Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Zoögraphy of WDJ

    BENEDICITE, omnes bestiae et pecora

Many of you may have wondered -- What’s with all the animals already ? ! ?  Cantor, topology, passe encore;  but like -- penguins?  freakin’ woodchucks?? -- What’s up with that?

Hey it’s the same at work.  I spend my days at a cluttered desk in a tiny pod, Saving American Lives (yeh okay occasionally Canadian too, to stretch a point), and these scary guys who can kill with a paper-clip (with even conceptualizing a paper-clip) walk by (the spookiest ones  in civvies), and what they see perched on every bookshelf  is a plush menagerie -- mostly penguins, but other friends as well:  an Army hamster who sings “Caissons” when you press his paw, in a hamster voice; Bob the Grunting Hedgehog (squeeze him and see); and various silent animals (they could speak if they so desired, but they have taken Trappist vows) -- microscopic teddy-bears; Miss Mice.   I don’t ask for them, they just materialize.  (You and I were born in this same way.)
But the point I wish to make here, before a worldwide audience of mostly astronauts and research scientists and professor-types, is that this apparent furry confusion is actually intellectually structured -- the zoösphere is a noösphere.  (Say, that’s rather good.  Reckon I’ll copyright that.   ©2011 Dr. J Worldwide Universal Enterprises.)

Now, some of you -- well, you yourselves are too young, the time is not ripe:  but some of your grandchildren may wish to distinguish themselves in the burgeoning field of Justice Studies ®:  and for the sake of such of these, why not offer this handy cheat-sheet, the key to the symbolism of all the animals on this site.  I mean, I could stuff it in a time-capsule  and bury it by the old oak, but this is simpler

And so -- Time for the March of the Animals !

(1)  Ducks

These, as I conceive them -- and as I actually hear them quacking -- are like the choirs of angels, who spend their being in continuous joyous praise of the Lord.  St. Francis drops by to preach to them from time to time;  they are in ecstasy.

Much more complex.  These don’t need to be preached to -- they have already received their Word, though we know not what that Word is.  The situation is precisely comparable to that of the Men and the Jinn -- parallel creations, seldom interacting, each the recipient of Revelation, which  in each case  some accept and some reject.

These lie more distant from any theology.  They are clueless, humbly doing their best (as do we all).  They are not consciously aware of their Maker, in any focussed sense;  their state of mind is comparable to that masterfully portrayed by Hugh Lofting in Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1948), where an antediluvian turtle tells the story of Noah’s Ark. 
(Bibliophilic footnote:  The original hardcover volume is difficult to acquire.  I ordered it several times from various used-booksellers, only to receive the wrong title every time but one.  Conceivably I own the last extant copy on Earth.  And I would not part with it at any price.  … --- … -- Well, hey, okay, but bidding begins at a million.  We accept payment in Swiss francs or in bullion.)

(4) Kittehs.

These already have their own World, even their own Scripture, to which we would not presume to add.

(5) Doggehs.

Kittehs  no like doggehs.

(6) Bunnehs.

Vulnerable, infantile innocence.  Loveable but too lowly for St. Francis to really preach to.  He does bless them, though.

(7) Turtles

I like turtles.

Elephants denote wisdom, epitomized in Ganesha.
Another magnificent elephant-friend is Babar, who embodies every virtue you can imagine.   He is the pachydermal counterpart of Doctor Dolittle -- immensely knowledgeable and capable, yet gentle (and rotund).

These are rather depressed at being known only as the “world’s largest rodent”;  cf. Gregor Samsa.   Their role on this blog is based on that of the sheep in Woody Allen’s “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Hilbert Space” (not sure if that’s the right title, have to look that one up), only I figured it’d be funnier with capybaras.

(10)  B-b-b-BUGS....

Of the Great Chain of Being, Tillyard wrote:

Its main function was to point morals for the benefit of man.  The ant was a wonderful creation, but the chief thing was that he was there for the sluggard to go to.
-- The Elizabethan World Picture (1942)

(11)  Mr. Mouse

Mice are made by our Creator  to nourish the owls, and to point moral examples for our edification.

[Philological footnote:
Zoögraphy, pronounced zoh-OG-ra-fee.  It means ‘map of the animal landscape’.
Noösphere, pronounced NO-us-feer.  It means 'the mental world as a structured whole, transcending any individual mind'.]

[Update 9 August 2014]

(12)  Pangolins.

awl .... sweeeeeepeeeeeeee .........

I have never written a line about these lovelies, but they are so-o-o-o  sweet ...

[Thanks go out to Snarla  for mailing me that image.]

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