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What Is Batshite?

Batshite is a perspective. To be batshite is to recognize that following custom and instinct isn’t always a good idea. In fact, it’s gotten us into a lot of trouble.

Instinct urges us to fill our stomachs till they’re bursting, because our instincts were developed at a time when food was scarce. To consume enough calories, our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to eat as much as possible whenever they could. But today, instinct has given us the obesity epidemic.

Custom equates happiness with consuming, and the economy is considered healthy when people are buying lots of stuff. But studies show that shopping doesn’t lead to long-term happiness. And if we continue to consume at our current rates, there will be no environment for our economy to operate in.

These are but two examples.

Blindly following custom and instinct has brought us to the brink of civilizational collapse. The environmental crises that face us are developing fast. China and India are rapidly industrializing, and the global population is skyrocketing. The death of 40% of the world’s phytoplankton–organisms that produce 50% of the world’s oxygen–is but one symptom of our deteriorating environment and destabilizing climate.

In order to reform our lives and our civilization quickly enough to avoid catastrophe, I believe we will need to act in ways that are contrary to custom and instinct. In other words, we’re going to need to be a little batshite.

Image credit: flickr user Ndecam

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/03/2011 4:49 PM

    Scott, I tried to find a way to email you directly. I made a video that I wanted you to see. It’s a comedy video dealing with some of the themes you explore on your funny, insightful blog.
    It’s on Funny Or Die.
    Hope you like!
    –Dan

    Google Shit – watch more funny videos
  2. Curtis permalink
    12/09/2011 2:00 AM

    Way to go on the novel! I’ll be sure to get a copy, and thanks for letting me read your early drafts.

  3. arlene permalink
    03/16/2012 11:27 AM

    I am always wary of the ‘instinct’ thing. http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episode/programmed-to-be-fat.html Also, a hundred years ago, consumption was not customary. Your descriptions may be a tad simplistic.

  4. 10/30/2012 7:34 PM

    Hi Scott–not sure what your background in economics is, but this is a pretty easy-read paper that points to what I think might be a serious flaw in valuation of environmental projects by economists: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1119316
    I would value your–and your fellow bloggers–opinion(s) on this paper.

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