The Titanic’s last port of call before heading across the Atlantic was in Queensland, Ireland, where it took on a few more passengers and various supplies, including ice. The passengers and crew were confident that their historic maiden voyage was one for the history books. Many of those responsible for the building of the ship considered it virtually unsinkable. It was the largest and most ornate passenger ship ever to float. It’s system of locking compartments under the decks assured them of their safety. Finally, man had conquered the ocean – that vast expanse that had taken the lives of untold men and women throughout history. Just 12 years into the 20th century, this generation believed whole-heartedly they had managed to control a vital part of the planet.
I wonder, on that cold, cold night of April 14, 1912, after the iceberg was struck, if any of those who survived, or died, thought about the arrogance of that very same generation. Did they understand their foolishness? Could they fathom the irony of it all, as that proud ship broke apart and headed for the bottom of the ocean? Probably not. Survival, and the horror of what had just occurred, were uppermost on their minds at the time, I’m sure. One of the great engineering feats of man up until that time would lay broken and decrepid on the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean, until it was re-discovered in 1985, 73 years later.
Now, almost 100 years later, one has to decide whether mankind has learned any lessons from the tragic story of the Titanic. Yes, we’ve discovered the engineering mistakes made in the making of the vessel. We’ve understood the poor decisions of various crew members and their inability to accept what was happening at the time. But, have we yet learned to be humbled by the awesome power found in nature and the earth, and our own inability to predict or control it?
Today, we see the headlines proclaiming the effects of what we are calling man-made global warming. Some arrogantly proclaim that we are capable of steering the planet away from climate change by driving less, using solar energy and changing our light bulbs! Yes, many believe in error that we are in control of the planet, instead of the other way around.
Forget the forces of nature that we have no control over, like the sun and it’s spots, the winds and the tug of tides and the moon. Man is capable of changing the unchangable – nature itself. We, who are supposed to be destroying the planet, can now have the chance to save it! And, if mankind cannot as a whole be convinced of this illogical science, the data can be manipulated and changed so that we will be forced to believe it. Skeptics are scorned and rejected. Loftily, those who won’t conform are proclaimed to be ignorant and selfish. Yes, once again, those “in the know” are proclaiming that man is in control.
When will we ever learn?