Wednesday, October 17, 2012
A Kind Of Safety
There is only one kind of real safety: The wisdom to know where danger lies, and the ability to balance the return on risk with the exposure to that danger.
At its most elemental, danger is easily espied. Hey, look; there's a giant, spinning metal wheel covered with raggedy teeth. Ahoy! There are straps running hither and yon and spoked wheels spinning and begging to take a digit. Everything from splinters to a head staved in is in play. That's if the boilers don't explode first.
Everyone in the video looks unruffled. "Don't touch the hot stove" is easy if you're of a serious mind. The boards that marvelous machine is spitting out are valuable and useful and worth the effort, and worth the effort to keep safe, too. Risk/reward at its most elemental.
These are anachronistic machines, which I adore. Simpler is better in almost all things. If they were more up-to-date, there would be a great deal more safety devices in use. What would come of the improvements? The users would get inured to the presence of danger. Blase. They would begin to stick in waxy earbuds and concentrate on organized noise instead of paying attention to what they were doing. Maybe they'd have a snifter or three at lunch and think nothing of it. They might pass the time in skylarking instead of sticking to it. And all the guards in the world will not save those that think that all forms of danger must be made safe --even from attempts at voluntary harm -- and whatever downstream effects of danger ignored must be unquestionably and munificently ameliorated by others.
All that "safety" is before you even get to the Gates of Barrister Hades, guarded by the hellhound with three heads: paranoia, hypochondria and fraud. When suffering harm is a winning lottery ticket, the only way to lose is not to play. And the loser always pays. But you knew that. Stay safe!