Re: intersubjectivity

Gary F. Blanchard (
Thu, 24 Apr 1997 19:49:05 -0700

Dear Devi-

Thanks for your report on 'cats, construing, and videotapes,'
which might make a good title for a movie, eh?

Anyway, for me, your report underlined Maturana's observation, which you
probably are well aware of.

Namely, that stimuli can trigger, but not specify, reactions. Either
sight or sound, probably sound, triggered the cats in ways many find
amazing. But it's the cat's ontology which had them react that way.

Do you think cats live in language, too?

Best, Gary
Devi Jankowicz wrote:
> Jim Legg writes:
> <snip>
> >My cat does know what her tinned food looks like unopened in a pseudo
> >symbol processing manner. Importantly, she appears to me to exhibit an
> >utter dislike for looking at herself in the mirror, unless at a
> >distance. I've been interested in her mirror behavior, since I started
> >reading this thread. Try it. Is there any data on whether a cat avoids
> >looking directly into mirrors more than other surfaces? Notably, she
> >does like sprawling over my computer screen and, with her head right
> >over the edge, she sometimes takes an oblique interest in the mouse
> >pointer.
> It would appear that cats aren't particularly interested in mirrors after
> the kitten stage.
> However, I'm interested in the TV monitor issue. Our cat will
> occasionally perk up when there are birds, complete with sound, on the
> TV. Moreover, there are two videos available on the open market which are
> targeted especially at cats. I found this hard to believe until a friend
> showed me: played the video to her cats- and they were both transfixed.
> I borrowed it and showed it to my moggie and: same reaction! Total,
> absorbed attention, followed by a dramatic leap onto the screen, bounce
> back, and frantic washing as a displacement activity as she tried to
> regain her cool. Then back to watching the screen.
> The topic of the video? A series of snippets of goldfish in bowls, and
> small birds going "tweet tweet". Hard to believe, I know: but absolutely
> true. Consistent, replicable behaviour. If I could think of a way of
> making money from this phenomenon, I would.
> kind regards,
> Devi Jankowicz