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Showing posts from June, 2010

Weather

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Talking about the weather is one of the things that human beings are wired to do. Weather has two features that make it great as a conversational piece. First, weather is shared, not personal--we live in it together. Second, the weather is nobody's fault. It's a guilt-free topic of conversation, one of the few left.

In ancient times, almost every event was like the weather. It was seen outside of the frame of human responsibility. The gods controlled almost every aspect of life and we stumbled around here below, buffeted about by their arbitrary actions. While this way of framing the world seems perhaps naive and infantile to the contemporary mind, it was also liberating. People didn't have to choose sides. It wasn't BP's fault or Obama's fault or the Republican's fault or the media's fault. It was just fate, no guilt. The world's events--love, happiness, social harmony, war, death, sickness--were the result of complex and superhuman circumstances b…