Half a Cow
No knowledge of the world enters our
brains but through the five senses, said
Emmanuel Kant disagreed. There's a
sixth sensory organ, he said, flooding our
brains every moment of perception with
a priori knowledge, expectations built up
over time that interpret and override the
other senses. This sensory organ is SELF
itself, in whatever state of wisdom or
ignorance it exists.
The most our eyes present to our brains
at any moment is half a cow. But we don't
say, "Look! There's half a cow." Our brains
tell us, "Whole cow," for we learned early on,
when the cow turns round, the half out
of sight persists in time anyway. "Out of
sight, out of mind," is for infants only.
I wish Kant had kept quiet on this, however.
It worked better for me involuntarily. A field
of grazing guernseys was once a bucolic
commonplace for me. Now the two-legged
frauds seem propped on 2x4s wedged in the
"Half a loaf is better than none,"
than itself in a Kantian universe, I guess.
My son was the rear end of a pantomime
cow in the school pageant, and it rattled my
new understanding of things for a week.
My domestic life is also a shambles.
"That was a halfhearted effort,"
"Nothing less for the one I love," says I.
"We've only a half quart of milk left," says she.
"Plenty! More than meets the eye, dear," says I,
and now my dry cereal really is.
Flags flown at half staff fail to honor the
for me any longer. And our neighbors, the
Holnagels? When he's away, is she a
There are exceptions to any rule, of course.
The half grapefruit I enjoy at breakfast will not
yield a whole one no matter how I rotate it.
And what happens when the Doublemint Twins
turn round? Some things are just too daunting
to think on post-Kant: the bearded lady, gay
marriage, the push-me-pull-you, a hole in one,
half and half milk, Dolly Parton. Maybe if I
close one eye...