The past couple of days, I’ve been thanking my lucky stars I don’t live in New York City. The monster storm, with its accompanying floods, is showing we mere mortals just how futile our efforts can be in the face of nature’s exercises in power.
That last phrase, “nature’s exercises in power,” is what scholars call anthropomorphism. That is the attribution of human behavior or characteristics to something that isn’t human. Like a storm, for example.
That is something we all do.
The very early spiritualists believed that humans started out as trees. Why would they think such a thing? Stand in one place, put your heels together and spread your arms out, and you will seem as much like a tree as anything. Gradually, those early spiritualists said, we grew into humans, and then one day we were chopping down trees and using them to make fires and build houses. That may have been the beginning of our downfall.
The East Coast storm came along and pushed around all the things that had been made of cut-down trees, just as a similar storm did a few years ago Louisiana.
Some people would say the big East Coast storm was a result of how people in that area had treated nature, that nature got mad and slapped them around a little to remind them who’s boss.
Others would say that’s a dumb idea, that storms are storms and you would be stupid not to build because without houses and buildings, the weather would be a lot worse on you than it was now.
Down deep, though, a lot of people may have the belief that Mother Nature occasionally gets mad and gives us one across the knuckles.
Even Mayor Bloomberg allowed as to how Nature was more powerful than he was.
That’s something to think about.