The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Brain / Mind ... Current Affairs ... Psychology ...

It’s been over 8 weeks now since the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370, the Boeing 777 that turned west from its normal south-to-north flight path from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Beijing, and diverted west then presumable south without any communications from the crew or passengers (via cell phone) as to what went wrong. Recall all the assertions that “we have probably found it”, which were soon thereafter retracted. Two days after the incident, oil slicks were spotted in the South China Sea that seemed to mark the spot. But no, military radar reviews showed that the plane headed the other way, to the Bay of Bengal.

There soon followed other various spottings of floating metal and plastic objects, debris fields and such that just must have been the result of a crash into the ocean. Then came the satellite pings and the analysis thereof, and most everyone was then sure that Flight 370 must have went down off the western coast of Australia. Underwater devices in that region soon heard signals that seemed likely to be from the homing device on the plane’s black box. Once again, the mystery was just about solved (at least as to where the plane wound up). But once again, this hot lead went cold, and many experts now doubt that those signals were from the black box.

In the first few weeks, press coverage of the Flight 370 search effort and incident analysis were almost non-stop; every new detail made the front pages. But after a month went by, we all seemed to lose interest. The world was moving on, too much other stuff was happening, and the Flight 370 search effort went to the back pages. Of course, if something definitive is ever found, it will become a headline story once again; for a little while, anyway. For now, though, we are in a Flight 370 lull.

Nonetheless, I decided to check in on Flight 370 news; this is when you really appreciate the power of the internet and the search engines in expanding our horizons. Yes, the various navies, government agencies and search experts are still hard at work searching the ocean floors for Flight 370’s remains. Luckily there is a commitment and call to duty on their part that lasts a bit longer than the attention span of we modern news consumers. I take my hat off to these people, who persevere despite all of the incredible frustrations encountered. I offer my sympathies to the families of the people who almost assuredly perished in whatever the circumstances of Flight 370s demise actually were. The long search time and continually frustrated leads obviously tempt some of them to hold on to hope, a hope that will ultimately be eviscerated. Had Flight 370 came down where some of its passengers could have survived, we would surely know by now.

For now, all of us who still are interested can only stay humble and admit that there is “no satisfaction” right now; we may not have our sub-consciously driven quest to know, our desire for a world that makes sense satisfied, for a long time. Maybe not ever (although I myself still believe that sooner or later, with the emphasis on LATER, the plane will be found and we will get some good clues as to what happened). It’s not easy to focus on and stay present to such a situation; it’s easier to lose interest, forget the whole thing, and move on to other mysteries that hopefully are more easily solvable and edifying.

So, for now we don’t have answers regarding Flight 370; but we do have some interesting observations regarding human behavior and psychology. Human attention definitely works in a way that protects us from too much doubt and too much uncertainty. We would like to think that our mind’s attention is the primary means for realizing the truth. But in reality it sometimes dabbles in illusion, since its prime mission was handed down by eons of evolutionary processes. That ancient mission is to survive, to keep us alive, to keep on going. Sometimes illusion and not truth is what is needed for that.

Seeing this, seeing beyond the illusion, perhaps it would be a good time to honor those who died on Flight 370 by resolving to carry on, to keep on using and appreciating the forces of life that were suddenly taken from them in what must have been strange, unexpected circumstances. Were those circumstances a flash explosive fire from the batteries in the cargo hold? A terrorist incident? A mechanical flaw that caused sudden decompression? – again, the desire to know and somehow make sense of it all just won’t stop. But when walls of frustration are encountered, it seems to me to be a good opportunity to ponder who we are and what our lives mean, and not to just move on right away to solving the next big news story.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 7:55 pm      

  1. Jim, In a way I think you’re right – that Flight 370 may disappear from our minds. Well, by “our” I mean those living and old enough to know and appreciate the significance of the event when it happened. Young people (and here I mean small children) will likely never “remember” it, except as a story told by adults later in their lives.

    I’ve heard that there are a surprisingly large number of planes that disappear(ed?), never to be heard of again; and most people simply, not only don’t remember them, but have no clue that they ever existed, much less disappeared without a trace. So from that standpoint it may be that Flight 370 will simply disappear from the minds of most people of the world. As you say, it’s already fading from the minds of many, replaced by other tragedies, if not as big in number, equally as big in an individual’s life.

    On the other hand I doubt that the disappearance of Flight 370 will *really* disappear from the minds of the people in most countries of the world. The families of the people on Flight 370 will always remember them, most likely. There probably always will be some individuals who seek and search for Flight 370, somewhat the same as happened with Amelia Earhart. There have been what seem like a relatively large number of times someone says they may have found Amelia Earhart’s plane, that I remember in my lifetime. Yet, no one can absolutely prove that they have found her plane, much less any remains of the bodies of the people on the plane.

    I find myself thinking that perhaps several thousand (million?) years from now, when the earth has changed and become so different from what it is now, someone who will be the equivalent of what we today might call an archeologist (or maybe even someone building some kind of structure) will come upon a strange finding, much like we read today: All building was stopped when what remained of a two thousand or three thousand year old home, building, cemetery of some kind, etc., has been found; excavation and preservation of it all is put before what is being done in the present. Maybe something like that will happen with Flight 370.

    I also find myself wondering if it will actually be in the ocean where Flight 370 will be found; perhaps it will be in some jungle area that is so remote only “primitive” people live there or maybe not even “primitive” individuals, maybe only animals and plants. I wonder if, even with all the technology we have and the certainty that they can trace Flight 370’s path, perhaps it took some other, strangely different path that no one has even started to think about. A mystery surely is Flight 370.

    I live in the area near Lake Michigan. Now and then, strangely enough, a plane has been found at the depths of this lake, usually from training missions during WW II. Those planes with the men on them went down almost 75 years go. Then there is the ship the Edmund Fitzgerald that went down in Lake Superior in a a terrible storm back in the 1970s, I think. They located it, I think; but I don’t think they ever discovered how such a large ship could completely disappear in such a short time. I remember vividly the strangeness of the situation at the time – such a large ship disappearing into what seemed like thin air. Another unsolved mystery at the time, together with all the deaths involved. (I think they located the ship but never really solved the “how” of its disappearance at the depths of Lake Superior; they have theories yes, but no real surety.)

    Then I find myself wondering what connection all the people on such kinds of vessels, who die in such large numbers at one time, have with one another. I find myself wondering: Is there some connection among these individuals that they all left this earth at one time? Another mystery never to be solved on this earth.

    Sometimes it seems there are more mysteries on this earth than there are things we are so sure about. And that perhaps in itself is yet another mystery. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — May 21, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

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