"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Being a ruminant, I have a lot of time to, well, ruminate. To this end, I have, of late, been reflecting on the idea of existentialism, and have concluded that goats are indeed existentialists. "Oh, God-Love-A-Cow, Marigold. What are you talking about now???" Calm down. It's okay. Really. Just hear me out.

Existentialism is the idea that an individual can create the meaning and essence of their own life as opposed to it being defined or created for them. I like this idea. It is completely in keeping with the philosophy held by most goats - or at least most goats with an iota of intelligence. Why should we let someone else define our life simply because they hold the key to the barn? Moreover, why should we let someone else create a life for us simply because they happen to weigh more or have a harder head? I ask you, does it not hold true that the individual existed before the essence of the situation? Of course they did!

Now then, there are seven major concepts governing the existentialist approach . These would be: 1) Existence Precedes Essence. There is not even a question here. It goes without saying that one simply 'is' far before one thinks about having an aroma. Except, of course, in the case of bucks. With bucks I think the essence may come first - or at least that's how it smells.

The second concept is: 2) Dread. Oh, Fat-Goats-Don't-Float! Dread is the major component of herd dynamics. One always dreads. There are so many factors involved here. Things like dreading hoof trimming day, dreading getting caught between Boo and any other immovable object, dreading getting caught between Boo and any item thought to be food, dreading getting creamed because Ella thought you were going to get to the Peanuts before her. I mean the list just goes on and on.

So, forget that one and let's get on to No. 3) Bad Faith. Okay. Admittedly I don't know much about bad faith. I tend to be rather on the optimistic side myself. I usually see the jar as half full of Peanuts and have faith that if we run out Costco will have more. Still, I can see where a lot of less fortunate goats might not know where their next Peanut is coming from. In that sense, I imagine bad faith could take hold and govern one's existence. Presumably we are rather lucky in that respect.

Anyhow, the fourth concept is: 4) Freedom. Oh, don't even get me started! I mean exactly why do we have fences anyway? It certainly isn't to keep the goats in. You could go talk to my old friends, Baby Belle and her daughter, Hannah Belle, and get a pretty good grip on understanding this idea. So,
Naturelment!, the fences are to keep the coyotes and other such border encroachers out. Freedom, after all, is a goat's God-given RIGHT, for goats' sake!!!

The fifth concept is two-fold and by far my favorite! No. 5) is The Other and the Look. Ay, yi, yi!, Lucy! I LOVE this one! You see the Other (notice that capital 'O'?... has to have the capital 'O'.) The Other is the experience of another free subject who inhabits the same world as you do. (See. There's that whole freedom thing again.) Anyway, basically it is the idea that you experience the other subject and then you give them The Look. Now, of course, we all know about The Look. Especially mothers. Mothers have The Look down to a science. Mother or not, I can tell you right now that Watson and Peanut get The Look from me quite often - usually followed by The Butt, but that is beside the point. You can rest assured that there is not a goat living on this planet who does not fully comprehend and embrace the ideology behind the concept of The Other followed by The Look.

So, now, we come to concept No. 6) Reason as a problematic defense against anxiety. Ha! Ha!, I say!!! The goatmother tries to pull this one on us all the time. We are anxious because we know she is about to trim hooves. She tries to reason that if our hooves become long and look like elf shoes, we will have extreme difficulty walking - unless, of course, it snows. This does absolutely nothing to relieve our anxiety and that is certainly problematic. Another example would be when we see the coyote in the pasture. The goatmother scares it away and then reasons that it can't get through the fence with the electric wire and why would it want a bunch of fat goats anyway? I mean, what does she think we are here? A bunch of Nubians? We all remain anxious. Even Boo, but then Boo is a Nubian. Therefore it's just problematic anyway you look at it.

The last concept just makes a good summary as far as I'm concerned. Concept No. 7) is the Absurd. Oy. This would be life without Peanuts. There is simply no other way to describe a life without Peanuts. And, believe me, I certainly dread any kind of existence preceding the essence of Peanuts, and reason, problematically against the anxiety created by this thought. I know that I have the freedom to give THE LOOK to any Other goat or person who has bad faith and doesn't realize just how Absurd this kind of existence might be.

" I stick my finger into existence - it smells of nothing. Where am I? What is this thing called the world? Who is it that has lured me into the world? Why was I not consulted?" - Soren Kierkegaard.

A life without Peanuts? How existential.


goatfarmer said...

Whoa, Marigold, easy on the locoweed.

Marigold said...

I much prefer absinthe.

Virginia Lyons, dairy goat rancher said...

absolutely fabulous blog. I would love to read the ruminations of other members of the herd, who have different philosophical perspectives. Perhaps there's a cynic, an epicurian, a marxist, or an objectivist in the crowd?


Marigold said...

Dear Virginia,
An interesting thought, but they are gonna' have to get past me first in order to gain access to the computer.

goatgirl said...

That's deep....and since I didn't understand a word of it I will comment on your lovely milk dipped wattles. Very pretty jewelry Marigold.

Anonymous said...

I raise Mini-Nubians:-D