My wife sits at the dining room table typing on her laptop computer. Her cat lies sprawled across her legs. Every so often my wife reaches down and strokes his fur or gives the root of his ears a scratch. It’s a scene of domestic bliss and contentment. Two beings at peace with one another and enjoying each other’s fellowship.
But as I watch them, another thought occurs to me. What does the cat make of what my wife is doing? The short answer is, nothing. Yes, he sees the screen of her computer. On occasion he seems mesmerized by the movement of my wife’s fingers as she types. Yet there is no comprehension. The cat simply is not equipped to understand what he sees much less grasp its significance. He has no inkling of written communication let alone the abstractions embodied in the computer – ethereal bits and bytes representing concepts and ideas – marks on a screen conveying thoughts.