A S’Mation of What it Means to be Human
2nd place in Derby #165: The Scientific Method, with 1135 votes!
What a strange creature is man! His language, culture, and faculties of reason are unmatched among his fellow beasts!
If we had to choose one example phenomenon from all of human culture that exemplifies the difference between us and every other species on the planet, we pick either math, or the s’more. Or even better: A mathematical phrase expressing the recipe for s’mores.
Math is the language of nature, made abstract. No other animals do math, except in the most basic way, like when chimps share food more or less equally, or when spiders spin webs geometrically. And that’s cool and everything, but try to get a spider to do your algebra homework, go ahead, we dare you, try. You’ll flunk for shizzle.
And what better indication is there of man’s progress from unthinking brute to self-aware being than the s’more? The first hominid who roasted mammoth meat over a fire could not possibly have known he was cutting a trail through the wilderness of destiny—a trail that would eventually lead the Egyptians (or whoever) to cultivate the marshmallow, and the Olmecs (or whoever) to cultivate the cacao bean.
Finally, in the early 19th century, some dude put cinnamon on a digestive biscuit, and mankind’s promise was fulfilled! Ours was the species which combined graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow into history’s most delectable dessert! Science and culture had given us what strength, ferocity and longevity could never deliver to the lesser beasts, not in a billion generations!
Suck it, platypuses! How you like us now, grosbeaks? In your faces, sea cucumbers! If you even have faces!
Yeah, it’s pretty cool up here at the top of the bell curve of evolutionary complexity.
Sure, our self-awareness exposes us to existential angst that coyotes and muskellunge don’t have to deal with, but in return we DEFINITELY get the best snacks.
Wear this shirt: around the campfire while you prepare the high-calorie foods you’ll need if you expect to have any chance of making it out of the forest alive.
Don’t wear this shirt: TOO close to the campfire. If the threads start to turn a little brown, back off. Once you get blue flames, you know you’re way too close.
This shirt tells the world: “Please, sir,” in a stagey English accent, and greedily extends its grubby hands.
We call this color: Squishy Sticky White Molten Goo
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