Little Purring Heart

Why ‘Aesthetic’?

My approach is ‘aesthetic’ because I believe that all truth lies on the surface. There is no depth of the sort we imagine, as if our souls are extraordinary wells, at the deepest depths of which we may find our desire, and arising from which, reverberating in the well, are the echoes of what we drink on every day, our passion, our mysterious lust … but which we would rather forget.
No, there is no well. It is my contention, based upon many, many years spent getting as close as possible to people, many of whom have owned cats, some of whom have not, although that is no problem because they own other things that might stand for cats[1], that a strange psychology one might associate with cats can be observed in the relationships cats have with those around them: dynamics and atmospheres. What this means, I shall reserve for my conclusion.
My friend Christopher, a psychoanalyst of some renown, once write about the aesthetics of mothering, and how a child might internalize, I suppose one could say, the kind of caring approach that a mother might offer. My approach is certainly related to this.
I have written on the subject in more depth elsewhere[2], but briefly I would suggest that a degree of wonder directed towards the manner in which one cares for a cat and allows a cat to care for you relates very much to what Christopher had in mind. All I would add is that it is the possibility of a continuing, unassumed relationship with the cat, or various cats over time, which presents an opportunity for that original maternal relationship to be affected (Fig 5). ‘Cats can help us to love better’ might have been another title for my book.

fig 5

[1] I could give, for example, the case of a client who had an upright Hoover which he regarded much as many might a cat. He did not understand this cleaning device and imputed great powers to it with its expanding dust bag, like a lung, its mysterious whining roar, its wheels and its special cable. I have written on this subject in full elsewhere (‘Feline Machines, 1984’, ‘The Paw of Progress, 1991’ etc.)

[2] ‘Mother knows best’, 1986