Blake Snow

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The real Lord of the Flies were friendly, loyal, and successful young men

Courtesy Columbia Pictures

Lord of the Flies by EL Epstein was one of my favorite books I read in my adolescence. It’s shocking, sad, and discouraging.

It’s also entirely made up and based on the fear-mongering belief that humans will basically eat each other when the going gets rough. Many humans often think like that in times of uncertainty—global quarantines very much included.

But “it’s time we told a different kind of story,” argues Rutger Bregman, who researched the reality of shipwrecked isolation and found that the vast majority of evidence suggests that adolescent boys would act very differently. In fact, they would largely cooperate and thrive instead of succumbing to war, murder, and anarchy.

“Readers were still skeptical,” Bregman reported, however. So he searched high and low for a real-life example of what shipwrecked boys might actually do. After sleuthing on the internet, he discovered a story of six boys from Tonga in 1965 who were shipwrecked on a Polynesian island for 15 months. He went and visited one of the survivors and heard a detailed and inspiring true story. The short of it: when the boys were finally rescued by a passing ship on September 11, 1966, a physician was “astonished by their mulled physiques” and overall health.

“The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty,” Bregman concludes. “One that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other.”

Need more proof? Look how far humanity has come over the last 2000, 200, 100, or even 10 years! If the haters, pessimists, and naysayers were actually right, we would have all died along time ago. 💪