Sunday, August 09, 2009

Yin and Yang

“Getting down to first principles” wrote P.G.Wodehouse in one of his books, “accidents happen when two objects occupy the same point in space at the same time”. (Ok, it doesn’t require a Wodehouse to tell us that, but the fact certainly adds weight.).

The story in the New York Times about a mid-air collision involving a small plane and a helicopter over the River Hudson proves the point.

Apparently, the airplane took off from Teterboro at 11:50 a.m., after stopping there for a half-hour and picking up a passenger. The plane arrived over the Hudson at 11:52 and turned south.

Meanwhile, the helicopter, took off from the West 30th Street heliport at almost the same time for a sightseeing tour. The helicopter took off, headed out over the river, turned south and climbed to between 500 and 1,000 feet.

Soon the twain converged.

In 1912, soon after the sinking of the Titanic, Thomas Hardy shot off this poem by cable to the New York Times, in which he described the ship and the iceberg as two halves of the same august event. For, when “while was fashioning this creature ( Titanic) of cleaving wing, The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything prepared a sinister mate for her--so gaily great--a Shape of Ice. And as the smart ship grew in stature, grace, and hue - in shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too." And soon the twain converged…

Sadly, the helicopter and the plane were two halves of a single tragic event. Hindus would have attributed it to Fate and Destiny. Hardy would attribute it to the machinations of the Immanent Will..

No comments: