And on the other hand...

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eclipse? Earthquake?

I felt nothing. Is it awareness, through CNN or the Internet, that makes us" notice" these disturbances in the force?  Being a moon watcher, I was all gaga over the supermoon last month,  but I pretty much ignored the eclipse because it wouldn't be visible on my little island in the middle of the Pacific. Despite people here saying they felt "agitated," my own sense at that time was lethargy.  If it hadn't been in the news, I wonder if anyone would have reported any sensations at all.

But yesterday someone was talking to me about "the earthquake," about which I knew nothing. I acted embarrassed, said, "Maybe I should follow the news more."  Now, the tsunami of last year from Japan...yes, that in fact had impact, if minimal, here, but the earthquake on the other side of the planet...I'm totally oblivious.  I had been aware of the 2008 earthquake in Chengdu, because it disrupted travel plans, but a quake in Italy a couple days ago was as remote to me in time and space as Pompeii. (Although on reflection, I realize that was a volcano, but Hawaii we're kind of sensitive to those too.  Tsunami, earthquake, volcanos, hurricanes, all natural convulsions of Mother Earth.)

My friend, the Italian quake watcher, had lived in Italy, knew the town, so understandably was concerned.  And now I certainly have a compassionate, if futile, feeling for the victims...all 17 of them, so far. If the Red Cross asks, I'll probably contribute.

But earthquakes happen, like a mattress is disturbed when your partner rolls over: maybe you wake up with snoring in your ear, maybe the covers have been yanked away. Maybe you fall out of bed.  But if it's the mattress in the apartment on the other side of the building, down a few floors...meaningless, except to say to your neighbor in the elevator, "Wow, you look like you didn't get much sleep last night."  Assuming you actually talk to your neighbors in the elevator.

The world is full of uncertainty and tragedy. And now I'm thinking of ancient folks who suddenly might be struck by an eclipse and an earthquake, maybe a storm and a volcanic eruption...all at the same time. I might try to find meaning in such things myself.   But as a modern person, does it matter if I don't know about things I can't control?

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Nobody talks in elevators, you're crazy ;)

as for the substance of your post, I agree. On an intellectual level you can feel bad about such things, but for most of us, there's little or no emotional involvement. I think this will make any reality of a "global village" rather difficult to attain. The Monkeysphere just isn't big enough; though I suppose the intellectual compassion may be enough: we can at least be civil.