15-Minute Monkey

Understand this thought:

Human beings came about in foraging groups. We did not have to think more than a half-day ahead most of the time. Maybe a day. We wandered with the moments, the seasons, driven by our stomachs and skin temperature.

This is what we are at root and at base. This is why we can’t say no to things that taste good (that are bad for us), or to things that feel good (that have disastrous consequences). It’s why we can’t put down the beeping, flashing cell phone. Because we’re creatures of “now,” of immediacy. Now, give us something with a 250,000 year “danger zone,” like nuclear power – and we’ve killed ourselves.

It is not in our species to understand consequences that last more than a few minutes. We are a fifteen-minute monkey.

That’s what drives our culture – Wall Street – a fifteen minute window of chemical excitement resulting in the world being destroyed, trade by trade.

We’re a truly doomed species when we have tools that overwhelm our limited capacity to understand their use.

Plant food trees now. Plant food. Grow food.

Liam Scheff is author of Official Stories, a reverse textbook to all the fibs you were taught in school; his current project and next book is “The Oil Alarm” all about the collapse we’re just beginning to soak up, coast to coast.


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