They Didn’t Seem to Care

Scott grabbed a can of dog food out of the cupboard and looked down at his beagle Rusty, who gazed up at him intently. Scott considered Rusty’s thought process for a moment. Rusty knew food was in the can, and he knew he would soon be eating that food. He could even hear and smell in ways that humans couldn’t. On the other hand, Rusty had no idea how the dog food got into that can because he would never understand how human factories worked. He didn’t know that humans had removed his ancestors from the wild thousands of years ago and turned them into domestic servants. He couldn’t fathom why he had been neutered. For what it was worth, at least Rusty’s short attention span kept him from dwelling on anything for very long. His mind didn’t grapple with abstractions, and he didn’t seem to care.

Then Scott shifted his focus to humans, who in less than 200 years had gone from horses and wagons to trains, cars, battleships, nuclear power plants, lunar modules, Stealth Bombers, laptops, smartphones, nanorobots, 3D printers, and quantum computers. In the coming years, an increasingly rapid succession of new technological innovations would stun the world in even more unimagineable ways. Yet despite all this, Scott didn’t see much difference between most people and their pets. After all, what did any of the troubling mysteries that sometimes puzzled him really mean? He didn’t spend much time worrying about them. It was all he could do to function within his own immediate reality, and unlike Rusty, he didn’t have a big, friendly, obedient owner to take care of his every need. A low grumbling shook Scott out of his reverie. He looked down, apologized, and began opening the can of dog food.