Sunday, September 28, 2014

Refuse to be a goddamned animal

Great post from Angry Who Dat this week leads off with some evolutionary science about pattern recognition as a survival skill.
The argument, basically, is that if we hear rustling in the brush, and we’re scared of it, there are two possibilities: it’s a fucking tiger, or it’s not. If it’s a tiger, we’re more prepared to deal with it if we assume the rustling means danger. If it’s just wind, there is no harm in a moment of irrational fear. So we see patterns everywhere, and because there’s no evolutionary control for assuming a pattern when it doesn’t exist, we have no mechanism for toning that shit down when it’s completely unnecessary. So, sometimes, we look at a burnt tortilla and see the Buddha. Or whatever.

I actually read that a year or two ago, but I couldn’t help think about it this week. I’m afraid that as Saints fans we’ve developed a shitty little mutant version of that pattern recognition ability, in our cases a conditioned pessimism – one, not unlike the adaptation in the article, that has no natural controls.
Much like Governor Jindal, I do not claim to be an "evolutionary biologist."  But, if I understand this correctly, then the appeal to Saints fans here is even easier than the one I've been trying to make. Last week, prior to the Vikings game, I tried to appeal to our sense of drama.  How can the long story of the football season be interesting at all unless the narrative begins with a challenge? 

That seemed all well and good to me but here we have a reminder that Saints fans need not dig into their copies of The Power of Myth to understand the arc of the hero's quest or any such heady stuff.  Here we see that fans need only remember that they are, in fact, civilized human beings capable of reasoning out problems beyond just the, "Ooh what's that sound!?" phase. 

Now I fully understand that for some of us that may, in fact, be asking too much.  And, yes, I expect that in the wild, I would have been exactly the sort to get eaten by several tigers I decided were probably just the wind. But I still think we are our best selves when we aspire to be a bit more than the animals we descended from.

In other words, 1-3 sure would suck but it ain't the end of this football season.. much less the world.  Also it's not very likely either. 

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