Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oh, the humility...

Well, we are more than two months into the BP debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, and this mess looks like it will not be resolved anytime in the near future.

Oil continues to saturate the Gulf. BP tried the most modern advancements in science and technology to make the problem stop. Despite some very minor success, the oil continues to make life difficult for those living down in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

There are lots of lessons to be learned from this disaster. Perhaps one of the most important ones is that there are limits to what science and technology can do for us.

In the last 50 years or so, we have seen successes in those fields that have impacted each of us in our every day lives. The technology that delivered man to the moon in the late 1960s seems primitive by today's standard, but it got the job done.

Since then, people dedicated to those fields have come to rely on them to explain just about every aspect of life. It does not matter whether the questions surround the creation of the universe or how to more effectively cook chicken in a microwave oven. Science and technology have been presented to us as the answer to almost everything.

But now, we have to face the very sobering reality of what is happening in the Gulf. Even if the problem is resolved tomorrow, the environmental impact is going to last for years and years.

When it comes to disasters, people often turn toward spirituality after science and technology have let them down. I have heard the calls for people to pray about the situation down there, and I believe that is crucial when it comes to the resolution of this.

Human nature being what it is, people want to rely on their own abilities to solve a problem. When they fail, it is at that point that they become humbled enough to start asking for help. This is often where God enters the picture.

Obviously, I can not speak for God, but sometimes I wonder what He must think when events like this unfold. Those who believe in God understand that He can resolve this issue with the blink of an eye. However, this situation continues to horribly continue.

Maybe a disaster of this magnitude should remind us that we are not quite as advanced as we believe we are. When we were children and we acted like we knew it all, our parents would comment that we were getting 'too big for our britches.'

So, could this be an example of suffering being caused because we got 'too big for our britches?' The very fact that BP would search for oil in such a dangerous way without an effective emergency response plan would indicate that.

All too often, we are willing to push the envelope without thinking through the consequences if we fail. Company e-mails that have recently come to light indicate that there were grave concerns within BP that too many corners were being cut.

However, BP kept pushing and pushing. All the successes the company has enjoyed over the years probably made them numb to the possibility of disaster. After all, BP was one of the most successful companies in the world.

Well, even the biggest fall on their faces at some time. It does not matter whether it is a large corporation or individuals like you and me.

Nobody likes to be humbled, but it might be the one thing that protects us from bigger calamity somewhere down the road.

So, let's learn now.

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