Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

We have all heard the saying ‘you can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink’, and we all have some analogies in our lives that resound that sentiment. A horse can generally be led fairly easily using a harness or bridle. However, a horse cannot be forced to drink, no matter how hard you try, and in fact, you can get quite a nasty bite or even a kick in a delicate place, not to mention a broken foot from the horse deciding to stand on you if you upset it!

This ‘horse to water’ observations from humankind towards the equine world is valid.

Let us take a different view, that of the life observations of our horses of their humans – a sort of ‘horse sense’*...

‘You can take a man to knowledge, but you cannot make him think’ would be one of the first things a smart horse would be ready to comment on in relation to his life experiences with our species. Or perhaps, ‘you can give a human opportunities, but you cannot make them take them’ – for the average horse will have easily spotted that trend, especially amongst teenagers of the human disposition! In fact I can think of a lot people I have come across who fit into both of these ‘horse-sayings’!

In this wonderful world of horses, they may also make observations that reflect on our biped disposition in relation to other matters: ‘If God had meant man to ride in motorcars, he would not have given him horses’, but of course, we know that horses may be biased in such observations.

I always find the comments from other human beings along the lines of ‘If God had meant man to fly, he would have given him wings’ a basic misunderstanding of the physical world we live in. Frankly, it is more like, ‘God meant man to fly, that is why he gave him the ability to think!’ Anybody who states ‘God would have given us wheels if he meant us to drive in motor cars’ would be laughed at – today – but we do know that some funny arguments were put forward in the past – even by respected ‘so called thinkers’ of the time.

At one point the British Parliament was apparently lobbied by medical doctors and clergymen to stop the steam railway train trials, because they were planning to set a new speed record in excess of 50kph. The argument was that ‘it was known that the human body would explode if it travelled at such speeds’. Thankfully, the risk was taken and ‘hi-speed’ travel was born. Today, we have a much greater understanding of speeds and their effects on the human body. All the same, there is still a lot of misunderstanding of science – and a lot of confusion between faith and religion.

Not long ago, Religion of the day persecuted people for stating that the planet was not flat – some were imprisoned by the authorities for such heresy. Today the ‘flat-earth believer’ is all but extinct! Until 999AD the use of the Arabic numerals (0,1,2,3,4… etc.) was seen as ‘demonic’, and only the Roman Numerals would be used by those faithful to their Religion. (it was instructed by the Church of the day that the use of the zero, ‘0’, was demonic, since zero could not exist if there was God, according to their religious beliefs.) Religion has prevented many people from thinking, yet faith has never done that. Faith is a belief in a greater being, generally called simply ‘God’, but also a number of other terms are found around the world, who created the physics, biology and chemistry of our universe – setting out rules and systems, providing them to us, ready to discover and be awestruck at the home we have. Whether one believes in God or not, the same science is all around us and totally unarguably complex and complete – and waiting for the thinking mind to embrace it fully.

Of course, we are free to make mistakes as well as discoveries. It is, however, essential that we embrace all of the knowledge that is out there waiting for us, but to do that we must think. We must open our minds, put aside dogma and personal agendas, look outward and not inwards!

We do not want to find ourselves in the same intellectual corner of those who believed that the planet earth was the centre of the universe – or that malaria was caused by bad air! We need to think, we need to take advantage of the knowledge that is all around us – and we should all grow as human beings as we do so.

The horse is absolutely right in saying that humans can be presented with knowledge, but it is, apparently, impossible to make the human being think – and harder to get them to act! We are surrounded with situations around that are causing accidents, sickness and poverty, simply because of the lack of ‘appropriate human thought, coupled with suitable action’. Take for instance the current topic in relation to the many fires from poor electrical installations or inappropriate use of electrical equipment. At times, out of ignorance, we blame ‘something spiritual or magical’ – but the blame lies in the human condition. The only spirit that can be blamed, for many of the accidents we witness, is a spirit of ignorance and a lack of education, coupled with non-thinking and non-action. How much damage and injury could we prevent by thinking things through and making sure that the ‘right thing’ was done?

When DVLA or a police officer allows a vehicle to pass checks, knowing that it is not roadworthy, they are permitting an accident to happen, and share in the blame of any deaths that may occur. Yet, we continue to hear some sort of ‘magical/spiritual’ explanation. It is simple, we must take our responsibilities seriously – we are human beings and we have to learn to think, act and take our own responsibilities.

We need to think about our humanity as a whole – and not about selfish gain or ‘our own pockets’.

It is all too easy to lose the thinking capacity when the mind blurring drug of money comes into the equation. Fortunately for me, I have no regard for money. I need to make a living, but I have no need for more than my daily bread.

Although much of the non-thinking we witness is purely from lack of education/awareness, much of it appears to be stimulated by ‘diversionary financial thought candy’. Nobody should allow anything to be done – or not done - that endangers others, takes resources from the needy, jeopardises safety, etc., simply to increase their personal wealth.

I do not see horses taking such an approach to life, they work for the herd, and share what they have… I think we need to ask the horses more often, for sometimes it seems to me that horse-sense is worth more than we give it credit!

*horse sense is another term for common sense.

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail )

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