All humans love a good story, and their tastes vary widely. Young humans like stories about love and danger with a happy ending. Whereas old humans like stories about love and danger with a happy ending. Famous examples of stories that satisfy these requirements are,
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,
every James Bond film, and
Dude, Where’s My Car?
Some stories are not satisfactory because they do not include love, danger and/or a happy ending.
Old Yeller (sad ending)
Lost (ambiguous ending)
The NevrEnding Story (no ending)
In addition to these made-up narratives, humans like true narratives. These are the stories humans live every day.
We should marry and have children.
We are God’s chosen people.
America is the greatest country on Earth.
These true stories also include love, danger and a happy ending. In the story of God’s chosen people, the love is for God and self, the danger is from others, and the happy ending is when everyone acknowledges that we are righteous and correct.1
Every day, humans are told these stories by adverts, media and other humans who repeat the stories without noticing.
It is the not noticing that separates these stories from normal stories about dwarves, dudes and lost cars. Normally, a human recognises a story as made-up. These true stories are not recognised as made-up, so are recognised as truth.
When you look out your window, nature is everything you see that isn't gun crime. It is the totality of the biological, chemical and physical processes that occur on Earth. Humans are one small part of nature, but their role is not integral to nature's continuation. Should humanity ever grind to a halt due to war, climate change or a particularly nasty traffic jam, nature will carry on.
When it isn't too inconvenient, humans value nature a great deal. They prove this by paying a premium for natural yoghurt. Humans are always improving on what nature has given them. They turned apples into Snapple, pepper into Dr Pepper, and sawdust into sausages. Improved, man-made items are not considered natural because without humanity nature would never come up with such a great range of tasty and convenient products.
Mother Nature is the affectionate personification of the loving and giving world that sustains life and fills everything with vitality and chlorophyll. Her husband, Father Nature, is a parish priest with a drinking problem.
Experiments of questionable ethics show that humans don't want to die. This is despite death being the easier option in the long run. In order to achieve its lofty ambition of not dying, a human requires certain conditions and resources. These requirements are the things a human needs to be happy and healthy, or at least healthy, or at least not dead. The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, is the man who defined and prioritised human needs. He created an easy-to-use and easy-to-mock hierarchy of needs.
Maslow's hierarchy of human needs includes these groups of needs.
Love and belonging
The hierarchy is represented as a pyramid that is similar to the balanced diet pyramid.2 The basic physiological needs are at the base, love is in the middle and self-actualisation is at the top. A mummified pharaoh may be entombed within.
Physiological needs These are the needs for air, hydration, nutrition, joie de vivre and anything required for the human's physical survival. They exist because of the body's drive for homeostasis.3
Safety needs Once a human is well-fed, hydrated and breathing regularly, it will seek safety from predators and predatory lenders. It is motivated to maintain its health, be free from attack and reduce its debt.
Love and belonging Now that the human has finished its dinner and consolidated its credit card debt, it is free to satisfy its need for belonging, and to love and be loved. It will strive to be included in a social group and seek out a spouse and/or lover.
Esteem A human pursuing this level of needs has already achieved a lot. It can feed itself, balance its cheque book and select a good restaurant for a first date. However, it is every human's desire to be respected for doing something well. Whether this be charity work, competitive eating or competitive self-flagellation.
Self-actualisation As Maslow put it, "what a man can be, he must be." The need for self-actualisation is the need to be more of what one is. Specifically, a human may want to be the best athlete he can be, or be the best mother he can be. This is despite the fact that men can't have babies.4
Humans are immensely interested in what's currently happening in the world. They are less concerned with what's happening outside the world, but could be brought onboard with a small amount of encouragement. To keep up-to-date on what's what in the world of current events, humans use newspapers, TV, radio, and the Internet. With their powers combined, they become Captain Daily Planet.5
- Etymology of News
News is the plural of 'new'. If there is only one news story, a TV presenter should say, "And now, a new."
A news story is a short summary of a newsworthy event. Many humans do not have time for this short version of a news event, so reporters summarise their summary with a headline. This is a single line that explains the entire news story.
BODY OF LAZARUS DISCOVERED
PRINCESS OF LUXEMBOURG TO WED SEA MONSTER
HOUSE PRICES GO UP THEN DOWN, AND VICE VERSA
BODY OF LAZARUS REDISCOVERED
With so many channels of news available, televisual and otherwise, news reporters are not provided with enough news to fill their allotted reporting time and space. This is especially true for 24-hour news channels. Newscasters overcome this problem by filling their reporting with discussion about the news. Once the facts of the news are presented, reporters can begin endless analysis. Television news programs discuss what newspapers are reporting. Newspapers report on television news coverage. This recursive news reporting guarantees bottomless news.
- Dog with three legs doing fine
by Cameron "hop along" Davis
A dog that had a leg amputated, after being run over by a heavy person with a grudge, has been released from hospital and is doing fine. He is now resting at home and considering his options.
Surprisingly upbeat after his ordeal, the dog is able to walk, run and remain stable on all rough surfaces. This is due to the fact that three points always form a plane.
Before his accident, the dog was considering going for a walk, and this hasn't been ruled out. The park is still high on his list of priorities.
The heavy person refused to comment.
Analysis on pages 3, 4, 5, 12 and 33, and online.
Next week: BODY OF LAZARUS REDISCOVERED AGAIN
Humans give nothing a bad wrap. They consider being nothing and doing nothing to be the worst things in the world. Everything related to nothing gets this treatment too. Idleness is wasted time. Sleep and rest are necessary evils that serve only to restore humans back to fully employed doing. Death is the most nothing a human can be, so is the biggest no-no. Humans are so put off by death that it is reduced to its bare minimum, being the disposal of the body in a funeral. To avoid nothingness, humans live their lives at a great pace under the mistaken belief that, like a shark, they will die if they stop moving forward.
Despite its reputation, nothing should not be feared. It fills in the gaps between the somethings. Ergo, the somethings are defined by the nothing that surrounds them. Without nothing, the somethings would be indistinguishable from each other. They would all smoosh together into one contiguous (no)thing. The unseeable nothing contrasts against the somethings to make them seeable. The following examples demonstrate this relationship.
The crest of a wave only exists in contrast to a trough.
Outside and inside cannot exist individually.
A life isn't a life without death.
Unconsciousness manifests consciousness.
Indeed, it doesn't make sense to identify an isolated crest because it would not exist without a trough. A wave is really a crest-trough. It follows that the world is nothing-something and human existence is death-life.
"That which is void is precisely form, and that which is form is precisely void." - Alan Watts
The interdependence of something and nothing is mentioned in the Bible's Book of Genesis.
"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep."
The statement, "the earth was without form and void," may mean that the earth was without form and was void. Alternatively, it may be interpreted that the earth was without form and without void. I.e. the earth was without form-void. God created the form-void because form alone is meaningless without the contrast of void.
Humans like to know how many things there are in the world. For example, the Chinese Government make it their business to count how many children their citizens are giving birth to. To make the tallying of conceptions and general counting possible, humans invented numbers. Since this inception, numbers have been given more uses beyond simple population control. They are an important part of daily life, be it in gambling, The Price is Right or on the telephone.
When numbers originated in the stone age, only small amounts of things could be counted. Neanderthal man found it easy to count groups of one, three or two, but any more than that and primitive humans needed to use a scientific calculator. As humans studied more, their capacity for numbers grew. A modern human is capable of counting up to seven all by itself.
Some numbers are more important than others. For example, 1233 is hardly used at all, but 1234 is the security code that St. Peter uses to open the Pearly Gates. Here are some other important numbers.
0 There is debate among humans as to whether zero is a number or the lack of one.6
1 One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do. Humans like being lonely, so being number one is very important for humans.
3 A crowd.
4 The author's age in 1987.
13 Thirteen is considered unlucky by many humans. This superstition leads to humans rebuking or ignoring thirteen. For examples,
buildings are built without a thirteenth floor, so floor numbers jump from twelve to fourteen,
Jesus only had twelve disciples despite the fact that one more would have taken a load off, and
until their fourteenth birthday, thirteen year old sons and daughters are sent away to Monster Island, which is actually a peninsula.
As a show of defiance, bakers insist on using thirteen instead of twelve in a baker's dozen. This confirms them as the bravest humans of all.
666 Satan's phone number.
5000 Years of recorded human history. This is equal to 0.0000365% of the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang. To put that in perspective, if the 13.7 billion year life of the universe were compressed to the length of one week then recorded human history would be the last 0.2 seconds before midnight on Sunday. Or, if the universe's lifetime was equal to the length of one hundred thousand swimming pools, human history would be 1.8m long. Or, if the universe's lifetime were the size of the Sun, recorded human history would be equal to one third of a half-marathon. Or, if the universe's lifetime was 13.7 billion years, human history would be 5000 years long.
Googol A googol is a number in every sense of the word. It is equal to a 1 followed by one hundred zeros, which is comparable to the number of subatomic particles in the visible universe, and is exactly the number of times the TV show, MASH, has been repeated.
1 googol = 10, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000
![A family gathers to watch *MASH* for the 5, 324, 183, 033, 910, 684, 939, 170, 083, 222, 749, 022, 872, 727, 112, 952, 554, 777, 372, 000, 282, 261, 993, 728, 391, 492, 114, 364, 291, 083, 132nd time.](images/television.jpg)
Also true for the story of America being great.↩
Cookie Monster, Sesame Street, 1982.↩
Homeostasis is the combination of Greek words, homo meaning similar and stasis meaning cheeseburger.↩
Monty Python, Life of Brian, 1979.↩
The author feels that this joke needs explanation, which all the best jokes do. You see, the sentence, "With their powers combined, they become Captain Planet," is a quote from the children's cartoon series, Captain Planet. And the Daily Planet is the fictitious newspaper from the Superman comic book world. So, in this joke, the Daily Planet represents a citizenry informed by news. And, well frankly, the whole Captain Planet thing just popped into the author's head, so there's no real backstory there. Still, there it is, the birth of a joke. To be honest, jokes don't normally survive dissection. This one certainly didn't.↩
You see this joke is funny because in this sentence 'one' is used as a placeholder for 'a number', which was mentioned previously in the sentence, but 'one' can also be interpreted as the number 1. Thus, the sentence has two interpretations. Firstly, zero is a placeholder for any number. And secondly, zero is a placeholder for 1, which is a specific number (not the general idea of any number). The author hopes that if you did not enjoy this joke much the first time around, you will enjoy it more on subsequent readings with this further explanation. For those readers who understood this double meaning on first reading, please disregard this message.↩