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Wisdom of puddles

2009/05/20

Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

Douglas Adams (via Museum of Idiots)

I suspect it’s a statement about unquestioned faith in a changing world, but the first time I read it I thought of climate change. We would be the puddle, at this point starting to figure out that our hole is shrinking. But really the world wasn’t meant to have us in it; we just happen to be in it. We could just as easily be intelligent mice or dolphins or that tragically falling whale. Both the puddle and the whale got caught out, in ways that really didn’t end so well for them.

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