Wednesday, February 5, 2014

#36 / You Don't Have To Be A Weatherman

Mark Twain is often credited with saying "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it," and while it is not clear that it was actually Mark Twain who made that sage observation, he certainly could have or should have. 

That humorous comment about nobody actually "doing anything" about the weather reminds me of another comment, this one from Karl Marx: "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

As it turns out, human activities may well be responsible for "doing something" about the weather, though not in any very effective way, as far as making the weather respond to human needs. If we could do that, California wouldn't be facing the worst drought in recorded history. We are still only "talking about" the weather, in any practical sense, so the biting humor of the quote attributed to Twain remains. Its satiric point may even be amplified in this time of global warming and global climate change, which most associate with human activity. If we are "doing anything" about the weather, we are only making our problems worse.

As for the quote from Karl Marx, he is speaking not of the world of Nature, which may be affected by our human actions, but which is not truly susceptible to our command. Marx is talking about the social, political and economic world that is created by human action, and if nobody is "doing anything" about the problems we identify in that world, there really isn't any excuse. 

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