When I read an obituary I tut-tut to myself over the cause of death. "That won't happen to me. I'll stop doing [X]; I'll eat more [Y]; I'll start a regime of [Z] tomorrow" --- or so I imagine. When I pass by an accident on the roadside and spy chunks of twisted metal, I tell myself that in a crisis I would react more quickly, that I'm not driving that kind of car, that I wouldn't swerve that way on wet pavement, and so forth. The aviation magazines that I used to peruse all featured detailed post mortem analyses of air disasters, along with critiques of the "human error" that almost always contributes to fatal mishaps. Subsequent issues printed letters from pilots who explained in various ways how they would have kept their wits and avoided that problem.

It's a pleasing fancy. We all like to think that we're not subject to chance, that we won't make an irrevocable blunder under stress, and that there will always be an escape route available even in the direst of circumstances. Anything else wouldn't be fair!

But there's a tsunami of randomness in the universe, and a dearth of "Get Out of Jail Free" cards. All that we have is each other ...

(see also My Religion (6 Nov 2000), ...)

TopicLife - TopicThinking - TopicFaith - 2004-10-21

(correlates: ReligionOfTraining, DespondentStudents, IntellectualHeimlichManeuver, ...)