Rain, in terms of its image it is most definitely doom and gloom, this can be seen all across popular culture though perhaps most prominently in the world of film, or rather whenever a character is sad most often it is raining.
But this is a rather interesting paradox because here is the thing, without rain the forests could not grow and nor could our crops meaning without rain there would be no plant life and so no food, also without rain the rivers could not flow meaning reservoirs could not be filled meaning without rain we along with all other land dwelling creatures would have no fresh water to drink, meaning without rain there could be no life on Earth bar that which existed within the oceans.
That means without rain we would not exist, meaning we along with all other land dwelling freshwater based creatures on Earth have rain to thank for our existence. And yet in this truth reveals one of the greatest ironies of mankind, and that is how often we throughout history see the very things that give us life and without which we would not be alive, as hindrances. Yet at the same time have seemingly valid reasons for doing so.
For example, find a person in a place where it frequently rains who is happy about the fact that it is raining and you will be lucky, and for good reason. People like sunshine because sunshine is warm and makes the world a very welcoming place, rain on the other hand blocks out the sunshine and has a bad habit of making the world a very uninviting place that traps people indoors. Which is perhaps behind its image issue, but it doesn’t change the reality that rain just like sunshine is equally important to us. And we are all happy to accept this, except when it’s raining in the place we live and that rain is stopping us from doing what it is we want to do.
And in this is the great lesson we can learn from rain. However, before going on as this is a part of the Equations Of Life Series, as always I begin with an equation:
Innovation that improves people’s lives + words = change
With that said, let’s get back to it. Basically the world is full of paradoxes, notions that seem absurd at first but when actually thought about turn out to be valid. For example, it seems to absolutely absurd to not like rain considering that rain is so unbelievably important to all of us, yet at the same time under a different context rain disrupts people’s lives.
For example, yes it gives us all freshwater to drink, but as said it also traps people indoors, and not just that it also creates floods and landslides. What this means is if a person tries to sell a notion to another person that they should embrace rain because it’s the reason we are alive and yet that rain is hindering their life, even if it is just by trapping them inside, they are not likely to suddenly change their mind and start worshipping rain.
And this is the great lesson we can learn, take climate change, you don’t defeat climate change by telling people to stop using cars or to stop going on holidays abroad, in fact you could try saying to a person you are destroying the world by driving your car to work, but if the journey to work is a forty-five minute drive and the weather is normally rubbish, you’re not likely to get a positive response, same as if you tell a person who loves beach holidays and yet lives in a cold country that they need to stop going abroad because they are destroying the world, you are not likely to get a positive response.
And that’s because the car has been sold to the person who uses it to make that forty-five minute journey to work in rubbish weather as a tool to get to work faster and in greater comfort. That means the only way to get that person to change is to provide them with an alternative which gives them the same result.
And in that reality is the example of what we can learn from the paradox of rain. Innovation changes the world, and nothing else. To explain, as said the idea that rain is the harbinger of life and without it we would all die is not likely to make people suddenly start loving the rain, but building people shelters so they can take cover from the rain will make them more tolerant and accepting of it. Building river defences to protect from flooding is going to make people more tolerant of it.
And this reality translates to everything, for example as said telling a person that by driving their car and going on holidays abroad they are destroying the world is not likely to get them to stop driving their car and going on holidays abroad, but telling them that if they drive electric cars or ride their bikes to work they can lower their footprint they may listen. But only if electric cars become viable and are as easy to use and manage as petrol cars, and only if they can get to work on a bike in a way that does not hinder them.
And notice the common trend here, words alone are worthless, but words added to innovation, specifically innovation that provides a solution to a problem, become the most powerful weapons on Earth. And this can be seen by looking back at history, words without innovation brought about zero change yet words added to innovation created the world in which we live.
For example, take the female sexual revolution, could it ever have happened without the invention of contraception? And take the modern day sexual revolution which includes things like oral sex, could that revolution ever have happened without the innovations which led to the addition of a water tap in every home, and the immense improvements in personal hygiene which came with it?
And then think about women in the workplace, imagine two hundred years ago arguing that women belong in the workplace and not the kitchen, the women of the time would be the ones telling you where to stick it and for very good reason. And yet thanks to the innovation of the last couple of centuries, innovations like those which led to a change in the nature of the labour markets from hard labour to soft labour, innovations like those which led to the movement of people from rural communities into cities, innovations like those which led to the vast improvements in policing which created a much safer environment for everyone to live in, innovations like those in healthcare which allowed women to have children much later in life allowing them stay in education for longer.
All those innovations and much much more have created a world in which the women of today would tell a person who told them that their place is in the kitchen where to stick it. And on the flipside the men of the world would tell people who told them that their place was in the office and not at home with the children would also tell people where to stick it, whereas in the past they would not have. That means that not only have women been allowed into the workplace, men have been allowed to be proper fathers.
Without these innovations women would not only still be in the kitchen but despite what anybody argued to the contrary the vast majority would choose to stay in the kitchen, and men despite what anybody argued would not only agree but would agree that their place was not at home but out in the workforce. And the women would agree with them.
What that means is words did not spark the female revolution, nor did it spark the little talked about male revolution which freed men to be fathers, innovation did. And without that innovation the words would have fallen on nothing but deaf ears.
And then think about democracy, could there ever be true democracy without a free and widely accessible national press, and could there ever be a truly free and widely accessible national press without the invention of railways which allowed people to move around the country swiftly, and then still could there ever have been a truly free and widely accessible national press without the invention of printing presses which allowed the mass production of newspapers?
And notice the common trend here, logic says women as part of the workforce would be greatly beneficial for society it also says that men being more involved in raising the children is massively beneficial for the children it also says that democracy would be greatly beneficial for everyone. But the environment in which people lived in two centuries back simply made it impossible for women to be part of the workforce same as it made it impossible to have a viable democracy. And no matter how much you argued otherwise back then and for thousands of years before that you had no hope of making anyone believe otherwise.
Innovation changed that. Words sold the innovation, but without the innovation the words were worthless. Another example, take the previously mentioned sexual revolution, women being raised to not like sex benefited no one, women being raised to not see sex as pleasurable benefited no one, for example a point not often considered when talking about female sexual suppression, a woman who likes sex will seek out sex a lot more, meaning for example a man with a nonsexually oppressed woman will get a lot more sex than a man with a sexually oppressed woman. Meaning to a man who wants sex sexually oppressing women is extremely counter-productive.
Yet, take away contraceptive and sex to a woman equals a high probability of pregnancy meaning sex for a woman without contraception exists primarily for making babies, and the same goes for a man having sex with a woman, sex primarily exists to make babies. Meaning sex without contraception for both men and women exists primarily for making babies. And people could argue that you don’t need to have contraception to have fun sex, for example oral sex and there is always the so called as it has been proclaimed “pullout” even if it is higher risk.
But consider this, if we takeaway all the innovations that have led to the massive improvements in personal hygiene, then not only do both oral sex and the “pullout” become unviable, but even self pleasuring becomes unviable. To explain, imagine giving oral sex to a person who does not use toilet paper and that hasn’t had a bath in over a month, imagine giving oral sex to a person when even when they had that bath over a month ago it was in lukewarm water and they did not use soap because they didn’t have any. And consider this, in the modern world people still say don’t put your hands down there, and that comes from our past where touching a person’s genitals even your own then putting your hands in your mouth carried an extraordinarily high risk of making you extremely ill.
And consider this further, if you have sex how do you clean up afterwards when you don’t have access to running water or cleaning products? If you self pleasure how do you clean up afterwards without access to running water or cleaning products? This reality is arguably why sexual oppression became so much worse in the Victorian society, out in the rural communities it was easier to maintain an at least half decent mediaeval level of hygiene, but the move to cities and the explosion in population size that came with it made for the worst hygiene standards in human history.
Considering all this, it is easy to understand why any efforts to sell the sexual revolution to a world without contraception and without extremely high standards of personal hygiene would fall on deaf ears.
But the question is what does all this have to do with rain? Well to explain one of the most common misconceptions of the modern world is that words have the power to bring about change, they don’t, without innovation words get you nowhere. That means words are only useful when added to innovation and that’s because only innovation has the power to make people change. And that’s because things are the way they are for a reason and that’s because they provide people with the best available means to live the best available life they are able to. And just like nobody can make a person who lives in a place where it frequently rains happy about the fact that it rains even though rain is what gives them life, nothing can make a person change the way they live other than innovation.
For example, what created the first world? Electricity, and what allowed us to create electricity, fossil fuels, therefore fossil fuels and the discovery that they can be used to make electricity created the first world in which we all in the West live, but the fact that fossil fuels in reality are and have always been both scarce and finite means it also created the second world and the third world. Yet tell a person in the first world to sacrifice their present way of life and share their scarce energy resources with the rest of the world, and you will hit a brick wall. Yet tell a person that through the result of innovation they can keep what they have while improving the lives of those in the second and third worlds and you will be onto a winner.
And that’s what the paradox of rain teaches us, words alone don’t change the world and never will, virtues alone don’t change the world and never will, common sense alone does not change the world and never will, the proof of that is as said people’s perception of rain, no matter what people who live in a country where frequently rains will always see rain as a hindrance. And no matter how hard you try to sell a person that they should worship rain because rain is the harbinger of life if that rain hinders their life they are never going to worship rain. They will only worship and cherish it if they don’t have it and need it.
Meaning the only way to get people to change is and has always been, to provide a solution which allows them to change for the better without having to hinder their present way of living, or better yet allows them to change for the better by improving their present way of living. That means if you want to change the world, the only way to do it is to innovate, because without innovation no matter the logic of what it is you are selling, even if it is ensuring the future of the planet, even if it is a world with much more sex, even if it is worshipping the very thing that gives you life, people simply will not buy it. And the proof of that is the paradox of rain.
That’s all from me for today, stay safe!