How the Ideas in Cat`s Cradle Complement the Ideas in The World We Have


Howthe Ideas in Cat’s Cradle Complement the Ideas in The World We Have

Cat’sCradle is a book by Kurt Vonnegut while The World We Have is a bookauthored by Thich Nhat Hanh. The two books may be worked by differentauthors, but they still possess some similarities. The two authorsuse their respective works to bring out their thoughts on certainaspects of life. The authors possess some similarities in their waysof thinking and their view of life as an institution that isinclusive. Both agree that life contains both rights and wrongs.Caring for the environment is the right behavior while destroying itis an adverse action.

Cat’sCradle explores in great depth the issues of science, technology aswell as religion. The author uses the piece to satirize the armsrace. In the book, one comes across a character known as John. Heacts as the main character in the story since the story is mainlydeveloped around him. The author uses the character to show how theworld is changing. As the story sets its pace, John tells of hisplans to publish a book on what the American people did on the dayHiroshima was bombed (Vonnegut 3). In the first chapter of the book,John meets AsaBreed, who is a scientist, and he asks him aboutHiroshima. At one point, the scientist is irritated with John sincethe character seems to think that scientists have no conscience. Thatis a real portrayal of how the world thinks of the scientists sincethey see them as the cause of many problems that the world undergoes.

Asawas the first person to reveal to John about a particular componentknown as ice-nine. John gets involved with the children of aphysicist who developed the atomic bomb. He traveled to Ilium tointerview the children and learned more about ice-nine and how it wasused by the army. At a particular point in the book, John, and theHoenniker children end up on the Caribbean island known as SanLorenzo. On the island, only a few individuals know English. Thepeople also subscribe to a particular religion called Bokonism. Itseems to be a nihilistic and cynical religion. John later comes tothe realization that Bokon is not a supreme deity, but rather aleader who created the idea of Bokonism with an aim of controllingthe population (Vonnegut 37).

Thehead of the island loses his life to the ice-nine component. Johntakes over the reins of power and even marries the late leader’sdaughter who is known as Mona. As the story comes to an end, John’slife experiences turbulent times since the body of the dead leaderends up in the sea hence killing so many people (Vonnegut 58). Johnis forced to run away so as to save his life. Mona is unable to copewith the circumstances and kills himself.

Allwhat human beings do not only has the ability and the power to heal,but also has the authority to transform themselves and help toimprove their environment and the Earth as a whole. TheMahaparinirvana Sutra was known to describe Buddha’s life in hislast years (Hanh 25). It puts into consideration the people he met,the places traveled, and the teachings he is said to have provided.The Buddha left his town once and never waved back since he knew hewould come back to his town.

Theauthor says that the Buddha does not need the eyes of the queenelephant so as to analyze what is held deep within. He applies thesame principle to humans since one has to use the eyes of the Buddhato internalize the beauty within. One does this so that tocontemplate the world that the Buddha initially saw since we are hiscontinuation.

Accordingto Hanh (45), when one practices the meditation the Buddha within theindividual brings them into a conscious contact with the naturearound them. One cannot say that their life has no meaning if theycan see the beauty of nature with the help of the Buddha. Hanh saysthat one can see and hear with the senses of the Buddha and can teachtheir offspring’s of the nature of the Buddha. One can teach thechildren on how to live their lives (Hanh 67). Both authors seem tocondemn the attitude whereby human beings tend to think that the wellbeing of the universe is independent of their actions. They advocatethat people appreciate the environment as an integral part of theireveryday life.

Theauthor propagates the notion that in every aspect of our lives, wehave to enjoy the life of walking in the ways of the Buddha. In doingso, we help other people become better, and that improves our livesto a great extent. We have to make our life a message of love andspread the gospel of love and serenity. The human race can take careof its planet. The author also talks about the cycle of Samsara. Inthis cycle the Samsara the same suffering repeats itself and one needto practice the ways of the Buddha so as to step out of it. Theauthors agree that one has to find the peace within so as to realizethe external peace in the world.

Inpracticing the ways of the Buddha, one will avoid the tendencies torun after the objects of the world. Hanh says that in the temple ofthe Buddha, no one owns the material things such as bank accounts oreven cars. He goes further and uses the analogy of a flower. Whenone looks at the flower then, they can see different aspects thatmake the flower bloom. The flower can, therefore, not be a separateentity. In the same way, our lives are as a result of a number ofactions and we cannot be independent of these factors (Hanh 83). Oneought to be in touch with all aspects of life, such as interbeing andnonself.

Hanhgoes further to show how the human race has destroyed mother earthlike bacteria would. The human generation has to learn to leadresponsible lives and instill some bits of kindness in it. The humanrace has the capacity to protect Mother Earth. Peopleareinterconnected to Mother Earth hence when she is happy then the humanrace is happy too (Hanh 69). Each and every being is part of thegreater family of mother earth. The family is therefore to take careof each other so as to thrive.

Thetwo books seem to agree on a number of issues. The two authors seemto possess the same view on matters of environmental conservation,and the part human beings have to play. The books give the reader theunderstanding that they are both conservationists as well asdestroyers of the environment. Felix Hoenniker and his children takepart in destroying the environment by use of the ice-nine component.

Thebooks have a combined effect of helping the readers come to aconscious realization that they need their environment as much as theenvironment needs them. If the Hoenniker children had seen the impactof the ice-nine on the environment, then, they would have destroyedit. If Felix had obeyed the ways of the Buddha, then, he would havetaught the children the ways of seeking peace. Frank and Newt wouldhave lead to better lives if they did experience the ways of theBuddha and the peace that on gains.


Hanh,ThichNhat. TheWorld We Have and A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology.Berkeley: Parallax, 2008. 12-110. Print.

Vonnegut,Kurt. Cat`sCradle.NewYork. Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1998. Print.