I was a bit cynical about things this morning as I scrolled through Facebook and I came across a comment, it was not an evil comment, in fact it was pure and sweet in intent and I’m sure that all else who saw it either gave it a like or scrolled on by, it was so innocuous, but in my cynical mood it was an irritant to my literalist tendencies, and I responded.
The comment was that human beings had a long way to go before we could be as good as dogs because dogs love unconditionally and dogs are much better at living in the present than people are.
Now, both of those are true statements and I’ve certainly got nothing against unconditional love. It’s the ‘living in the present’ part that got me. This is like a new age platitude that we’re all just expected to agree with, but it’s off the mark in so many ways. People are not dogs. There are several reasons we don’t live (at least not exclusively) in the present. First, the present is a seriously small bit of time. If you’re in it, you’re simultaneously coming into it and going out of it, that’s how tiny it is. If time could be measured in space, the present would be less than a single step, no more than a single beat of the heart. Also, though, more importantly and quite unlike dogs, we have a very keen awareness of the past and the future. Not just the near past, for we know the history of mankind even back to ages when we weren’t entirely human, back before that, we know of dinosaurs and volcanoes and the formation of the universe. We can see forward in time as well, we are constantly imagining scenarios and considering strategies to bring them into being or to avoid them entirely.
Now, all of that is true, too. But, I should have let it slide. She loves dogs. That’s a good thing.