Reflections: A Touching Story about the Validity of our Worldview

Having a valid worldview could actually save your life.  For example, here’s a view that could be dangerous: Wild grizzly bears are cute and cuddly.   So long as the individual with that view only encounters representations, such as a photograph, they are safe.  But given the opportunity to have their picture taken with an actual wild grizzly (“How cute, a mother and her cubs.”), they could end up dead. This may seem obvious, but people sometimes operate under convenient and even adaptable assumptions that don’t match reality.  And keep in mind, it’s easier to see another person’s perceptual blinders than to see our own.

Here’s the story:
(Source: This American Life show 291- 6/30/2006)
Ralph Fisher owned a famous Brahman bull named Chance.  Fisher had acquired the bull when it was seven years old, and the bull Brahman_cattle_SB013became a member of the family until he died at age 19.  Chance became a celebrity, and was known far and wide for his gentleness.  Shortly before Chance died, Fisher convinced scientists at Texas A&M University to clone Chance.  They were successful.  The new Brahman bull was named Second Chance.  He looked just like Chance, and had many of the same mannerisms.  It seemed uncanny to the family.  Fisher believed that in some mysterious way, Second Chance was Chance.  If not, he would become Chance.  Fisher decided to personally raise Second Chance from a calf.  Second Chance was to become a replacement for Chance and a new member of the family, like a pet dog.

On Second Chance’s fourth birthday, the bull purposely attacked and severely wounded Fisher.  At that point, Fisher acknowledged that Chance and Second Chance were not the same animal.  But since he did not acquire Chance until the bull was seven years old, he felt that Second Chance might “become” Chance at that age, that he would settle down and become the pet they desired.  About a year and a half later, the radio crew visited Fisher’s ranch on a follow up.  On that very day, Second Chance again purposely attacked and severely wounded Fisher.  They interviewed Fisher in the hospital and Fisher stated that he still had hope for Second Chance, that he would continue to have hope until Second Chance reached the age of seven, the age at which he had acquired Chance.

Commentary:
According to ABC News, Second Chance died at age eight due to a stomach malady unrelated to the cloning process.  There were no more reported attacks up until that time, and it seems likely that Fisher had learned to be careful around him.  I can only speculate, but it seems probable to me that Second Chance was never going to be Chance, nor was he likely to behave anything like Chance, and that Providence spared Fisher of that discovery.

There is a problem intrinsic in this tale that love and appearances obscured.  A more complete worldview may have recognized the problem, preventing unnecessary hardship.  According to cattle expert Temple Grandin (ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION), bull dominance can be a problem.  She cites an example of a deer buck raised by an individual who was gored trying to take the buck’s photograph.  Grandin states that the buck saw the man as a competitor.  “The bull must learn that he is a bull, not a person.” She therefore recommends that grazing animals are raised with their own kind so that humans are seen as outside the cattle’s social hierarchy.

It seems likely to me that Fisher’s first bull, Chance, was raised in this way – with his own kind. Obviously Second Chance was not, so Fisher became the target for dominance in the perceived social hierarchy of the bull.  Grandin states that Brahman bulls do have the capacity for great affection, if dominance isn’t at issue.  A more valid match with reality would have taken this view into account, and possibly saved a good deal of physical pain.  But, when it comes to love, validity of view is not always easy.  Love is the kind of perceptual curveball that can both open us up to marvelous experience or cause grave injury when love is misplaced or misperceived.

A bit more explanation:
A high degree of validity is achieved when our individual worldview matches our objective reality.  Let’s just call objective reality the world in which we operate (with or without personal awareness).

Validity and adaptability are not always the same.  For example, denial of an injury, illness, or debilitating circumstance may be adaptive if nothing can be done about it, but maladaptive if help is available and quality of life could emerge.  In either case the view does not match with reality. In a similar example, a story, an interpretation of reality one tells oneself, may not match objective reality. But the story may seem adaptive if it helps one to cope in a limited way.  Some stories we tell ourselves make reality more palatable.  But there may come a time when lack of validity in that story may result in unforeseen consequences.  It is good practice to challenge our assumptions from time to time.

Perceptual validity can never be 100%.  That’s perfection, the ideal of Truth.  But the more validity a worldview holds, the greater success it will have in correctly assessing reality, predicting outcomes, and expanding potential.  Validity of View can be conceptualized as an ability to correctly identify what we see.  The following is an example in which there is an increasing depth of validity, an increased awareness on the same perceptual subject (I’ve numbered each perception starting with limited awareness and progressing to higher awareness):

1. I see nothing but my immediate needs and preconceptions.  2. I see a movement in a tree.  3. I see the movement is a bird.  4. I identify the bird as a bluebird.  5. I know the bluebird by its song.  6. I can predict the bluebird’s behavior by knowledge of its habits: what a bluebird eats, where it will nest, and how to attract it to my bird feeder. 7. I can identify a bluebird at a distance, when others would just see a bird.  8. The bluebird visits me in a dream and is a genuine harbinger of happiness.  9. I have a degree of inner vision, whereby I perceive aspects of the bluebird’s spirit, the spirit-of-the-thing-itself.  10. I feel the interconnectedness of bird and self.  For a timeless moment, we are one.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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8 Responses to Reflections: A Touching Story about the Validity of our Worldview

  1. Frank DeMarco says:

    Speaking of worldviews, it is clear that implicit in the worldview of this man is the idea that genetics is everything and spirit is nothing. He appears never to have considered the possibility that “cloning” reproduces only the physical envelope but does not transfer the non-material essence that makes us who we are.

    Nor, to cite another example, did he consider what any astrologer would have said right off, which is that any enterprise (including a new life) begun at a given moment shares the qualities of that moment, regardless what physical material is used.

    Either of these two changes in worldview might have made the man more cautious.

    • Jim says:

      Well stated. And cloning isn’t reincarnation. What occurred to me as I read this story are the number of people who want to clone their pet dog or cat. They aren’t going to be gored or trampled, but I don’t think they are going to get their pet back. I feel one would have a better chance of locating a transmigration imprint (it seems like calling it reincarnation is misleading) through spiritual quest — through second sight or other pathway of intuition.

  2. fortune says:

    Daily I wonder how one might know if a beloved pet were to reincarnate and come back into their life. I’ve since childhood had various and many pets I’ve loved bonded with and eventually grieved for but none was my life and and spirit so entangled with as my unique and amazing cornish rex cat named Boogie. For 13 years he was more than a cat, my muse, my guide, my healer, soul mate, best friend, savior-he scratched at my head until he woke me up alerting me to a smouldering fire in my bedroom, he was my muse as well. He died a year ago in May. A week later i got sick and nearly died also. Since his departure the seemingly unending creative flow keeping me always involved in some artistic endeavor is gone. Without him physically with me, the optimistic, outgoing, uplifting part of me others found inspiring and healing has not returned. The sadness and longing have not lessened . My only wish or hope is that he might return to me as another cat. I want no other pets, i found good homes for the other cats i had because i felt they deserved to live with people who could provide the love they need. How could i know if Boogie might return? He was so unique such a distinctive personality, such a luminous being, without him the bright resilent parts of my soul seemed to shatter and be flung far out of reach. How would i find him if he were reborn?

  3. Jim says:

    Fortune, are you a shamanic practitioner? This situation may request that you journey to the spirit-imaginal realms. You need be open to the notion that Boogie has his own journey. My experience is that beloved pets usually, almost by nature, have a door to visiting us in the spirit. See about the nature of that door. Pets can sometimes become spirit helpers, and an essential aspect of your cat may still be within your proximity waiting for you to recognize the change in status so that he can continue to assist you. In order for an animal to become a realized spirit helper, you must let go the physical (you must treat a pet-as-spirit-helper with all the respect you would treat any spirit helper). There have been times in my life when a former pet has visited me (in spirit) in times of stress, and I thank them for their energetic support. That’s what spirit helpers do. When the relationship is conferred, it can be become an ongoing relationship (just like other spirit helpers).

    Also, it might be useful to visit the spirit of Cat, which will present as a powerful representation of all cats. Cat is the source of Boogie’s essential catness, and is also the source of individual patterns — your unique cat. Cat will inform you (even comfort you for your good work with cats). Next, there is the related situation of grief. I might suggest that you perform a ritual for your grief, because it is important to let go of the physical aspect of your cat in order to better relate to the spirit. Remember, the spirit informs the physical, so it can be useful to put yourself in accord with the spirit. Grieving can be done in a ritual way, like a sweat lodge — a beginning, expression with spirits as witness, and an ending (“all life is connected”) before leaving or taking down the ritual space. This doesn’t mean sadness won’t remain, but that sadness is much less likely to possess. If you have a friend to help you, so much the better. If not, then call on your spirit helpers as witness, as well as the field of friends who you connect with at a distance and who have a sympathetic worldview. Simply call them, feel the connection with the field to support you.

    Finally, it sometimes happens when you bring a situation full circle, that act will open you to new possibilities. By engaging this situation at a spirit/emotional level you may unblock the path forward. This is your spirit quest. My experience is that, even after letting go, or maybe even because of letting go, that you will find a new cat (if you desire) that has resonance with Boogie (as spirit helper, should that relationship evolve between you). It’s not for me to say, you may find reincarnation. But deep connection is good.
    Blessings —

  4. fortune says:

    While he was alive i saw him at least making a cameo visit during most journeys, he’d come into view walking on water. I’ve taken many journeys asked guide to help me connect with him in spirit.
    only once very briefly did he appear. He had often communicated to me in life that it was hard for him to remain such a large spirit in such a small cat body. When he appeared it was as an almost blindingly bright being. He said he and Boogie had coexisted in the mammal body and he understood how difficult it must be to be separated from the physical closeness of himself and Boogie who was a more powerful and intelligent spirit than cats as we generally know them manifesting on earth. That there are planets where felines are evolved citizens where biped felines and four footed cats live in synergistic communication. Our cats are from there, choosing to step down from that higher harmonic to live in physical form here. Sekhmet was involved in their migration here. She has many times traveled with me on journeys into the matrix in remote viewing travels long before i knew there was a goddess sekhmet . When i was in an egyptian museum in Turin where they’d brought a room full of her original statues, i felt like the top of my head had open up, there she was, my beloved who had watched over and protected me. I was staying at Damanhur and my group from there had to practically drag me out of the room. I read later a book by Robert Masters who had the same reaction in the presence of her statues.

    The bright being was there a moment and was gone. And Boogie has not been close by and i can’t reach him. But our souls are entangled. I’ll keep seeking him and the parts of my soul that split off to follow him.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for sharing Fortune. When a being lifts us like that, it is not easy to recover when they are gone. Sometimes, an object that was favored in life can be a conduit, if not for Boogie, then perhaps for any parts of you that may have split off. Or you may have or find an object that gives you comfort. Perhaps you know someone who can work with you in person, although you may have decided this is a personal quest. Good luck!

      • Sans the skeleton says:

        Fortune I am in a near situation. I used to have two dogs. One was always cranky and another was always balancing her out. They’re names were Holly and Kaitlyn. I will finish the story soon.

  5. Sans the skeleton says:

    Holly was much older than Kaitlyn and died before her. Kaitlyn’s attitude was the same, but every time I thought about Holly, I lost my appetite. A few years later, Kaitlyn died because she had become very sick. I cried for hours until I fell asleep. I still have three other dogs, Sadie, Lacy, and Sophie. I love them, but fear that when all of them are gone, I will not recover. My father died when I was young and I have anxiety and depression. Once Kaitlyn and Holly died, I started losing my sanity.

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