Mysterious and Unsettling

Few stories have the power to captivate us more than those that remain unresolved. This month much of the world as well as my ‘local community forum for political discourse’ (Mem’s corner shop just off the square) has been mesmerized by the riddle of Flight MH370, which simply vanished into thin air sometime after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March on its way to Beijing.

For weeks Mem has been asking: What do you think happened to that plane? He continues without waiting for an answer. How can a plane vanish without a trace? This is followed by a buzz of conversation:

Was the aircraft high-jacked by terrorists? Did it crash as a result of pilot error or mechanical malfunction?  Or did the aircraft fly into some atmospheric black hole equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle? The latter is the favourite theory. The media has generated a certain amount of frenzied speculation.

After nearly 3 weeks a British satellite firm claims to have pinpointed broadly where MH370 might be found. A type of investigative analysis never used before was employed to shed light on the plane's possible location - in the Southern Indian Ocean somewhere West of Perth, Australia. This is a remote spot, far from any possible landing sites.

The Chinese don’t believe it.
How odd that we have state of the art technology that can land men on the moon, but have not really begun to chart the vastness of the planet’s oceans. With unfathomable depth that can reach 5,000m in places, our oceans are a mirror image of the human psyche.

There are some things in the universe, even with cutting edge technology, string theory and the rest, remain unfathomable. The spookiest and most mystifying of them all is the human psyche, described by Carl Jung as “a mystery that challenged the adventuresome with the prospect of rich discovery and frightened the timid with the threat of insanity”.

One is left with a sense of unease when -

First, after Iraq, the annexation of part of a nation state occurs in broad daylight (boldly wrong and strong) right on one’s doorstep. What happened to article 5 of the NATO charter about the defence and security of member states, and especially Europe after WWII?

Secondly, a hillside (or half a mountain as one resident described it) comes cascading down forming a massive 20ft deep mudslide that engulfed an entire little community. A tenor of quiet and disbelieving incredulity infused the female voice speaking to the 911 operator as she explained what she had just witnessed: the house next door had simply been shunted down the hill to come to rest on the highway below. 

Somehow it feels a little unsettling when our vulnerability is exposed in such a manner; it feels a bit like pompeii.


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