On counting neurons

Your mediaeval peasant had less on his mind, we are told. By comparison, our urban, post-modern savage has plenty. The amount of miscellaneous information being fed into one, from his hand-held device, during a typical trolley ride of twenty blocks, is astounding. Much is in the form of numbers. He might be hot, or cold, but until he has consulted the weather network he is afflicted by anxiety. He needs to know the current temperature, possibly the windspeed, humidity, and barometric pressure, but more likely he will settle for an expert opinion on what it “feels like.” Whereas, a mediaeval peasant would already know what it “feels like”: like Hell, riding this trolley.

I am cat-blogging today. This is because I have been shown, through the miracle of email, an article on the intelligence of dogs and cats. According to some murky source, dogs have more neurons than cats, and the conclusion is, that dogs are more intelligent.

Quel simplisme!

Any cat will tell you that a dog wastes his neurons, on idiocies such as trying to please humans, but I doubt the authors of this ridiculous study consulted one.

Are dogs more intelligent than trolley riders? The thought has occurred to me; I think it could be tested. But an intelligent dog will try to hide it. A dog will be told to “sit, sit,” and by his mysterious desire to please, will sit, for a moment. Yet having more self-knowledge than his master or mistress, he will soon stand up again. This is because a sitting dog in a crowded trolley gets his tail stood on. He wishes that he could explain this to his master, but one glance at the ring in the nose and he knows there is no point. Just smile, and endure. Life will be easier that way. It would be more fun with a pack of dogs, however.

There is no leashing a cat. The creatures have foresight, and know where this is going. I don’t know how many neurons it takes to have foresight, but a cat has enough. As the old saying goes, a dog has a master, but a cat has staff. He can’t even be bothered to count them.

A human analogy would be apt, here. Men have more neurons than women. This is as certain as dogs have more neurons than cats. But ask any woman. Indeed, for purposes of research I just asked one. I caught her, by electronic means, on the way to deliver a Latin tutorial:

“Perhaps there is more to the male/female thing than neurons. Perhaps there is a hormonal equivalent to the elusive Dark Matter of physics, or to the more elusive (if less likely) string theory.”