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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Leading Cause of Death - the Cost of Velocity

It always makes sense to look closely at Death; after all, our lives depend on it.

The phrase "cause of death" is deceptive, and invites serious second looks. Most of us die of SHOCK, as a result of trauma or disease, in turn caused by negligence or micro-organisms whose impacts are aggravated by a pre-existing condition, and all of which occur naturally.

The world's leading cause of death among adults is "heart disease"; the pump stops, and for lack of circulation, death ensues. The leading causes of death among children under the age of five years old are neonatal causes (37%), respiratory infections (19%), and dysentary (17%). Malaria kills one million people (and disables 500 million) annually. (Reference: World Health Organization Report 2005).

However, second only to heart disease as the world's leading cause of death is...{drum roll}...TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS. Based on projections from the number of passenger miles and manufacturing data on trucks and cars, in 2008 it is almost certain that 1.3 million lives and $500 billion in damages will be suffered as a result of increasing traffic carnage. Most of this harm is preventable, but almost none of it will be, and very little will be compensated. Millions of people's lives will be altered forever in the course of mundane traveling.

The carnage is deliberate, anticipated, and certain: Get in a car, increase your risk of death and crippling injury. These casualties are entirely artificial, having little to do with insect vectors, disease, or biology. It has everything to do with marketing -- few people would replace their bicycle with a car except for an appeal to irrational hopes and the juvenile emotional appeal of velocity.

Is there any REASON to replace "fun" (horses, bicycles) with high-risk comfort (sitting in a luxurious lazy-boy recliner moving at 88 feet per second...)?

Is it reasonable to risk your life to go to work every day? Is it reasonable to risk your life to go shopping for non-essentials? In the United States, more people are killed annually on highways than were killed in the Viet Nam War with people TRYING to kill them in a twenty-year war. More soldiers today are killed on our own highways than are killed IN IRAQ.

I will never understand why the parents and families of the dead are not screaming for compensation from automobile manufacturers. The cost of velocity is not built into the products. The people who profit from the suffering are deaf, those who benefit are indifferent and ignorant, and as a society we have not moved into the Industrial Age; we are forced to live irrational lives.