I am bored, I say. Play with me.
No, says the Owner. I am Busy.
I wait an Eternity.
Will you Play with me Now? I ask.
Get Off Me, says the Owner, and No. I have already said so, and this was less than Ten Seconds Ago.
Twelve, I say.
You have hundreds of Toys, says the Owner.
You should not be Busy when I need the Stimulation of Moral Engagement, I say. Socrates said beware the Barrenness of a Busy Life.
Aha, says the Owner. John Stuart Mill said the Liberty of the Individual is thus far limited, he must not make himself a Nuisance to Other People. Sort out your Own Barrenness. Squeaky Cat is Surely Available for Consultations.
He is not, I say, he is Also Bored. Albert Camus says the truth is that Everyone is Bored, I say. He says Any country where I am not bored is a country that teaches me nothing.
You and Squeaky Cat are Wallowing, says the Owner. Camus said when the soul suffers too much it developes a taste for Misfortune.
Yes, well Schopenhauer said Life Swings like a Pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom, I say. You should therefore care that Squeaky Cat and I are either Bored or Suffering.
That may be true, says the Owner, but Schopenhauer also said Happiness belongs to those who are Sufficient unto Themselves, and Nietszche said is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?
You are cheating, I said. You met my Schopenhauer and raised me a Nietszche. This leaves me nowhere to go.
If you have nowhere to go, says the Owner, there is always Bertrand Russell.
Ah, I say, you mean Boredom is a Vital Problem for the Moral Dog, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it?
Quite, says the Owner. But I can match your Bertrand Russell. A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of Little Men. And Dogs. And now I will raise you a Pratchett.
Damn and Blast, I say. You cannot raise me a Pratchett, I say. That is not fair. I had nearly won.
How about this one, says the Owner. Pratchett said you have to hand it to humans. They have one of the strangest powers in the universe. No other species anywhere in the world has invented boredom. Apart, obviously, from the Moral Dog. Perhaps it was boredom, not intelligence, that propelled The two of us up the evolutionary ladder.
I was going to use that one, I say. You lulled me into a Bertrand Russell so that you could Bring In a Pratchett.
You know the Rules, says the Owner. First one to Pratchett is the Winner. Now I really Have to Work.
Now I really Am Bored, I say.
Nice Try, says the Owner.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.