stopped Bercow from Expressing Himself, says the Owner. I have seen him. Holding Forth at you all.

Bercow is his Own Dog, I say. This proves the Moral Dog should never have been Subjected to Pavlov, I say.

You should Count your Blessings, says the Owner. Better Pavlov’s Dog than Schrodinger’s Cat. At least Nobody has Shut you in a Box.

Or not, I say, since we all know what happened to Schrodinger’s Cat. Some of the time, at least.

Exactly, says the Owner. If the Moral Dog had not been, by then, Predictable, Professor Schrodinger’s Eye might have Alighted Upon Him.

I shudder at the thought of being Schrodinger’s Dog, forced to Live in a Box. Or not. I suppose there are worse things than Pavlov, I say. Although you could ask a little more Nicely.

I will do my best, says the Owner. Heel, Hergest, she says. If you Wouldn’t Mind, she says.

And there I am, Doing it again.

Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy Pavlov Schrodinger

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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