The Humbling Effect of Eyjafjallajökull…

When this thought emerged some time earlier today, I actually just wanted to twitter it, but I soon realized there was no way I’d be able to put it into just 140 characters. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to put it into words that makes sense to anyone.

First of all I have to say, that I’m writing this from the comfort zone of my own apartment, with my own bed, armchair, kitchen, computer and all the things that make a home comfortable. All the things the thousands of people stranded all around Europe right now will miss and long to get back to. Not to mention the wish to get back to family and friends or businesses and jobs and everything. Being stranded somewhere must really really suck. Believe me, when I say, that I don’t want to play down or ignore any of these effects of this vulcanic eruption and the large ashcloud over Europe.

But I have to admit that of all the possible thoughts that were running through my mind, when I was reading about it all throughout yesterday and today, the one thought I just couldn’t shake off was: Wow. That’s Mother Nature to you. No matter how much mankind tries to subdue it for whatever (legitimate?) reasons for thousands of years now, sometimes you just have to accept the fact, that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter, how far advanced our technology might be. Mother Nature will always have the upper hand in the end.

I guess that has always been true for all kinds of natural catastrophies (earthquakes, floods etc) but with thousands of lifes lost during earthquakes or floods, you dwell on these tragic effects and don’t start a philosophical train of thought. As far as I know nobody died because of this vulcanic eruption yet, and the people living close by could be evacuted in time. All thanks to the modern technology and modern science, which allows predictions of what will happen at what time and to take precautions against it. But you can’t predict everything and you can’t take precautions against everything, no matter how far advanced modern technology might be. We might be able to land on the moon, to get rocks from Mars, to reproduce the Big Bang in a 27 km long laboratory, but in the grand scheme of things and in the end we all are basically at Mother Nature’s mercy.

I know it’s stupid to write about “Mother Nature” as if she (it) were a being of some kind. A being that could actually act from a free will or any will or emotions at all. It is not. It’s basically just rocks and plants and water and living beings and such. And what happens, happens. Vulcanos erupt. That’s just what they do. But I keep remembering a Greenpeace comic with two planets who both resemble the Earth, but one of them looked really sick. The healthy one asked: “What’s wrong with you?” – Sick one: “I’ve got Homo Sapiens.” – Healthy one: “Don’t worry, that will pass…”

Eyjafjallajökull just reminded me – more than any other natural disaster before – that despite all our advanced technology, this basically might be true and mankind’s time on earth might just pass some day. It doesn’t even have to be caused by the ecological damage we ourselves cause every day. Not that I’m saying that we shouldn’t worry about the damages our western lifestyle causes and that we shouldn’t try to change to a more ecofriendly way of life. Because we should. (Hey, I’m a Green, what do yo expect me to say ;-)?). But all in all, some things might be totally out of our hands. Like they had been out of the hands of the dinosaurs when the meteor hit all those years ago….

[I’ve got a birthday coming up, maybe that’s why I’m feeling all philosophical and slightly existential at the moment ;-)]

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