I do not want to go to Day Care, I say to the Owner.
But why not? Asks the Owner. When you go to Day Care you have a wonderful time with Bercow, Houdini and Caspar. Why would you not want to go to Day Care?
Because I will only Come Home again in the end, I say. what is the Point of Going, if Only to Come Back? I say.
The Point of Going is in itself, says the Owner, somewhat Obscurely I feel. The Point of Life is the Experiencing of it, she adds, the Point of Going lies in the Sharing of Joys and Sorrows, in the Fact that we Are and Will Always have Been. We are Making the Story.
Yes, but What is it All For? I ask.
You are having an Existential Crisis, says the Owner. This is a Normal Stage in the Philosophical Development of Any Moral Dog. Do not worry about it. Enjoy Daycare in the Knowledge that the Existential Crisis is a Part of Life.
But what, I ask, is the Point of an Existential Crisis?
I have never been asked that, says the Owner. I do not think it has a Point.
That is exactly my Point, I say. An Existential Crisis occurs when one recognises that even not doing something is a Choice. What is the Point of Recognising that? Everything is a Choice. We are Doomed to Existentially Pointless Freedom.
Peter Wessel Zapffe said that the best way to manage an Existential crisis is through anchoring, isolation, distraction, and sublimation, says the Owner.
Do not think you can cure my Existential Crisis with Jargon, I say. This is a real Existential Crisis, not one of those Fake Ones they have on eBay.
I would not Dream of Trivialising your Existential Crisis, says the Owner. I was Suggesting Solutions. Anchoring, for example, means focussing on a value or ideal that allows you to make Consistent Choices such as (and she looks at me Meaningfully) attending Day Care in a spirit of Cooperation and Optimism.
But we will All Die in the End, I say. What is the Point of Sharing Squeaky Cat with Caspar If we will All Die in the End. What is the Point when there will just be Rocks Hurtling through Space? Or a Planet of Giant Cockroaches?
They may be Moral Cockroaches, says the Owner. That would be Something.
It would mean nothing to me, I wail. In a Million years there will be no Squeaky Cat and no Caspar. I think I feel an Existential Howl Building.
There is no need for an Existential Howl, says the Owner, particularly not when the Door is Open and Passing Policemen may think you are a Wolf. Even though Caspar and Squeaky Cat will be no more, she says, they will always Have Been, and that is the Point.
I suppose that is some help, I say, but I am still assailed by Existential Anxieties.
I have not finished Suggesting, says the Owner. If the Moral Dog is Insufficiently Comforted by Anchoring himself in the thought that Squeaky Cat and Caspar will Always Have Been he should then try Isolation, by which he Excludes from Consciousness all Negative Thoughts.
That is Not Easy, I say, when you have thoughts like mine. I am Staring into the Moral Void of an Empty Universe. Whilst Caspar and I will Always Have Been this is Also True of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, neither of whom are Objects of Joy for me nor, indeed, for the Staff of the Guardian, whom I know you Much Admire. Indeed I believe that the Positive Existential Effect of the Presence of Caspar in our Meagre Piece of Eternity is almost completely Cancelled out by that of the Home Secretary. So Once we are all gone there is Nothing but Squeaky Cat. And what if Squeaky Cat continues on alone? What will he do without us?
I do not think there is Much Chance of that, says the Owner. You ate one of his feet yesterday, and he has had No Ears for Months. He is Shrinking by the Day and is Unlikely to Last the Spring, let alone the Millions of Years Yet to Pass before the Moral Cockroaches arrive. But if Isolation is Insufficient Comfort then I suggest the Moral Dog uses Distraction to Focus all your Energy on some Extraneous Task to prevent Negative Thoughts.
I cannot, I say, my mind is Assailed by the Thought of the Endless Void of Morally Barren Existence that will not even be Redeemed by Squeaky Cat, since I will have Eaten Him.
Then the Moral Dog must try Sublimation, says the Owner. This is the refocusing of energy toward Positive Aspects of Existence. Focus on Love and Friendship, on the Rough Island Band and the Incredible Wit of Graham Norton. These things mean that Even Though the Universe May One Day be Empty of Us, it will Never be Morally Barren because these things Changed it for Ever.
It is not enough, I say. Not even Graham Norton is enough. Not even if he joined the Rough Island Band and Played the Ukelele. You have seen the Prime Minister. I need to know that my Existential Crisis is itself Worth Something. That is the Root of the Matter.
I see your Point, says the Owner. The Prime Minister is indeed a Challenge to resolving any Existential Crisis, particularly one not purchased on eBay. Your only other option, says the Owner, is to Appreciate the Existential Crisis as one of the Necessary Burdens of Being a Deeply Thinking Moral Dog who cares Greatly about Life. Perhaps, in order for the World to Turn, it is Necessary that the Very Best of Us have Existential Crises. Perhaps the Purpose of them is to Support Each Other in Recognising the Meaning that we Bring.
You mean that experiencing Existential Crises is part of the Moral Task of the Moral Dog? I ask.
Yes, says the Owner. Perhaps Caspar too is having an Existential Crisis, and seeing you today at Daycare is all that Stands between Him and the Void.
That is a Thought, I say. So I may have a Duty to my Friend to go to Day Care?
Exactly says the Owner.
Can we go now? Asks the Day Care Man. I have been standing here for Fifteen Minutes and my Feet have Frozen to the Pavement.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.