Winter is biting in the Northern hemisphere. We’re supposed to be having our hottest time of year, but it is decidedly chilly here. Humans don’t deal too well with just surviving the extremes of temperature, particularly cold, being poorly equipped with fur or blubber (yes, there are exceptions. No need to point and laugh at me. Personally, I am not sure that the descent from the trees was such a good idea).
But yet humans do live in some of the most extreme and inhospitable places on earth (no, really I wasn’t thinking of New York City. Well, not JUST NYC.) That’s because we substantially alter our environment –even if it is next to skin that we do that. The fleas have been very appreciative of our efforts, but not as much as we have been (trust me, naked in the snow and ice is not long-term attractive, unless you’re a smurf).
Humans build. Humans change things. It’s as much part of them as hive-building is to honeybees. Yes, we may get further than modern plastic surgery into the realms of James Blish’s pantropy (changing ourselves to the environment, rather than the environment into something that suits us).
I am – as a guy who lives a lot closer to nature than most, who if cast away on remote shore would have a lot better chance than most of being fat and fairly comfortable than most first world people – always amused by the ‘back to nature’ types and the mob deriding the Western Civilization. By all means, throw the trapping of the vile white colonialists away, and live life ‘au naturel’. You will rapidly long for the joys that deplorable civilization. There have been times when other civilizations gave the people of that time a better go of it, but right now the directional flow of migrants tells you what is people really find good, rather than what is politically expedient or fashionable to claim good.
You can piss against this tide… but realistically it’s about as effective as doing that. Human have far too much genetic advantage baked in by changing their environments for any long term daydream of them not doing so. They will alter their environment, they will ‘improve’ their living space and take (whether physically or by imitation) the best they can get from who or whatever to do so). That’s humans, that’s why house reno shows, house building shows, even physical makeover shows are so popular. From the time Ugg improved the cave mouth with a few extra boulders so it was more defensible and warmer, it’s been a selective genetic advantage – maybe even more than being strong or sexually attractive. Ugg and his partner survived.
So as a writer… I usually make heroes of those who build. Often the colonist human or farmer trying to cope with a harsh world. It’s unfashionable right now (because the powers-that-be don’t and have never actually tried carving out a home and living from the bush or prairie- let alone providing the food that feeds the PTB,) but that too will change. Especially if the modern Ugg, who improved his environment (and maybe even himself) does survive an uncertain future. He’s more likely to, than the urban bureaucrat, who is little more than a parasite.
Be like Ugg. (I know. You have to get permission in triplicate these days, as I am still trying to deal with it. But perhaps this too will pass.)
That’s a picture telling me that tomorrow the weather will change, and the wind is blowing hard up there. It’ll get here soon enough.