Blame it on Fire

The mariner visited his primary care physician yesterday. He is a delightful young man – bright, well organized, efficient and knowledgeable in his thoughts as a doctor should be. But he is more than that. In our brief encounter in that small examination room, we fulfill our medical obligations in short clips of Q&A. Otherwise, the mariner has found a fellow human being who thinks about things the same way as the mariner. In the same clipped, shorthand style, we toss ideas and obscure metaphors back and forth. And the doctor said the mariner does not need to have colonoscopies anymore. What more can a patient ask for?

Yesterday, of course, the conversation largely was about Donald. Donald had not become President yet but there were ominous signs on the horizon. The doctor and the mariner, in that clipped conversation mentioned above, were speculating why H. sapiens was unable to integrate with anything meaningful in a positive way – humans seemed to be their own worst enemy.

The doctor quickly blamed fire. “The one thing humans have that no other creature has is fire.” The mariner understood his theme and responded by rattling off several societal roles fire has played over the millennia. The doctor responded in short phrases contributing similar roles and metaphors that used fire as a central feature.

What was refreshing, even therapeutic, was sharing a common perception of reality: A reality seen through ideas, science, social history, nuances of religion, government and anthropology, and inquisitiveness about the future.

The examination was over and we proceeded our separate ways.

In just fifteen or twenty minutes, the doctor and the mariner had a fully understood discussion about how fire was the turning point of human evolution; fire was the Pandora’s box fostering all subsequent Pandora Boxes. Wikipedia was not needed. The ideologies, history, touchstones, all already were in place like a ready-to-bake dessert. Just eat.

– – – –

Having returned to the mariner’s own Pandora’s Box containing among other things a disingenuous electorate who definitely needs a Wikipedia but finds no use for it and a racist narcissist as President, mariner is giving thought to what color burqa he should wear. Black would imply defeat and retreat; red may suggest belligerence; white would mistakenly propose innocence. Perhaps plaid. Yes plaid – that will reflect the mariner’s attitude.

The mariner will not live long enough to see humanity get back on track. The thought occurs that, like a malformed creature amid evolution’s procession of creatures, humans were not expected to last too long anyway. Too bad humans will unravel the planet’s ecology and take it down with them. Blame it on fire.

Ancient Mariner




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