Why We Talk About the Weather

Several weeks ago, I went off on a tangent about how boring it is to talk about the weather.

Then, recently, I heard a podcast from Lore that talked about the exact same subject. Turns out there’s a reason why we constantly talk about the weather.

Our survival depends on it.

Now, you might think that I’m being melodramatic by saying that, but it’s the truth. The weather is necessary to grow our crops. Extremes on one end of the spectrum or the other could result in destruction, which means we have no food.

The same droughts and floods that have a negative impact on our food supply can also kill us. As can ice storms, heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, and hail.

And you know what makes all of these matters so much worse? We can’t control the weather.

Oh, but we try — because look at the ego on those humans!

Our Attempts to Control the Weather


There is evidence throughout the existence of humankind about our desire to control the weather. We’ve created gods that we offered sacrifices to in the hopes of crops that produced good yields. We’ve developed rain dances for when things get too dry, and more recently, we’ve attempted to seed clouds to produce more snow or rain (mainly for entertainment purposes such as skiing, but it could also be used to help crops grow, too).

If you’ve even been in a situation where you’ve commented on the weather, perhaps said something like, “Isn’t it so nice that the wind hasn’t been blowing lately?” and then followed it up with, “Oh, I shouldn’t have said that. The wind is surely going to kick up now,” you’ve participated in the act of thinking you have control over the weather.

Should the wind happen to kick up after that, you more than likely convinced yourself that it was all because of you.

And you should feel soooo guilty about that!

JK. Do you really think the universe is listening and kicking up the wind to spite you? That’s like believing the government is listening to your conversations because they think you have something interesting to say.

Despite the fact that we have no more impact on the weather than a butterfly in Tanzania, we still believe that we do, and we structure our lives accordingly.

It makes sense, especially since our lives depend on it. But with a few exceptions (*cough* hole in the ozone, *cough* *cough* global warming), we can’t actually influence weather patterns.

A Belief Embedded in Our Cultural Memory


In this day and age, with our advancements in technology and our ability to look at a 10-day forecast on our phones, we’d like to think that we aren’t as afraid of the weather as our ancestors used to be. After all, we have better buildings for shelter, and we know how to build dams and levees to protect ourselves from rising waters.

If you could see me, you would notice that I’m raising my eyebrows and giving you a “Really?” look. Because there have been how many instances of weather killing people even within the past few months?

We are still impacted by the weather. We aren’t any closer than our ancestors in being able to figure it out — despite our technology. I mean, c’mon! How many times is the weather person actually right when it comes to predicting the weather?

And that leads to more stress and fear about the weather. It’s a belief that has been and will continue to be embedded in our cultural memory — at least until we can figure out how to colonize other planets and create domes with artificial climates.

Or at least until Earth is so destroyed we have to develop those domes down here.

I think you get my point.

I Stand by What I Said


I have to say, the Lore podcast was incredibly fascinating, and it went into depth about how us humans have been so focused on our ability to control the weather that it even impacted how we buried our dead.

We may not still believe a lot of those things now, but we still have a primal and innate fear of the weather — and we should. It can and does kill us.

Even with all of this new information, I still stand by my blog post that I think it’s boring to talk about the weather.

Now, talking about why we talk about the weather, that’s a conversation I’d be interested in having.

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Pembroke Sinclair's books on Goodreads
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