If a solar flare hit the earth during an eclipse, would the moon protect us?

We all know the sun can, at any time, eject really bad solar flares in our direction, potentially zapping electronic devices and disrupting communications world wide. It has happened before. It will likely happen again.

What would happen if there was a total eclipse of the sun by the moon when it happened? Would we be protected?

Unfortunately, no, we wouldn’t.

The moon’s shadow of totality is only a few miles wide. Everything outside of that would be hit by the bad stuff. So, no, the moon isn’t able to shield everyone because the Earth is much bigger than the moon. It’s kind of like the shadow of a marble protecting a basketball.

Do Animals have Souls?

In my thinking, the soul is the “us” that makes us “us,” the being inside the body, the consciousness of an entity.

Mignight and Yoda

About two years ago my wife and I were watching some dumb T.V. show about cute cats. On that show some cat behavioral “expert” person said that when cats greet themselves they wink at each other.

Whether this is ture or not is unknown to me. I’ve tried Googling the topic several times only to be confronted with all kinds of pet websites. It turns out there’s a gazillion websites that talk about cats and dogs like they know what they’re talking about even though they often contradict themselves.

If there’s been any definitive scientific study about cats that wink at each other I have been unable to find it.

Then one day our cat, Midnight, jumped up on my lap. At the time he was a 10 year old cat who’d lived with us since he was abandoned by some railway tracks in Missouri. My daughter, Leanna, fed him with a baby bottle even before his eyes were open. Fast forward a decade and this cat was mischievous and smart. He knew how to close doors to keep other cats out of a room and open cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen to hide inside.

One day we found him with his head stuck in a gourd on top of the refrigerator. (He had eaten a hole into the gourd and got stuck.)

Midnight’s eyes were large and probing. As he sat on my lap that day, he purred and looked me straight in the eye.

Then I did it. I tested the theory. I sought the answer to the question.

I winked at the cat.

He looked puzzled and looked deeply into my eyes. He did not wink back. Aha, I thought. No truth to that tall tale.

I winked again. No sense in doing something just once. You’ve got to test it repeatedly.

Slowly and deliberately, quite to my surprise, Midnight winked back!

I thought, okay, the cat just winked. It could have been a coincidence. I winked a third time, and he winked back again.

This began a ritual that lasted two years until the day he died. He would jump on my lap, I’d wink, and he’d wink back, night after night. Sometimes he would wink first and wait for me to respond. Kind of weird, huh.

It seemed to me a special bond between us – something shared between man and animal – a human and an animal communicating on some kind of almost spiritual plane.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago, when he was 12, Midnight was hit by a car in the back alley. My neighbor found him and said he was dead. They had placed him in a cardboard box. He was still warm, but he was gone. I had to drive him to the pound to dispose his body.

This brings me to the question at hand: Do animals have souls?

My cat had life. He was playful. He could look you straight in the eye and wink at you. He could close doors and open cabinets. He was a living, breathing creature, albeit with a slightly more muddled brain than most – but not all – of us.

Obviously, animals don’t know about the sun, the moon, the stars or the universe. They don’t know about molecules or layers of the atmosphere or geostationary satellites. They can’t read or write. They lack the ability to comprehend much about life. They don’t seem to have much in the way of self introspection.

Their brains are muddled.

What I mean by muddled is that it appears the animals are conscious but their brains don’t work like ours. This can happen to you as well. You could have a stroke or get Alzheimer’s. You would still be you, but you wouldn’t be able to think clearly because your brain is muddled.

Perhaps this is what it’s like to be an animal – to have a muddled brain.

Animals are, nonetheless, conscious and react with people and their environment in differing ways. Some can look you in the eye and understand something about you or wink back at you. Far from inanimate, some chimpanzees can communicate with humans by talking in sign language with a learned human vocabulary.

That cat was my buddy. He was my friend and he thought of me as his friend. He was a well meaning, mentally challenged individual with a muddled, but perfectly normal cat brain. The mental capacity of his little brain prohibited him from advanced learning or communication, but still there was something there – the ghost in the machine.

The argument that animals have no souls I find dubious, as if the soul were a “thing” separate from the self that some creatures possess and some don’t. Some believe we can sell the soul to the devil, as if it were something we could sell to another. We can give away somehow. Once we do that, these people say, we have no soul anymore. We become soul-less.

In my thinking, the soul is the “us” that makes us “us,” the being inside the body, the consciousness of an entity. It occurs to me that I am conscious, my wife is conscious and our animals are conscious – some more, some less. To claim animals have no souls due to some religious doctrine does not ring true to my ears.

As to what makes us conscious, what is consciousness itself, that is yet another discussion, but as to whether animals have a soul or not seems to me to be no more than ridiculous speculation. The word “soul” is an antiquated, unscientific word. What do we mean by soul, that some living creatures can have one and other living creatures do not?

Animals have consciousness. We have consciousness.

Animals have four legs. A table has four legs. The animal is living, the table is inanimate. Inanimate has no consciousness – it is soul-less. Animate is something altogether different.

Or so I think.

I’m so scared that my parents are going to die. How do I learn to just accept the fact and prepare myself for the moment?

It does happen. That’s life. Happend to mine. It will happen to yours, you, and your kids. It will happen to everyone.

Just go out and celebrate life. Don’t worry about the downside, which is if you live, you’ll die. Would you rather have been a stone and not lived at all, or a human who lived, loved and had fun, but then died?

Who wants to die?

Ideally, no one.

It is the very essence of evolution that entities do not want to die. They seek to survive against all odds.

We call that survival, and the fittest survive better and then pass on those genes to the next generation.

Take any insect, for example. A fly perhaps. Go to swat a fly,  and the fly flies away. Why? Because the fly does not want to die. It seeks to live.

Unfortunately for we mortals, death is inevitable even though we do not want to die, so we seek out essoteric philosophies. We look inward in search of an eternal self, of God, and a greater purpose.

Religion distinguishes humans from animals. Whether that makes us better than animals is up for debate. Some would argue,naturally, that we are indeed animals. The very fact that we seek immortality by resisting death has lead to huge expenditures in the field of medicine, with some moderate success. We can’t solve death even now, but we can keep you alive longer in most cases.

That feeling within us that “I am” is a great wonderment.

Self-awareness is the ultimate goal of artificial intelligence, which to date has not been achieved except by living organisms.

That “I am” means I don’t want “not to be,” or as Shakespere said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”

You can’t be liked by everyone, but can you be hated by everyone?

One way or another, it seems, you have the impression that life revolves around you alone.

It is not possible that either everyone likes you or hates you. In reality, the reality that normal people live in, most people aren’t even thinking about you. We all are too busy thinking about other things to bother with you.

Seriously. We are so small and insignificant. Get off this train of thought. You sound like you are too egocentrical. All the people don’t like you. All the people don’t hate you. I, for one, never heard of you. Until now.

I suck when it comes to talking to women, why do they seem like there from another planet?

Well, for one thing, learn to spell “they’re” (conjuction between they and are). Most women I know like smart guys. Be one.

Women are from Venus, men are from Mars. Didn’t anyone tell you?

I’m not joking. There’s a very good book. Look it up on Amazon. It would probably help you understand. Women are as if they were from another planet! The book is Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray. You can also find it on audible.com.

Understand your enemy and your enemy will become your friend.

My Buddy is Gone

midnight-and-hook
Midnight (left) and Hook (right) – two brothers

My wife and I had twin boys once. Fur babies. They were kittens.

Twelve years ago my stepdaughter was in Missouri and called. “I’ve found a kitten. Can I keep him?”

“No.”

Leanna, my daughter, named the kitten Foley after the town in which he was found. Straight away we changed his name to Midnight after his pure black coat. He and his brother Hook (who rescued himself just as we were leaving) rode with us all the way from Foley to Amarillo.

They were two peas in a pod those cats. The Boyd cats.

At first Midnight took to Leanna, who had rescued him, but when Leanna grew up and moved out, Midnight latched onto me. He became my cat by his choice. I didn’t have a say in the matter.

Once, while I was working, Midnight found a rubber-band. That kitten played with it until it became tightly wrapped around his tiny little paw. His foot badly swelled. Leanna discovered the problem. We thought he might lose his foot. He didn’t. For some reason two tiny patches of white hair grew on his paw after that. Lately he had a gray hair here and there.

Lively, persistent, loving. Always bugging me. Always purring. Always meowing in his own strange voice. Always getting in trouble. He was what you’d expect from a great cat. Just last night, sitting here at my computer desk he climbed up on the keyboard and settled into my arms. I’m half expecting him to show up now and do it again.

He couldn’t be ignored. He’d not allow it.

He communicated with me like no other animal. He would look me straight in the eye – deeply. I’d stare back and wink. Sometimes he’d wink back. He realized when I winked he was communicating directly with me. A human-cat language we had developed between us – something we shared together.

Midnight and Hook grew up as house cats, but when we installed a pet door we noticed they weren’t using the kitty litter anymore. They wandered to Lord knows where. Right over the fence. I think Midnight wandered less distance than Hook. It’s the wandering that did him in.

Now he’s gone.

A neighbor found him in the back alley near our fence, on our property. Apparently he’d been hit by a car. I drove him to the city pound and left him. Stiff but still warm.

Well, no sense in saying parting words for a cat, is there? It’s not manly to be attached to your pet. No sense in saying, “Hey buddy. I’m gonna miss ya.”

I did anyway and I wrote this eulogy.

My cat is gone – my wife and I are mourning.