got your attention?

A volcano in Iceland spews ash in what analysts initially said was the worst disruption of air travel since 9/11. As the days go on, it has become the worst air travel disruption in modern history and since air travel is limited to modern history, it is also the worst disruption EVER. Despite our many advances, we can’t predict, control, or confine what will happen next.

Yesterday an earthquake in Afghanistan killed seven people and injured many more. Last week China had an earthquake, the death toll now at almost 2,000. There have been quakes in Chile, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mexicali and of course Haiti. I have heard that the San Francisco area has been shaking like a leaf lately, with more tremors than usual.

What is going on? If you read my blog then you know that I think our world is headed for decline, and fast. But despite my faith-based predictions, I am generally a person of science. I graduated with a high GPA from a state university, with a B.S. in biology. I love spiritual explanations for natural events, but I also like to understand the science behind them.

So I have been searching for a good scientific explanation for the increased seismic activity and have yet to find one. Every now and then a media outlet finds some expert to dispel panic. And all experts are saying the same thing, as if trying to calm an inconsolable toddler, as if their soothing business-as-usual words will allay our fears.

Here is what they say: this is normal. It just seems like we are having more quakes and more geological events because 1) our great technology and equipment have the ability to better detect even the smallest seismic events, 2) media attention makes it seem like it is happening more when it really isn’t, and 3) the world is more populated and therefore seismic events have more probability of causing death or casualities.

These explanations make sense to my natural mind. I was buying it for a while, until the volcano disrupted air travel. Does anybody out there have a good explanation? Coincidence?

One of the best explanations I have seen comes out of the Business Insider, in a column titled “Wake Up People: This Volcano Is About More Than Flights, It’s About Agriculture, Energy, And Politics.” Centered mainly around the ecological and economic impact of the Iceland volcano, the final sentence is striking:

All in all it is a reminder that there is never a time that Nature, with a little nudge, cannot remind us of the risks of complacency.

7 thoughts on “got your attention?

  1. It’s got mine! I’m especially interested in the Yellowstone “Caldera” volcano,which would make what’s been going on lately in the world seem extremely mild in comparison. I enjoyed your blog!

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  2. That it’s a wake up call, letting us know that human control has its limits, and that we shouldn’t be complacent (self-satisfied).

    So many people are asking the “why” question. Just like after a sudden tragic death, we want to know why or who did this. And while I think these are important questions, the answer depends on your belief system. Who did this? God, scantily-clad women, or HAARP? Or is it just normal, a basic natural planetary cycle?

    But the “what next?” and “what can we learn from this?” questions are way more interesting.

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  3. No one is asking why, not that I have heard. I’ve not heard a single person enroll in course on volcanology because of this. People don’t want the real why of techtonic plate movement, because that doesn’t give tham an ego boost.

    They want a imaginary why…something mystical that gives them the feeling superiority. They need to believe they posses inside information people who have spent their entire lives studying the phenomenon wouldn’t have becaues they don’t have the right mystic connection.

    It doesn’t mater if they think this happened from God’s wrath, or global warming. They will FAITH in their explanation without evidence. The implication to inside information is alway power. If a person says, “God would not have done this if we had done X,” then they are in, effect saying, “We (through God) have control over X”.

    People aren’t so much looking for “why” as they are looking, desperately, for ANYTHING which will put them back in control, not a factual why, but story why, and perferably one with them and their peers restored to their right place, (after that big mean volcano reminded them they aren’t really in control) at the center of all importance.

    As Aslan said, to be human is both a great honor and a great shame.

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    1. This idea of power and control is central to the human struggle, as your Aslan quote asserts. To me, all levels of disaster (personal, familial, national, global) reveal that control is an illusion. This is uncomfortable. To our modern information-age generation — it is unacceptable.

      And you’re right, in that our immediate response (after shock) is to try to re-establish some kind of control by whatever mechanism comes most easily (faith, science, joining up with Al Gore against global warming, eating too many cheeseburgers, etc.).

      And many people use faith as this coping mechanism. A sedative to calm this unease, to make us feel in control because at the very least (come hell or high water, as they say) we are “on the right side.”

      But to me this is a misuse of faith (at least the Christian faith). It’s like swapping one drug for another, without ever learning to live sober.

      I have done it, obviously. Almost everyone with a belief system has. But using faith/God to run from the uncomfortable reality around us is really just hiding, being a coward.

      What if my faith in God allowed me to face reality head-on? What would that look like?

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