Friday, October 05, 2012


I have always somewhat fascinated by the Titanic. I'm not sure why. I know lots of people are. There are hundreds of books, movies and exhibits dedicated to the sinking of the unsinkable.

Perhaps it is because of the sheer arrogance of engineering challenging nature. Or perhaps it is because tragedy brings out the best and worst of human nature and peels back the facade of personalities.

Being the Captain of the Titanic is a euphemism for being doomed to failure. I'm sure Captain Edward Smith, the actual Captain of the Titanic wouldn't be pleased to go down in history as an albatross. But he was held in high esteem at the time by the sailing community for going down with his ship. It was more than the head of the White Star Line J. Bruce Ismay did. He jumped in one of the first available life boats.

The thing about the Titanic is that no one on board expected it to sink. I doubt Captain Smith thought his life would end that night. He was near the end of his career and I imagine he thought he had beat the odds and escaped the fate of many men who take to the sea.

No one probably expected to hit an ice berg that night, either. Because we all naturally assume that ice bergs are pretty big and visible and the odds of smacking into one in the middle of the Atlantic seem pretty slim.

It's a bit like life. You don't expect ice bergs. And you can't spend your life worried about them. Because if you do, you won't enjoy the cruise. You'll just be scanning the dark water wondering whether or not you should go to bed with your life vest on.

I go back and forth about whether or not life is random or everything happens for a purpose. It's a circular thought process. If everything happens for a purpose, what is it? Who decides and why? If everything is random, and shit just happens, then why does there seem to be a pattern to everything? Or is it just our brain forcing a pattern on randomness to avoid going mad and keep us from thinking that eventually, all of us hit an ice berg.

I wish I knew the answer. But then again, I'm glad I don't.

1 comment:

Helen Baggott said...

We don't go through life wondering if there's an ice berg around the corner, we can't. We know they're out there and there isn't anything we can do to avoid our own. But, as ever, it's about our journey until we get there.

So, dress warm, grab a whistle and learn how to spit.