I am a Cat (Chapter 5 a) Section 146 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

しかしねこ立場たちばから同一どういつ事実じじつがかえってかみ無能力むのうりょく証明しょうめいしているとも解釈かいしゃく出来でき。もし全然ぜんぜん無能むのうでなくとも人間にんげん以上いじょう能力のうりょくけっしてないものであると断定だんてい出来できだろうとおも。神が人間のかずだけそれだけおおくのかお製造せいぞうしたと云うが、当初とうしょから胸中きょうちゅう成算せいさんがあってかほど変化へんかしめしたものか、またはねこ杓子しゃくしおな顔につくろうと思ってやりかけてが、とうていうまかなくて出来できのも出来るのもつくそこねてこの乱雑らんざつ状態じょうたいおちいったものか、わからんではないか。彼等かれら顔面がんめん構造こうぞうは神の成功せいこう紀念きねんらるる同時どうじ失敗しっぱい痕迹こんせきともはんぜらるるではないか。全能ぜんのうとも云えようが、無能とひょうしたってつかはない。彼等人間の平面へいめんうえふたならんでいるので左右さゆう一時いちじこと出来できから事物じぶつ半面はんめんだけしか視線内しせんない這入はいらんのはどく次第しだいである。立場をえて見ればこのくらい単純たんじゅん事実は彼等の社会しゃかい日夜にちや間断かんだんなくおこりつつあるのだが、本人ほんにんのぼがって、神にまれているからさとりようがない。製作せいさくうえ変化をあらわすのが困難こんなんであるならば、その上に徹頭徹尾てっとうてつび模傚もこうしめのも同様どうよう困難である。ラファエル寸分すんぶんたがわぬ聖母せいぼぞう二枚にまいかけと注文ちゅうもんするのは、全然似寄によらぬマドンナ双幅そうふく見せろとせまおなじく、ラファエルにとっては迷惑めいわくであろう、いや同じものを二枚かくほうがかえって困難かもれぬ弘法こうぼう大師だいしむかって昨日きのういたとお筆法りっぽう空海くうかいねがいますと云う方がまるで書体しょたいを換えてと注文されるよりもくるしいかも分らん。人間のもちうる国語こくごは全然模傚もこう主義しゅぎ伝習でんしゅうするものである。彼等人間がははから、乳母うばから、他人たにんから実用上じつようじょう言語げんごならときには、ただいた通りをかえよりほかに毛頭もうとう野心やしんはないのである。出来るだけの能力でひと真似まねをするのである。かように人真似から成立せいりつする国語が十年じゅうねん二十年にじゅうねんうち、発音はつおん自然しぜん変化をしょうじてくるのは、彼等に完全かんぜんなる模傚の能力がないと云う事を証明している。純粋じゅんすい模傚はかくのごとく至難しなんものである。したがって神が彼等人間を区別くべつ出来できよう、悉皆しっかい焼印やきいんかめのごとくつくならばますます神の全能を表明ひょうめいもので、同時に今日こんにちのごとく勝手かって次第しだい顔を天日てんぴらさしてまぐるしきまでに変化を生ぜしめたのはかえってその無能力を推知すいちともなりのである。

Rough translation

However, from the vantage of a cat, the same facts can be viewed, conversely, as proof of God's incompetence. If God is not utterly incompetent, then certainly, I'm inclined to conclude, He's no more competent than man. Men credit God with creating as many faces as there are men, but was such variation, from the outset, part of the plan? Or was the intent that every man have the same face, and try as He might, face after face, the operation faltered into disarray? It's not clear. The construction of men's faces may be seen as testimony to God's success, but can it not also be regarded as the vestiges of God's failure? It can just as readily be assessed as omnipotence or impotence. Regrettably for humans, their eyes lie together on a single flat surface. They can't look left and right at the same time, so they only ever see half of the world. It could even be said that, as they stand in self-conceited awe of their Creator, they're blind to this simple truth of their everyday existence. While diversity of creation may be challenging, exhaustive replication is harder still. If commissioned to paint two identical portraits of the Madonna, Raphael would struggle just as much as if he were asked to produce two entirely dissimilar works. In fact, he would likely struggle more with the replication. If you tasked Kōbō-Daishi with writing the characters for "kūkai" today with the same brushwork he applied the day prior, he might well find it more arduous than if tasked with originating a unique script. Human language is learned by imitation. To acquire the words they use, humans do nothing more than repeat the sounds of those around them, be they mothers or nurses. They imitate as best they can. The pronunciation of their words, passed down through imitation in this manner, will naturally exhibit changes over the course of ten or twenty years. Flawless imitation, it's clear to see, is beyond their capabilties. Pure imitation is most demanding. Accordingly, indistinguishable humans, all stamped out like porcelain dolls, would strongly suggest an omnipotent God. On the other hand, what we see before us today, a bewildering sea of varied human faces wandering under the sun, better suggests an impotent God.

Vocabulary

ねこ cat立場たちば standpoint; vantage pointう speak of; comment on同一どういつの the very same ...事実じじつ truth; reality; factかみ God無能力むのうりょく incompetence; inability証明しょうめいしている is proof of; demonstrates; substantiates解釈かいしゃく出来できる can interpret (as)全然ぜんぜん utterly; completely無能むのう impotent人間にんげん human being; person以上いじょう more than; beyond能力のうりょく ability; capabilityけっして by (no) meansもの person; personage断定だんてい出来できる can concludeおもう think; believeかず number; number ofおおくの many; numerousかお faces製造せいぞうした formed; created当初とうしょ beginning; outset胸中きょうちゅう one's heart; one's mind; one's intention成算せいさんがあって be confident in one's successかほど this much; to this extent (= これほど)変化へんか variety; variation; diversityしめした demonstrated; displayedねこ杓子しゃくしも anybody; every Tom, Dick and Harry (lit: whether cat or ladle)おなじ the sameつくろう form; createやりかけてた gave it a try; gave it a goうまかなくて not go well; not turn out well出来できる make; form; bring aboutつくそこねて fail in the making of乱雑らんざつな messy; confused; muddled状態じょうたい situation; state of affairsおちいった fell; descended (into)わからん can't tell; can't say彼等かれら they; them顔面がんめん face構造こうぞう structure; construction成功せいこう success紀念きねん commemoration of; testimonial toらるる can be seen as (= られる)同時どうじに at the same time as失敗しっぱい failure痕迹こんせき traces; vestiges; remnants (usually 痕跡こんせき)はんぜらるる can be judged (as)全能ぜんのう omnipotenceひょうした evaluated; assessed (as)つかえ hindrance; impediment eyes平面へいめん flat surfaceうえ top ofふたつ two (things)ならんで be lined up; be in a row左右さゆう left and right一時いちじに at the same time; at onceる look at; viewこと出来できん are not able to ...; cannot ...事物じぶつ things; affairs半面はんめん one side; half視線内しせんない within one's line of sight; within one's field of view這入はいらん not enterどくな pitiable; unfortunate次第しだい circumstance; state of affairsえて change; alter単純たんじゅんな simple; plain; basic社会しゃかい society日夜にちや day and night; around the clock間断かんだんなく continuously; constantlyおこりつつある is occurring; is being realized本人ほんにん the persons in questionのぼがって be self-conceited; have swollen headsまれて be overawed (by)さとりよう comprehension; realization製作せいぞう creation; productionうえに with respect to; concerning困難こんなん difficulty; hardship徹頭徹尾てっとうてつびの thorough; exhaustive模傚もこう imitation; reproduction; replicationしめす demonstrate同様どうように in the same mannerラファエル Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino; Italian painter; 1483–1520)寸分すんぶんたがわぬ without the least difference; to the inch; exactly聖母せいぼ Virgin Mary; Madonnaぞう portrait; likeness; image二枚にまい two (sheets)注文ちゅうもんする request; demand似寄によらぬ not resemble; be dissimilarマドンナ Madonna双幅そうふく pair of paintingsせまる press; urge; compelおなじく in the same way; to the same degree迷惑めいわく trouble; burdenいや no; nayもの thing; articleほう alternative (of two choices)かもれぬ it may be that ...弘法こうぼう大師だいし Kōbō-Daishi (posthumous name of Kūkai; Buddhist monk and scholar; 774–835)むかって turn (toward)昨日きのう yesterday; the day priorいた wroteとおり exactly as筆法りっぽう style of writing; calligraphy technique空海くうかい Kūkai (Buddhist monk and scholar; 774–835; referring here to the characters comprising his name)ねがいます request書体しょたい style of handwriting; calligraphic styleくるしい difficult; arduous; demandingもちうる use; make use of; apply国語こくご national language模傚もこう主義しゅぎ principle of imitation伝習でんしゅうする learn (by conveyance)はは mother乳母うば wet nurse他人たにん other people; others実用上じつようじょう of practical use言語げんご languageならう be taught; learnとき time; occasionいた heardかえす repeat毛頭もうとう (not) in the least野心やしん ambition; aspirationひと真似まね mimicry; imitation成立せいりつする come into existence; materialize十年じゅうねん二十年にじゅうねん ten or twenty yearsつ pass; elapse発音はつおん pronunciation自然しぜんと naturally; in due courseしょうじてくる produce; bring to bear完全かんぜんなる perfect; complete純粋じゅんすいの pure; genuine至難しなんな highly difficult; next to impossibleしたがって accordingly区別くべつ出来できぬ can't distinguish; can't differentiate悉皆しっかい without exception; each and every; all焼印やきいん branding iron; hot pressかめ classic female maskつくた managed to produce表明ひょうめいる can indicate; can attest to今日こんにち present day; these times; now勝手かって次第しだいな as one pleases天日てんぴ sun; sunlightらさして expose (to)まぐるしき dizziness; bewilderment推知すいちる can infer; can imagine meansなりる can be; can serve as