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Philosophy

Murakami’s Talking Cat

Henri Rousseau, ‘The Dream’, 1910.

“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory”. – Haruki Murakami.

A talking cat – clearly an absurdity but in many ways no less absurd than that any of the mad parade of human civilisation and the shared confusion and beauty of this lonely little planet should even exist. If (as above) all sensation is memory, all experience already fading and receding as a past horizon in time then there is no future – only a present moment that is always and already temporally displaced, slipping away, hollow and uncertain like that important, silent part of every song that only ever happens after they finish but even then is only a repetition and presence of their own past absence.

It is perhaps an artefact of psychological experience as much as of Murakami’s prose that if there is only what was, then a non-existent present and impossible future suggest that in their absence and logical vacuum they could actually be anything, or nothing, and that in such an unexpected world of dimensionless freedom, even cats might talk; but what, I wonder, might they say?

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