No wonder early humans lived in packs; fire is a full time job

I have been learning a lot about shame lately. If you aren’t familiar with the emotion, let me tell you that it is rather interesting. Shame is actually an evolutionary mechanism that was developed to encourage us to be pro social animals. In our distant evolutionary history humans were dedicated pack animals who relied on each other to survive. Therefore, we need an unpleasant internal sensation to keep us from acting like jerks. This is shame. I can admit, I didn’t really understand why it was so important for people to live in groups… Until we had to rely on a fireplace for warmth last week. Normally, we have a modern forced air furnace that connects to our central heating and cooling system. We utilize the inefficient heating system to keep our indoor air at a manageable degree all winter long. Without the large heating implement we would definitely not be capable of living in this cold and unpredictable climate. However, last week we had an unfortunate energy failure that made our forced air furnace useless. Suddenly, we needed an alternative form of heat in order to survive. We turned to the traditional wood burning fireplace that generally was only decorative in our household for warmth. This is the first time that I realized how difficult it is to keep a fire burning as a temperature control unit. You have to continually be supplying dry, high-quality wood to the flames in order for the fireplace heat to accumulate in the house. After two days of nursing a flame, I absolutely understood why humans had to stick together in the days before modern HVAC.


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