are you as smart as a frog?


According to legend, if you put a frog in a pan of water and slowly turn up the heat, that frog will eventually be cooked. It’s an interesting story, but in fact, people have actually run the tests and discovered that it’s simply not true. In the real world, frogs are smart enough to jump out of the pan before it gets too hot. But what about people? Are we as smart as frogs? And if we are, what would jumping look like?

It’s not altogether clear. Climate change, habitat destruction and other environmental ills are an obvious case of rising heat in our pan of water, but a substantial percentage of modern people–especially on the right–are either oblivious or in outright denial. As Naomi Klein puts it, “all the alarms in the house are going off,” but many of us would rather look the other way. So the question for our time: Are you a jumper or not?

Jumpers are people who see and understand the warming of the water, the warming of the climate, the warming of our culture, and what it means for the future. They understand the trends and they take action. The non-jumpers (the inactivists) have no sense of urgency and little interest in the fate of future generations. They are content to accept culture-as-usual, to live in the mainstream and the moment. They have no sense of revolution, revolt or activism. They’re happy to cooperate with whatever modern culture throws their way.

But what does it mean to jump? If we take the metaphor literally, it means leaping off the Earth itself, onto another planet. But this is a foolish and cynical aspiration –there is no “alternative Earth” that we can travel to, no Planet B. Or, making the jump might mean abandoning commercial culture entirely and going to live off the grid, in the bush. This might work for some, but it’s a narrow possibility that’s not really available for many, no matter how hot the water gets.

Instead, we should define the jump as the psycho-spiritual practice of leaping out of the culture that is making our planet uninhabitable. It means jumping out of imperialistic, consumeristic world view that sees nature as nothing more than a resource to be exploited. It means refusing to participate in the destruction of the future. It means staying wild and celebrating your animal heritage.

So jump. Some participation in corporate culture is inevitable, but stay awake. Keep the revolution in your heart. Jump, not by selling all your possessions and moving to the outback of Australia, but by maintaining a focused attitude of resistance and attention. Most of all, pay attention to your own inclination to fall asleep. Remember, your native neuroplasticity is always at work, helping you adapt and adjust to conditions, even those that are truly hostile to mind and body. Over time, even the most outrageous conditions begin to feel normal. But our conditions are not normal, nor are they healthy or sustainable. So stay awake. Don’t be seduced by the trappings of the modern world. Keep one foot in the Paleo and remember your wildness.

Be a jumper.

Frank Forencich