Malaysia Airlines 370 And The Unknown In A Known World

Screen shot 2014-03-21 at 1.04.04 PMOver a week ago, Malaysia Airlines 370 disappeared, leaving more almost three hundred people presumed dead and families and friends in an unimaginable limbo. How could this happen, in this day and age, the pundits and t.v. talking heads exclaim and wonder. How could this happen and a plane simply disappear?

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” they cry.

The news coverage has become increasingly more dramatic and the search for the plane keeps getting wider and wider. The plane could be anywhere. It could be, but there is also the real possibility that it will never be found. Some of the ocean that it may have flown over is miles deep.

It may indeed just be gone.

I have watched with greater and greater fascination as the news coverage becomes frantic, panicked almost, as collectively the talking heads seem to be facing the fact that they may have to entertain the fact that we will never know what happened.

Never. Ever. Know. This will take conspiracy theory to an-as-yet-unseen level of crazy. When historical events happen that we do know what happened, Elvis died in his bathroom, JFK was shot, the Twin Towers fell, people around us generate increasingly crazy theories of what really happened, when what really happened was right in front of you. Imagine if they never find the plane. Ever.

In our world with technology and advanced communication, it appears impossible for some, well, many people, to understand that mysteries can still happen. Things in life can not always be found or solved. This is a glaring example in our face that despite our advances, we still have not conquered the world around us. We are passengers, not pilots, in the universe.

Fifty or a hundred years ago, for most of the history of man on earth in fact, there was an acceptance that the mysterious happened. There was an appreciation that boats leave ports or planes leave the ground and don’t return. Explorers walked into the jungles of Africa and never walked out. Life held a certain mystery – a certain uncertainty if you will.

We’ve lost that over the past few decades. We believe that through hard work and ingenuity, not to mention GPS tracking systems and being able to hold more computer power in our hand than powered a Lunar Module, we have conquered life and the world around us. We haven’t. Despite all the tools and technology around me, the world around me that I enter and explore and try to understand is a wonderful mix of knowns and unknowns.

There are so many things that I can’t explain. How I can feel the presence of my father when he passed away so many years ago. How my best friend knows exactly when to call me. I have been fortunate enough to stand outside on the plains in Africa, in pure quiet, and gaze in wonder at the animals. I have watched the sun rise and filter through the canyons of the buildings in New York City.

The more I explore and the deeper I dive into the world around me, the less I seem to know and the more I am amazed by the mystery of the world. I have come to accept the not knowing more and more but I’m not sure everyone else has. There are voices out there like this regarding the plane. A commercial pilot who simply believes something happened, the pilot turned towards the nearest airfield and didn’t make it.

I greatly feel for the families of those who were or are on the plane. The best ending is that indeed they are on some remote Central Asian runway and are safe. They may be. Or they and the plane may be gone. How long I wonder will the networks stay with a story that has no ending? How will they handle the fact that not everything can be explained or located?

I imagine as the days and weeks continue, they will slowly grasp the concept. I imagine that some will look at it as an important insight into the world around them while others will still be shocked and confused that something like this could possibly happen in our world.