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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

RMS | Richard Stallman (RMS) Status | RMS Titanic Status on August 11th

The Sinking Of RMS Titanic And The U*U Ship Of Fools - What's The Connection?

Well just for starters. . .

Neither of these two ships had enough lifeboats.

Will online miracles never cease?

A Google search for -

Titanic Unitarian Victims

Quite serendipitously resurrects a 1998 Unitarian Universalist sermon entitled 'LESSONS FROM THE TITANIC' by Rev. R. M. Fewkes of First Parish Norwell Unitarian Universalist church.

Here are some of this U*U sermon's Titanic* U*U Lessons -

Rumor has it, by the way, that the Titanic was conceived and designed by a Unitarian. I don't think there is any proof to support that rumor, but if Sarah Flower Adams'(who was a Unitarian) hymn (i.e. 'Nearer, My God, To Thee') was the last piece played on the deck of the Titanic then we can say that the great ship was at least blessed and laid to rest by a Unitarian.

There was something of that 19th century Unitarian optimism about "the progress of mankind onward and upward forever" in the building of the Titanic. The designers of this plush and stately ship really believed that it was unsinkable. It was built so that the ship could endure damage up to four of its watertight compartments without threatening the integrity of the ship. One story has it that First Class passenger, Mrs. Albert Caldwell, asked one of the deckhands whether the Titanic was truly unsinkable. He said to her, "Yes, Lady, God himself could not sink this ship."

end quote

In light of his Titanic* Hubris I can't help but wonder if the deckhand in question was a Unitarian too. . .

Rev. R. M. Fewkes goes on to say -

What Captain Smith could not imagine was that the Titanic might strike an iceberg (though he had been warned by near-by ships of the approaching danger), an iceberg that would inflict damage to five of its watertight compartments--one too many to remain afloat. And what he did not know was that the steel in the ship by modern standards was weak, it had too much sulfur in it, which made it brittle, so that when it collided with the iceberg, the steel not only popped open at the seams, but cracked like an eggshell. We now know that the size of the tear caused by the iceberg was not a gaping 300 foot gash, but only 12 square feet dispersed here and there along the starboard side, mere pinpricks relatively speaking, but enough to sink the ship in a period of two and a half hours.

end quote

Sounds a lot like the corpse-cold Unitarian Captain(s) of the U*U Ship Of Fools failing to imagine that their "less than perfect" vessel might run into The Emerson Avenger or some other virtual "iceberg". . .

No U*Us?

Needless to say The Emerson Avenger gets a quite chuckle out of Rev. Fewkes' reference to "the U*U movement" here -

What a loss to the UU movement if Sophia had gone down on the Titanic.

Then we get to the part about the lack of lifeboats -

We all know that there were not enough life boats to save all the passengers on board, nowhere near enough. But to make matters worse they did not utilize the available space that they had. There was space in the lifeboats for 53% of all on board. Only 32% were actually taken. Many of the lifeboats left only half full. Of the more than 2,000 passengers on the Titanic only a little over 700 survived.

Then there was the unfair and inequitable use of class distinctions in determining who was allowed into the lifeboats. Whether deliberate or not there were twice as many first class men allowed into the boats as third class children. Of 29 first and second class children all were saved but one. Of 76 third class children only 23 were saved. The casualty list is also very revealing along class lines. There were only 4 deaths out of 143 first class women and 3 of those were by choice, they chose to remain with their husbands. Fifteen of 93 second class women lost their lives compared to 81 of 179 third class women. Even after the tragedy, during the investigation, only 3 of the 3rd class survivors were questioned about what happened compared to hundreds of 1st and 2nd class survivors. If you had to go third class you were less than fully human when it came to deciding which lives were more worthy to be saved. To the extent that such attitudes still prevail among us in today's world we need to learn a lesson from the sinking of the Titanic. We only have one floating planet to share and we will all sink or survive together or not at all. The privatized first class cabins at the top are only as safe as the steerage cabins on the lower decks.

end quote

Now *that* classism, if not elitism, sounds so-o-o-o much like the U*U Ship Of Fools I know. . . I dare say that there was and still is and unfair and inequitable use of class distinctions in determining who is allowed into the "lifeboats" of the Unitarian Universalist religious community, perhaps especially when it comes to people filing complaints against "less than perfect" U*U clergy, to say nothing of Titanic* U*U clergy. . .

No U*Us?

Rev. Fewkes' lesson teaching Titanic sermon concludes thusly -

Jesus did perceive, however, that there was also a moral and spiritual order in human events, that how we treat others individually and collectively is in truth an expression of how we treat ourselves, and is a reflection of our relationship to the divine in both nature and history. What we do to other people, what we do to nature, we ultimately do to ourselves. The results of our actions individually and collectively is a working out of the moral law in human history. To be able to interpret the long term moral affects of our turbulent times is a kind of spiritual weather forecasting. We may be clever at predicting the physical weather around us, but how good are we at anticipating the results of our selfish attitudes and actions as people and nations?

Remembering the sinking of the Titanic can become a parable for us of the moral and spiritual order impinging on the natural order in such a way as to present us with the choice of the survival or demise of the human race on planet earth. What we are presented with is not "life-boat" ethics with the privileged few in the life boats and the masses going down with the ship and drowning in the ocean. What we have are Titanic ethics with first, second and third class passengers all together on the same ship, the ship of earth, and the ship has sprung a leak in the third class deck down below. There are those on the first class level who delude themselves that what happens on the third class deck is no concern of theirs. But there are others who realize that the survival of all depends upon everyone working together to patch up the leaks, to mend quarrels, and to save the ship of state. And there is really only one ship of state, our one and only global village. And to save it we must learn to share our resources, conserve our environment, limit our consumption, curb our selfishness, and learn the art of tolerance and mutual respect.

May we remember the Titanic and learn our lessons well.

end quote

I may well underline some of those lessons for U*Us by adding some im*pertinent hyperlinks later, but hopefully *some* U*Us are capable of reading between the lines and will *get* the message without the additional links.

* Aren't U*Us glad that I freely and responsibly chose the fate of saying "Titanic U*U" instead of "Big Fat U*U"? :-)


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