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You Can Legitimately Blame the Heat

In the "Cult of Escapism": You Can Legitimately Blame the Heat

Monday, April 2, 2012

You Can Legitimately Blame the Heat

I once read a theory basically stating that Europeans went on to develop faster and take over the world because it is cold in Europe and hot in countries near the equator. I loved the theory because it was almost offensively simple: cold kills and to survive it requires creative adaptation. So Europeans were either freezing to death or inventing better tools, while tropical folk, in the intense heat, spent time trying to move as little as possible.

I'm now promoting that theory from Conjecture to Absolute Certainty status. The past few months have been dry and sunny and really windy. With the wind, this made for a pleasant combination. The wind has since dissipated and the result is oppressive heat. Daaaaammmnnn is it hot out. It's hot by 8am. 8am! That's not even fair. The sun rises at 6am, which means even if you wake up at dawn, you only get two hours of light and reasonable temperature before you spend every other moment fantasizing about lying face down in a pool of ice.

I can't move. After breakfast, I try to mentally rally myself to go follow up on my community projects and seven hours later, I'm still in my hammock, still sweating and still wishing I had the wherewithal to stand up. I hesitate to go pee because that requires standing and walking, which requires movement. The only thing stopping me from peeing myself is that pee is notoriously warm.

This is why God sent his only son, Air-Conditioning, to relieve us of our sinful, heat-induced lethargy.

Thing is, I get paid whether or not I sit in this hammock, so there isn't much external pressure on me to get up. Money buys food, which covers my basic necessities, which makes all other efforts, essentially, unnecessary. Looking at my yard, I can see the banana trees, without any human aid, producing yellow and green bananas. Breakfast and dinner.

Seriously though, that theory I mentioned talked about the abundance of nutrient-rich foods in tropical Africa, which were easy to gather and grew all by themselves. So if it's Africa and it's hot and you've got breakfast and dinner growing in your yard, why in hell would you expend energy to make a spear or build a better house?

Throughout my service, my American upbringing has consistently rallied against the slow pace of life and the absolute disregard for punctuality and professionalism. I mentally whip myself for not being 'productive' enough.

Lately, my inner American has tried, each day, to bust out of me and force me to do something, only to encounter a wall of lethargic heat and melt back inside. After two hours of reading in my hammock, my guilt-induced motivation will return and I will resolutely put the book down, stand up and put on a shirt in preparation for leaving the house and being 'productive.' Then I will realize how hot it is to have a shirt on, remove it and sit back down in my hammock to rest and cool off from the outburst of activity.

During the rainy season, I would sit in the same hammock and stare at the wall of rain outside of my house. There was no point in braving the rain, because no one else would be braving the rain. On those days, I would reassure my inner American that I would make up for this lack of work once we reached the dry season. Now, I tell myself that I will do all those things I intend to do once the rain is back and it's a little cooler.

Do you see a problem? I guarantee you that even with my higher education and white guilt and ingrained drive to 'be productive,' if I continued living in a tropical place without air-conditioning, I would never accomplish anything. I would definitely never build a boat, let alone a warship and if you suggested that hairy white devils were coming to conquer me, I'd probably still be in my hammock when they arrived, fantasizing about ice-baths.

In short, that theory, whatever it's called, is spot on. I don't know why it isn't more widely known. I can't even remember the name of it but I'd give it even weighting with the Theory of Gravity, in terms of truthfulness. Because, as a hairy, white, hot descendent of those cold, scrambling, innovating Europeans, I'm telling you that down here you can legitimately blame the heat.  


At April 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM , Blogger David Lee Johnson said...

environmental determinism


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