The canine cynic
Taken from the ‘Prodouge’
A little closer in time and place to the roots of the Western Philosophical tradition, the Persian Zoroastrians were much taken with both the sagacity and moral rectitude of dogs. In a curious echo of the Mayans, Persians dogs guarded the bridge over which the dead sauntered to paradise. But they were also key combatants in the endless war of light against darkness, fighting for the wise Ahura Mazda against the insects, slugs, rats, lizards, frogs and, I’m afraid, cats that served the dark lord Angra Mainyu.
That curious way that dogs have of standing stock-still and staring silently into the middle distance was explained by the fact that they can see evil spirits invisible to us. To mistreat such a powerful ally in the good fight must incur terrible punishments, in this life and the next. The murder of a dog could only be atoned for by a demanding list of penances including he killing of ten thousand cats. So, yes, the Zoroastrians were definitely dog people..
-How to teach philosophy to your dog, McGowan, Anthony
I picked this off the Western Philosophy shelf at my local book store as a bit of a… actually, I have no idea why I bought it, I’m not usually this casual with my purchases. But damn, I sure am glad I did. I haven’t laughed out loud reading a book in ages. Which means I’m either reading the wrong books (very likely) or I am exceptionally difficult to please (also likely).
It’s really good. And despite my, (thus far) middling results in enthusing the GSD with Nietzsche (although maybe Schopenhauer is more her schtick) I remain confident that I will be successful, notwithstanding her natural cynicism
A cynic – as the word is used now – is a pessimist – at best world-weary, at worst ruthlessly unscrupulous. The origin of the word, though, might seem a little surprising: it derives from an ancient Greek word meaning ‘dog-like’ or ‘doggy’.
Now you know.