Quote of the Week – delineating Nature

qotw_cropped

Usually, I take a cue from some newspaper or web article citing someone or other with some profound or ridiculous comment, but it turns out we have our own profound QOTW right here at WUWT.

In the thread: What really goes on at COP16 in Cancun

steven hoffer says: 

November 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Start the burner under that smoke stack, dam that river, bridge that gap. push back the night. You might wonder why these fools are trying to let the outdoors back in, when we’ve spent our entire history trying to keep the outdoors out.

 

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57 thoughts on “Quote of the Week – delineating Nature

  1. Steven… ” Start the burner under that smoke stack, dam that river, bridge that gap. push back the night.”
    Are those your words, or am I missing out on an American writer/poet?

  2. “let the outdoors back in…”
    /sarc
    But it looks so pretty in the magazines…
    It’d be marvelous to live in harmony with Nature.

  3. @ Gene Zeien says:
    December 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm
    “let the outdoors back in…”
    /sarc
    But it looks so pretty in the magazines…
    It’d be marvelous to live in harmony with Nature.

    Nature includes modern humanity. To think otherwise is a very narrow view of nature.

  4. When I was a teenager I had this fantasy about ‘living in harmony with nature’. It gradually dawned on me that every step of our development was based on keeping nature out, or at least at bay.

  5. I don’t think they will introduce us to an alien who looks like a green clone of Obama’s brother.

  6. We were just animal fodder until we came up with our first weapon.
    Concentrating on weapons of survival (warmth, food and protection) rather than weapons of war would be a start but the need for expansion and security requires a new frontier…..not the same old frontier split in different ways.
    Hindering man’s natural creativity will only stifle his survival. Onwards and upwards as the sky is the limit, for now.

  7. Some people say the want to be one with Nature. The problem, of course, is Nature doesn’t want to be one with you. Nature wants to drown you, burn you, poison you, starve you, bury you, freeze you, crush you, and on and on.

  8. The one thing more cruel than civilization is nature!
    I’m at the top of the food chain in my native environment and I am happy to be there.

  9. I’ve worked in the forest for 20 years, and when I’m not working outside, I recreate outside. I love being outside but will never take for granted being warm, dry, fed and watered, clean, and safe from critters large and small.
    Going to a park for the day makes you appreciate nature. But working and living in the wilds for months on end gives you a healthy fear of nature. Another week here up in Slave Lake, Alberta and I’ll be homebound ready to keep the outdoors out for a while.

  10. After all of the trouble humans have gone to in developing the largest frontal lobe and cortex, which requires our high energy modern diet to sustain, now scientists and policy makers tell us to give up the grains and meats to save the planet.
    So if we’re so smart, we’ll go back to foraging fruit and drinking Fairtrade shade grown coffee.
    Oh wait

  11. In African climates you don’t need much more than your basic hut. Keeping the outdoors out started in earnest when we expanded out of Africa into harsher climates.
    So we’ve really spent most of our time devising ways of getting away from each other and keeping others out of our claimed space. If all I had to worry about was pests and the elements then my house would be a lot simpler.

  12. PaulH says:
    December 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm
    Some people say the want to be one with Nature. The problem, of course, is Nature doesn’t want to be one with you. Nature wants to drown you, burn you, poison you, starve you, bury you, freeze you, crush you, and on and on.

    Eric Hoffer, in one of his lesser-known books, says the same.

  13. Much to recommend here but I think “Hug a Polar Bear Tv “would be a great way to watch the believers become one with nature, ie well distributed through the arctic food chain. And Churchill Manitoba would have a new and interesting industry.sarc on or off??.

  14. “In African climates you don’t need much more than your basic hut. Keeping the outdoors out started in earnest when we expanded out of Africa into harsher climates.
    So we’ve really spent most of our time devising ways of getting away from each other and keeping others out of our claimed space. If all I had to worry about was pests and the elements then my house would be a lot simpler.”
    Keeping the outdoors away is more then just shelter from the elements. I would hazard to guess that habitation allowed people to sleep without being seen from predators but even this is not enough in some cases, as the predators have been known to break through straw to get children.
    Our history has been a story of survival by escaping the realities of the outdoors….. From climate, to droughts, floods, storms, predators, pests (insects), and anything else that nature throws at us.
    Humans also fight with one another, but the largest thing we fight over is a lack of something. When you make something scarse, we fight. This serves a competitive bonus as then the population is lessened, and the resource can continue to serve its purpose. Migration also serves a similar purpose.
    As much as people claim that we spend all of our time getting away from one another, most people would be happier if we all lived close together. Look at the big cities for case in point. Lots of people have never left the city other then travelling through other areas. In reality, most people are perfectly content living together as long as the supplies exist to do so.
    This is very relevant as in the future we will be fighting a war of pro-society people versus pro-nature people. The degree that this escalates really depends on what is thrown at us to be honest from corrupt leaders all the way down to what nature decides to throw at us. This is something to fight about, our ability to choose our preferred method of living.

  15. Reminds me of how we used to break our backs to fill in malarial swamps, but today we preserve them as wetlands and cry about how AGW is bringing malaria back to northern climes.

  16. steven hoffer says: … when we’ve spent our entire history trying to keep the outdoors out.
    Sweet! and very perceptive, Stephen. Nice balance of wry humour and philosophic truth and reality.
    I’ll endorse this entire comment without a quibble. Anyone can be an editor; but in this instance not me.
    A worthy QOTW; to be held as an entry in the Quote of the Year stakes.

  17. When I turned on my internet today, I found it MOST disconcerting to discover my own name located in one of the posts. Something along the lines of : “OH NO! AM I IN TROUBLE???”
    Engchamp says:
    December 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm
    “Steven… ” Start the burner under that smoke stack, dam that river, bridge that gap. push back the night.”
    Are those your words, or am I missing out on an American writer/poet?”
    those are my own words. HOWEVER, I am definatly not the first person to express a thought along those lines. I would imagine that any number of prominant figures from the 19th century could of said something similar.

  18. It was the use of fire that helped man seperate himself from animals.
    Use of fire kept us safe from predators and extended our days, giving us time to ponder and reflect, i.e. excercise the mind. As with excercising the body, excercising the mind helped develop it, hence here we are.
    Long live fire, the burning of carbon.

  19. TheTempestSpark says:
    December 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Is there really a law that forbids too many Home grown vegetables? or did someone get their watermelons mixed up.. Eeek!!

    As I understand it, effectively, yes in the USA as of 29th Nov. Could be wrong as I’ve not looked too closely. Also as I understand it Monsanto was something of a sponsor to the bill
    DaveE.

  20. @David A. Evans and TempestSpark:
    The Senate in the USA passed a ‘Farm Safety Bill’ that does some rather bad stuff and does not distinguish between a home garden and Monsanto… but it still has to pass the House and President before it can become law…
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/grow-a-tomato-go-to-prison/
    The major “risk” is that it effectively would treat home heirloom seed savers just like major businesses. Oh, and any “records” you have that the government cares to look at must be made available. And you could have site inspections. Oh, and it’s handled by Homeland Security, the folks who brought you TSA “Pat Downs”… so when they get tired of patting your “melons” they can come “pat your tomatoes”…
    I hope it dies on the vine 😉

  21. steven hoffer says:
    December 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    those are my own words. HOWEVER, I am definatly not the first person to express a thought along those lines. I would imagine that any number of prominant figures from the 19th century could of said something similar.

    1st. It’s definitely
    2nd Could of is could’ve or could have
    3rd I’m just pissed off that I didn’t think of the statement that made QOTW
    DaveE.

  22. Australia is a rather benign wilderness compared with the US and many other parts of the world but 60 years ago an aboriginal in the far west said to me that the best things he ever got from a white man was a shirt and a swag [blanket roll].
    As a naked man sleeping on the ground he had to coat himself with a wood ash paste to keep parasites and cold at bay.

  23. David A. Evans;
    3rd I’m just pissed off that I didn’t think of the statement that made QOTW>>
    You? How do you think I feel? Dozens, perhaps hundreds of posts that I’ve written on this blog and my bratt kid who can’t even spell tosses off the QOTW and then worries about getting in trouble. Oh wait. I can’t spell either. Probably inherited that from me. Loud mouth snert… me again.
    Proud of ya kid. Learned to think for yourself, and have the guts to say it too. Nicely worded.

  24. Ya, but guys… Nature may be a cruel mistress, but she also evolved us, births us, feeds us, and provides us with all the nifty things we need to make almost whatever we want. Including spaceships, submarines, skyscrapers, and this handy little thing we call the internet and access thru our handy little computers. All this when its not killing us. {VBG}
    So I’ll take nature over no nature. Without it, where would we be? (hint, we wouldn’t exist at all).

  25. I want to say thanks to Anthony, for picking my quote for the QOTW.
    … and to dad and the other posters who liked it, and also those who critiqued my spelling and grammar, even though you will never convince me to change 😛

  26. R. de Haan said on December 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm:

    I don’t think they will introduce us to an alien who looks like a green clone of Obama’s brother.

    Say what?
    Well, you can finally get something green, natural, and Obama, namely the Obama Chia Pet Planter. Yes, now anyone can have the joy of making the first black American president grow a green afro. Amazon has it, for some reason it’s in the “Health & Personal Care” department, maybe because the greenery will produce healthy oxygen but also maybe because it’ll make people laugh and relax. As seen in the listing, it comes in two facial poses, Determined and Inhaling.
    It may also be made by aliens. The US government will neither confirm nor deny this at this time, of course.

  27. Well, Steven Hoffer, you might well have been in trouble had Anthony Watts not left out that part about a “hobo”. Not every people living in the gutter do so by choice.
    I know at least one person, a friend who ended up a “hobo”. He was a law student and one of the most intelligent guys I met in my life. I was absolutely certain that this brilliant and exceptionally mature 19 year-old was destined to become a powerful public figure in the future. By the age of 22 he had developed the full spectrum of mental disorders finding himself in and out of mental institutions. When I saw him again at 26 years of age, he was homeless sleeping in the streets and barely recognisable.
    So, if you can’t spare a dime, spare a thought.

  28. I wonder if Steven Hoffer would like to travel up to ANWR during summer wearing no more than shorts and a t-shirt. He might be advised that mosquitoes extract 1 pint of blood out of cariboues in one day. That’s why we can’t extract oil there because these are ‘delicate’ animals. In fact some of these animals literally go nuts because there’s no way to escape the onslaught of the mosquitoes. Having worked on a farm in the great outdoors I can be sympathetic having had a back covered with welts that I dare not scratch. And in my current state, with a progressive & terminal respiratory condition he will tear that AC out of my cold dead hands.

  29. re post by sHx says: December 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm
    FWIW, I didn’t see the original quote with hobo in it. It used to be, at least in the USA, that a hobo referred to a migrant worker, or sometimes a person who traveled from town to town without a permanent job or home but who was willing, able, and wanted to work to support themselves as they traveled. It was a common term in the Depression. Hobo’s weren’t the same as a ‘tramp’ which referred to vagabonds or those who traveled but weren’t willing to work. Street people or the homeless or bums are terms we’re all familiar with, and I gather unfortunately all too often mental illness is involved (well, maybe not for homeless people which may be a temporary poverty issue, but the term is often used to refer to those living on the streets by choice too). I gather from a quick check online that these terms have become a little more interchangeable recently, but hobo is still primarily associated with migrant workers.

  30. “If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong”

    Royal sociesty christmas lecture – saw it last night, seems Professor Brian Cox doesn’t quite get it.

  31. The full original post in “What really goes on at COP16 in Cancun” which produced the quote is somewhat grittier than the extract, but worth reading to add colour to David’s boy, Steven. And the quote stands in my mind as a classic.

    steven hoffer says: (November 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm)
        I am a Canadian welder. I swear too much, I drink too much, and the food I eat is not good for me. I dont give money to hobos on the street because I know how hard I worked for that dollar.
        that goof handing out those awards has never done an honest day’s work in his life, (just look at him) and neither have those flag carrying “dancers”.
        to see these hobos presume to lecture the rest of us on how to live is just insulting.
        Start the burner under that smoke stack, dam that river, bridge that gap. push back the night. You might wonder why these fools are trying to let the outdoors back in, when we’ve spent our entire history trying to keep the outdoors out.

  32. Re- “Start the burner under that smoke stack, dam that river, bridge that gap. push back the night. You might wonder why these fools are trying to let the outdoors back in, when we’ve spent our entire history trying to keep the outdoors out.”
    _____________
    First Letter Code = Stbutss, dtr, btg. Ymwwtfattltobi, wwvsoehttktoo.
    Decoded Message = Big O to sponsor WUWT. Grant 20 years $1,210,000,000.00
    I think he works for come Big Oil Company who wants to sponsor WUWT with a $1.21B grant over the next 20 years. But I’m a little rusty on DickTracyCode, and it may be $1.21B per year for 20 years, and it may just be a bunch of stupid letters.

  33. I’ve always loved the outdoors, as an avid camper/backpacker in Northern CA and as a surfer in Southern CA & HI.
    My view has always been that Nature/Universe was somehow predatory at its core, in a fundemental and benevolent way. I agree with the above post (paraphrased)that ‘we wouldn’t be what/who/where we are’ if it wasn’t.
    Good thing too, if these green-eco (greco’s?) yahhoo’s, that Steve refers to in his most excellent quote, had landed at Plymouth we wouldn’t have made it past Boston.

  34. Ooops: last sentence, 2nd para strike the second ‘wouldn’t’. Mod help please? Back to the java…
    [I did help. 🙂 …bl57~mod]

  35. The reasons why are quite simple actually.
    Some of these people are just wack jobs. There is always a certain number of these types attracted to any lunacy but these are just the fringe. As for the so called scientists, I think we all can see their motivation.
    Whenever someone does not have to worry about the day to tribulations of existence i.e. food, water, shelter, they must find something else to keep them occupied. For most of us this is not so much of an issue, we are preoccupied with earning a living and paying the mortgage. There is a group of people in this country however for whom this is not true. These people need things to keep them occupied. For many of these people, that means saving the rest of us from ourselves.
    Many of the idle rich harbor feelings of self loathing. They feel guilty for having what they have while so many others struggle to get by and some actually starve. Which is not to say that they don’t feel they deserve their wealth, they do. They just feel bad that everyone else has less while they have more than they truly need. Since most of these people tend to hold themselves in high regard, these feelings tend to turn to misanthropy. Not a specific dislike of any individual in particular but the belief that mankind in general is inherently bad and by extension any thing that mankind does. These are not attitudes that are derived by any deep thought on their part, rather they are just feelings, emotions that only exist on the edge of their awareness.
    The list of these people is long. Great sums of wealth are not required. The range in incomes of these people varies greatly. It is not the amount that is important rather how what they have makes them feel. Some people are quite content with a small house in the suburbs while for others it takes billions. The important factors are that you don’t have to live hand to mouth and you feel you have more than you need.
    Now all they need is a cause. What better cause could they find than that of saving the world from destruction by protecting it from the evils of mankind.
    And there you have it, the birth of environmentalism. Essentially just a mental disorder.

  36. What’s up with my missus? I always knew her as having a poetic streak, but today she came right down to Earth while we were discussing all those attempts to keep human progress at bay and letting Nature rule. She said,

    People used to eat in the house and crap outside. Progress is that now they eat out and crap in the house.

  37. It’d be marvelous to live in harmony with Nature.
    Never in Earth’s history mankind has been in harmony with Nature. Nature has been trying to destroy any living species on Earth since eons ago. It succeeded many times. But it looks as mankind has managed to dodge nature’s efforts and it is slowly winning the game.
    Nature last trick will be converting the Sun into a red dwarf. But who cares? “After me, the deluge.” 🙂

  38. Here’s one that tickled:
    “We don’t burn fossil fuels just to annoy Al Gore”
    Bjorn Lomborg on ‘The Climate Connection’, BBC World Service, Fri 3 Dec ’10, commenting on the prosperity carbon has brought us.

  39. I am proud of the Hoffer’s and their ability to put succinctly what I have been saying on this site for many years. We cannot go forward by going backwards. Many long time readers of WUWT? will know that I have spent eons in the bush ( and feared for my life on more than one occasion). I love the outdoors more than anyone ( more than any “greenpeacer” I have met, and whom I’ve found wanting in the survival instinct department). When you can hear the pack of wolves howling as they make a wide circle around your camp, sleeping becomes somewhat difficult. It is quite exhilarating to be in this predicament, although having to do this for the rest of ones life is less appealing (slight understatement). If civilization were to crumble, most would not survive. Let’s keep the outdoors out. Thank you Steven Hoffer.

  40. About the food bill (S510). They passed it, but they goofed. They included taxing provisions in it, and this is prohibited for Senate-originated bills. Only the House may do that. So it all has to be done over, starting in the House. And there’s not enough time or will in the lame-duck session.
    So it’s pretty much a dead letter.

  41. @steven hoffer:
    Well-said, sir, well-said. From your comment, you are a welder, which is a noble trade that is vital to our civilization. I’m an engineer and know only too well how important welding is.
    As I read your quote, the Norman Rockwell image at the link below came to mind. The man who is standing appears to be a tradesman based upon his clothes, and he also appears to be confident and has an air of competence about him.
    The faces of the men looking up at him show admiration and interest in what he’s saying.
    Mr. Hoffer, my hat is off to you, sir. Well done!
    http://www.artchive.com/artchive/R/rockwell/rockwell_speech.jpg.html

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