Thoughts originally published 2019.04.30
Several years ago, I visited the Guggenheim Museum when I came across a painting that captivated me: Lobster and Cat by Pablo Picasso. This painting, created in 1965, reveals the artist’s sense of humor as he depicts aggression provoking fear.
Here is what I see; A clash of two worlds.
Look at the surprise and defensive posture of the terrestrial dwelling feline as it suddenly finds itself face to face with the alien seafloor living crustacean in an aggressive stance. Bristled tail, arched back, mouth agape, and nails unsheathed as it experiences antennae forward, claws opened, head up, and tail flat. It is evident that neither animal understands what the other is; their instincts take over.
What if this lobster, which finds itself an alien in this strange new world, took down its aggressive posture and took the time to teach the cat the struggles of being a lobster? And what if the cat unhunched its back, sheathed its claws, and just sat and listened and acknowledged the lobster’s plight rather than telling the lobster it was an alien and did not belong on the land.
Imagine a world where lobsters could be free to be lobsters; exoskeletons, gills, coldbloodedness, and the whole nine yards. Imagine a world where the cats have their cat-ness respected; mammalian fur, warm blood, air-breathing, and the entire package.
If only the two animals respected each other’s perspective…even if the did not agree. Maybe both could come to see the beach as something that could be shared… perhaps there is room in the land for both.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when confronted by a worldview that is different from our own, we could sit down, have a cup of coffee or a pint of beer, and talk with and listen to one another? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could teach rather than attack?
I will let you decide if you are the lobster or the cat.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 7:12