Pic of the day: Hachiko, picture from WikiMedia.
Hachiko, Omega Dog
Today I was trying to memorize the kanji for dog (which should not be so hard since it vaguely resembles a person throwing a stick). As part of my learning, I read a little about dogs in Japanese culture. This was how I came across Faithful Dog Hachiko.
In Tokyo in the 1920es, there lived a professor with his young dog. Each day the professor would go to work at the university; and each day as he returned, the dog would meet him at the railway station.
One day while at work, the professor died from a sudden stroke. The dog came to the station as usual to meet him, but his master did not appear. So the dog, named Hachiko, returned the next day at the same time. And so he continued to do for ten years, until his own death.
The people of Tokyo were so moved by the dog's loyalty that they raised a monument over Faithful Dog Hachiko at the railway station Shibuya, where he had been waiting for all those years.
It struck me that in a way, this was the ultimate dog. Scientist and philosopher Teilhard de Chardin believed that the universe was evolving toward an ultimate "Omega point", which he seems to have identied with Christ. Of course, this upset the Christians and the evolutionists in about equal measure. But while a lot of people doubt that evolution as a whole is guided, it is widely agreed that the evolution of dogs is indeed guided, namely by humans. So perhaps dogkind might have an Omega point?
Admittedly, it is kind of stupid to keep waiting for ten years. But we don't keep dogs around to do our heavy thinking for us. That's not their goal. For a dog, the goal must be to be the best dog possible - the "most doggy", so to speak. And it's hard to beat Hachiko on that.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.