What have we learned

S

Susan Leighton

Guest
I am very interested in discussing the changes in culture that have taken place, and the enforcement of new laws that were established as a result of the Titanic disaster. In essence...What has history taught us about Titanic?...How did we change as a society?...What have we learned?...I would like to be able to say that we HAVE learned, we HAVE changed...but there are occasions when I feel we havent't really changed at all. Any takers on this philosophical discussion.
Susan
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,239
483
213
Susan -- Good question. From my point of view, we have improved technology with better ice warnings and lifeboat requirements. However, I'm not sure that human nature has changed one whit. As a species, we are still interested more in speed, convenience, and comfort than in safety. Witness the number of people speeding down the highway, burger in one hand and cell phone in the other, and not wearing a seat belt.

--David G. Brown
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
4
0
I second what Dave said wholeheartedly. For me, it explains why the story still captures the attention and imagination of the public.

Parks
 
S

Susan Leighton

Guest
I have learned through studying history and staying informed of current events, that an "event" needs to take place in our culture that has consequences (i.e. loss of life or property) in order for change to occur. Prior to any specific catastrophic event--we did not know it was a potential hazard. Prior to it happening, we did'nt KNOW a (nearly 800 foot) ship could hit an iceberg and sink and kill (nearly)1500 people... Until it actually happened... and we were left with the consequences. Then...we changed the laws, we changed the "class" system. We realized that all the money in the world could not save John Jacob Astor, yet Jamila Nicola-Yarred (age 14) and her brother Elias Nicola-Yarred (age 12), immigrants travelling alone, managed to survive the sinking by catching one of the last lifeboats launched (collapsible c ). The very same lifeboat that J. Bruce Ismay, the Managing Director of White Star Line, also managed to catch.
Therefore...we learn...we are all the same...we are ALL entitled to our lifeboat. Yow! Deep!!...no pun intended.
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,239
483
213
Somehow, I have always doubted that anything changes except superficially.

The class system has not been eliminated, just changed. During the cold war, the U.S. Congress built a "lifeboat" bomb shelter for itself and neglected those of lower status.

We don't drive passenger ships hell-bent across the North Atlantic any more--instead, we put people in a flying fuel tank called Concorde at supersonic speeds.

Many of the "changes" are purely cosmetic for the delusion of the ignorant. For instance, the lifeboat regulations passed in the wake of the Titanic disaster made the public feel good. But, legislators knew nothing of naval architecture. They thought putting lifeboats on ships was the same as mounting fire escapes on a building. It turned out that all of that hardware on the uppermost deck raised the center of gravity of ships not designed for such topheavy weight. This was one underlying cause of the accident that kileed 850 people--mostly women and children--when Eastland rolled over in the Chicago River.

There is no such thing is "high tech," only the technology of the age. Every generation of people has to learn how to handle some new-fangled contraption. Steamships in 1912..computers in 1982...the internet in 2002. All high tech in their time and all a combination of danger and opportunity.

People remain fundamentally the same as they have always been. After all we come in only one make (human being) and two models (men and women). Do you think there will come a day when people want to travel slower and spend more money to do it?

Someday there will be another Titanic-like disaster. It will have followed a similar Titanic-like disaster and will preceed yet another disaster like..Titanic. When will they ever learn..??

--David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,589
379
283
Easley South Carolina
David, I couldn't agree more. And with modern cruise ships growing ever larger and a predilection for treating minimum safety requirements as the max, it seems to me that the potential for a truly horrific disaster grows with each passing day.

Susan, if you want to see some really sobering reading, check out the Ice Charts & Ship / Iceberg Database. If what I see there is any indication, then two points stick out like a sore thumb.

1)The dangers of icebergs and mucking around with icefields was well understood befor the Titanic's loss, and

2)We haven't learned much of anything since.

Go HERE for a table of collisions which goes back to 1686 and goes up to the year 2000.
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
David G. Brown said: We don't drive passenger ships hell-bent across the North Atlantic any more--

I wouldn't be so sure about that. Other then that I agree with Dave.
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,239
483
213
Captain, sir-- What I meant is that the days of high-speed trans-Atlantic passenger vessels as in 1912 are over. I did not mean that we don't carry a lot of people on the seas. The days of ships as transportation for people have given way to ships as entertainment venues. Are these new floating casinos any safer than Titanic? Is the operation any "smarter"? Have people changed?

-- David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
I was talking about the hell bent part. In fact that is still how Captains keep there job. Part of that catch 22 of being a Captain. Darned if you do and darned if you don't.