The endurance of animals

The endurance of animals. Not just survival but the endurance in their eyes. Enduring the same, the same. They bear reality in ways we can’t.

Yet animals have their distractions too. Their ‘excessive’ curiosity for instance – in excess of instrumental behaviour. Or their pointless play. There’s a video on the internet of a crow bringing a lid onto a slanted snowy roof, sliding down on it, bringing it back up in its beak and sliding back down. How like us they can be in their play, which seems irreducible to purely evolutionary explanation, as ours is irreducible to statistics, forecasts, algorithms.

Like animals we’re thrown into attention, but it’s a heavier burden for us. We can’t sustain it for long. I work long hours for two weeks, make some money, think I’ve achieved something, think I can rest, but it never ends, the need to attend to things. What things? S. Hunger. Housework. The need to justify yourself, to mean something beyond your capacity to earn money. To write this journal, for instance. But I get bored and seek distraction. At times I think I’m nothing more than the play between attention and distraction. Only in writing do they come together, mysteriously, temporarily.

Apes, so close to us, get bored too, you can see it in their eyes. But perhaps it’s only boredom produced by captivity, or being watched by us.

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