DEAR DR. FOX: I just read your answer to the woman who asked if you believe that “in heaven, we will meet up with all of our loved ones,” including animals. Though an agnostic, I was really anticipating your response, since my beloved husband died suddenly a year ago, and our 18-year-old cat, Magic, died three months later of hyperthyroidism and diabetes.
Although I was an English major who studied Milton and then earned a doctorate in school psychology, I could not interpret your reply, which seemed equivocal, compared to your customary clear, definitive answers.
I appreciate your thoughtful exposition, yet still wonder if you could perhaps try again, so that the questioner and I may receive a “yes” or “no” to her simple question about your beliefs. -- C.S., Leonardo, New Jersey
DEAR C.S.: As it is in heaven, so it is on Earth when we embrace all we behold.
Jesus of Nazareth purportedly advised we must first become as children before we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. As poet William Wordsworth wrote, the child is indeed father to the man.
My understanding is that, upon death, an individuated consciousness, or spirit, becomes part of the universal consciousness or Great Spirit of Native American Indian tradition. In that illimitable realm, we will become one again with all we embraced on Earth as individual souls.
I incorporate the animistic and pantheistic aspects of indigenous, “pagan” religious traditions under the banner of panentheism: God in all and all in God. The empathosphere is one integrating component of this Taoist view -- the I-Thou of philosopher Martin Buber and the Unified Field theory of metaphysics.
So I make no pronouncements on what I believe about what we each may or may not experience after we die, including meeting up with our deceased loved ones, whether human or animal. What about the many we directly and indirectly harmed? I recall, in my early years as a nationwide speaker, promoting animal rights while some attendees were wearing the furs of the relatives of their dogs and cats. They took offense when I mentioned this issue in my presentation.
Until there is atonement, there can be no “at-one-ment.” But a broken heart can be an open heart, and I contend that compassion is the greatest power on Earth with which we humans are enabled and ennobled. The rise of mammon and what Pope Francis calls the “tyranny of anthropocentrism” may be quelled by a more evolved human consciousness and civilization, but only if translated rationally and empathetically into reverence for all life. Until then, the hell on earth that we make for animals, and many of our own kind, will be without end.
(For more details, see my book “The Boundless Circle: Caring for Creatures and Creation.”)
STOP WILD HORSES FROM BEING SHIPPED TO JAPAN FOR SLAUGHTER VIA CANADIAN AIRPORTS
American wild horses, as well as Canadian horses, are often shipped as “live exports” via Canadian airports in Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg to Japan to be slaughtered for a disturbing dish called basashi: thinly-sliced raw horse flesh.
There is a petition against this practice, which claims that before being slaughtered, these horses are not provided with food or water for up to 36 hours, as permitted by the law within Canada.
If you would like to see these airports stop their participation in this brutal trade, please take a moment to sign the petition. Go to onegreenplanet.org for details.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)