Contributed by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
There is a story which can be used as a powerful metaphor for us humans, facing the same problem. A group of frogs placed in scalding hot water will jump right out, reacting to the high heat; but, if the same frogs are placed in a pot of cold water and then the temperature slowly raised to boiling, the frogs will stay in the pot, oblivious to the rising peril — and they would end up cooked.
Similarly, humanity has a lag in perceiving the reality of the oncoming dangers we have created. To our favor, humans are more nimble; but, not much it seems. We are more nimble especially when acting collectively prompted by enlightened leaders. The latter act as catalysts, and become crucial in mobilizing and precipitating a collective action; thus, all of us in unison can now recoil from the lethal, approaching event.
Recently, as an optimistic sign for eventually solving the rest of the dangers facing us, we managed to collectively — all 200 nations of us — declare in unison that, indeed, the atmosphere around us — which we have been using as a sewage for decades — is about to cook us, while the rising seas may drown half of us!
We are now preparing not only to collectively jump, as it were, but to reduce the heat as well. Local interests and politically-motivated denials are still dragging the rest of humanity back from the effort and delaying necessary actions. There indeed still exists the danger of being cooked to death at the end, anyway.
Our fate may be similar to that of the aforementioned group of frogs. Nevertheless, the recent gathering in Paris of leaders representing the entire planet is significant, not only for creating a plan for preventing the looming climate catastrophe; but, our rational reaction to this particular peril is a good sign as to how we may be able to collectively face the additional problems in front of us; for instance, the destruction of biodiversity, the misallocation of wealth, and the spears of old — now turned into atomic bombs. Numerous nations are poised now to throw them at the ever-changing adversary.
Indeed, the greatest peril at present is the readiness of aggressive territorial action and eagerness to make war, killing each other not only for profit and gain, but also for ideological symbols — such as, “My God is a bigger God than your God” — coupled with an inane thirst for glory and valor.
That may be the toughest problem of them all.
Copyright © 2015 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD