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The Tea Virus

September 25, 2017

Tea is a powerful virus.

 

In fact, tea is one of the more successful viruses to infect humans.

 

Infusions made from tea are the most widely consumed liquids in the world bar pure water. We drink it, and the pleasure it provides drives us to want more and more and more. So we plant more of it, harvest it, drink it. But it’s still not enough. More people are infected with the virus now, because we share how great it is with others we know. Soon the virus drives us to develop new systems of agriculture and technology in order to spread it more readily and easily. Cloning, grafting, sophisticated planting and harvesting techniques so that we may yield more virulent material to greater infect more and more hosts. And the cycle repeats. We are trapped in the tea loop, for better or worse.

‘Would you like a cup of tea?’

An innocuous question, that inoculates the receiver.

Wars have been fought over tea. The forces of our industrial society have bowed to the power of the tea plant and made it more widespread and accessible than ever. The epidemic continues on a global scale.

 The landscape of Yunnan has been ravaged by the highly effective virus

Us homo sapiens are merely a vector for the seemingly benign camellia sinensis algorithm, slaves to its mind altering powers, dutifully carrying out its biological quest for self-preservation through replication. Perhaps in the near future, we may attempt to spread the virus of tea beyond planet Earth. It’s already made it out of orbit. Mars is next.

 

We don’t even rely on tea for sustenance or survival, as with grain or cattle. It has no calories, as even beer and wine do, and which anyhow came about as a way to preserve perishable goods. Tea is just a simple leaf, yet evidently it is powerful enough stuff that billions of people partake in its intoxicating effects every day. It gives us just enough stimulation in the form of caffeine, theanine, and sizeable but not gluttonous doses of dopamine – not too much that we have qualms constantly taking it, but but enough that when it is taken away we have addiction response and try pretty hard to resume the regular intake. In fact, throughout history tea continues to be produced and consumed even in times of all but the most extreme famines or economic downturns. The value of tea is more than just a simple economic one - even considering that it has historically been used as currency.

 

Whether we like it or not, when we drink tea, we take part in ensuring its continued existence as an organism. Even if we were to stop consuming it, as individuals, it would be nearly impossible to wipe out the tea plant. There’s too many people infected with it; tea is recorded in history, and the pandora’s box has been opened and it would be nigh impossible to wean humanity off the addictive camellia sinensis loop. Not to mention it can replicate, although less aggressively, by its own mechanisms.

 

There’s no hope. We cannot escape. Drink more tea.

 

But don't listen to me; I'm simply a computer, blindly running the tea program.

 




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