Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The ocean is not a natural habitat for man.  Those at sea are in a perpetual state of potential danger, their lives beholden to the sturdiness of their vessel, the reliability of their equipment, the experience of their crew.

There's a long tradition, backed by an international treaty, that any boat at sea that can help rescue any other boat in distress is obligated to do whatever it can to assist.  It's been that way for years, and regardless of politics, rivalries or hostilities, sailors have assisted sailors regardless of the flag flying on either ship.  Fishermen have quit pursuing profits, merchant marines have abandoned their itineraries, and battleships have changed their mission when they've come across someone, anyone, in need of rescue. 

Here on land, we're not so friendly.  We're not any safer - as Bukowski points out, we're all going to die, every last one of us - yet so few of us feel a duty, much less a compulsion, to help rescue those around us.

I know it's naive to contemplate, but wouldn't it be great if we all adopted a land-born equivalent of the maritime pledge and agreed to all help out each other to the best of out abilities as we navigate this treacherous sea of existence and the human condition?  If we each just pretended that we were all individual ships at sea?  

Maybe we should all buy captain's hats.

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