British author Karen Armstrong said about mankind that "we are meaning seeking creatures." My cats live day to day without that ongoing quest for a deeper meaning. Sure, sometimes they are happier than other times. But all in all their life is just peachy, without worry or concern, but also without deeper meaning.
As to us, we thrive on meaning. We want to know "why?" We invent creation stories to imbue our culture with root beliefs, we create special festivities and attach symbols and customs to them to create significance, we create culture as backdrop for life, and as a basis for shared experience, which creates meaning in and of itself. Consider the two sides of our ongoing search for meaning. We become depressed when we see no meaning, and we thrive when we can glean a deeper significance to what we do. On the one hand it gives us a sense of purpose, and it can propel us, inspire us, on the other hand itcan also torture us.
In yoga they say "there is no place to go, you are already here," meaning there is no need to struggle towards some goal we create for ourselves based on some narrative. My cats are already there - right here - they don't look further. We are different, I guess, until we become enlightened, then we're like my cats. Content to be right where they are, which is here. Buddhists say that all suffering comes from having desires, and when there are no desires there is no suffering. What do you think?