Why cats may have more to teach us about living the good life than Socrates

DM

Socrates is credited with saying “the unexamined life is not worth living.” And for centuries, human beings have looked to philosophy as a way to contemplate and potentially even answer many of life’s biggest, toughest questions. Why are we born only to die? What is the meaning of existence? What constitutes a good life? But according to British philosopher John Gray, cats can often teach us much more about living the good life than philosophy ever could. In his book, Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life, Gray examines the nature of our philosophical pursuits, and finds them wanting. “In humans, discontent with their nature seems to be natural,” he writes. “With predictably tragic and farcical results, the human animal never ceases striving to be something that it is not.” Cats, according to Gray, make no such effort.

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