Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Human Essence: Storyteller

Although we can measure global warming of about one degree per century we are therefore responsible for future disasters if we do not stop burning fossil fuels. If you ask for clarification of this logic you are a communist, or worse, a climate denier.

The human being is separate and superior to all other known creatures by reason of the story. We are story tellers. No other creature is a story teller. Our existence is defined by our stories. The next evolutionary stage of humanity is the rational thinker, but for now our stories are themselves the reason of being. We believe anything plausible.

The Mpemba effect, racism, the preference for all things “natural”, religion, the supernatural, all of these are examples of irrational yet firmly held beliefs based on stories.

My favorite examples are food related. Some food is touted as a miracle food, like avocado or chia or quinoa. I am not disputing the fact that foods are healthier than others, nor that our health responds to our diet. But eating fish once a week or an avocado a day needs to be seen in the light of the rest of the diet. All else being equal, adding a can of tuna once a week is not going to make a difference. Even less so if that quantity of tuna is directly from the closest fishing vessel to your dining room.

The preference for all things “natural” is an especially interesting claim. Human caused “global warming” is a claim often coupled with this sort of naturalism. Hence the claim that if we were more “natural” there would be no future climate change. However, if we all got rid of Air Conditioners, clothes dryers, and drastically reduced winter heating by living closer together we could return to pre-industrial age CO2 emissions. If we removed city concrete we could stop human-caused global warming. City concrete causes more warming than CO2.