Sickness Onboard! Man the Lifejackets!
Sickness is as much a part of life as wellness, and right now in late 2016 many Americans feel the restless waves of discontent and the reeling currents of change. Let's first be honest with each other; let's recognize and admit to our collective unwellness. We know what "under the the weather" feels like. We recognize it in others, but how often does the patient understand the ailment in himself? How do we recognize how sick we have become? Many of us may think we know how to get healthy and recover. We know our cause and our cure. But a question begging to be answered: Are we ready to take healthy, distasteful medicine or just keep feeding our denial? Maybe we believe some outside source like a doctor, a prescription, an election, a therapist or magician will rescue us. Maybe we think we possess some panacea or we can swallow some imaginary, magic elixir. But the hard, unforgiving truth is that none of these will remedy us from our ailments. We need a new and improved dosage of democracy.
We call-in sick rest and recuperate. We request sick leave or a leave of absence. Of course, many of us do not want to take time off from our duties and responsibilities so many may not want to acknowledge our becoming incapacitated. But as super human as we may we want to believe, we are vulnerable and susceptible to attract pains, discomforts, colds, infections, viruses, pains, soreness, injuries and far worse that incapacitate us. These often enter and spread through our bodies without much warning until symptoms start to appear. Our joints might begin to ache. Our forehead and body temperature might rise. Our energy becomes depleted. We trouble focusing or thinking straight. If we go untreated we could even become infected, infectious and even delusional. Of course, if our immune system becomes compromised, we need sleep and rest to recuperate. And for any of us to recover, we need the correct diagnosis about what ails us. Treating cold with kimo could prove deadly. And treating a symptom never cures the virus. We need not only to know what ails us, but what prescription works best.
Any effective captain supports his mates and unifies his crew for the greater good and mission of the ship. A captain always needs a steady hand and a clear head when facing the challenges of nature and leading men. Superior skippers motivate and inspire by their actions and decisions as they serve the No skipper gains respect command by intimidating or control. They steer by more than words alone; they turn the helm by their depth of character and nautical knowhow. They assess and modify their course to adapt to the winds and waves of change.
But what happens if he or she is unable or unfit to command? How does a crew respond when their captain becomes sick? What if a leader's choices jeopardize the safety of an entire ship? What if a leader's refuses to relinquish his duties? What happens when a skipper becomes too ill to comprehend his own sickness? When and if his decision-making becomes impaired? What happens when the crew has lost faith in their skipper's ability to command? What if a crew becomes sick of its leadership? What's a crew to do?
- Do nothing?
- Carry on?
- Wait for him to recover?
- Dutifully follow his commands?
- Transfer power to second mate?
- Quarantine the sickness?
- Relieve him of his duties?
- Jump ship?
Some of us recognize motion sickness when we feel it. Some even start to feel woozy just by the thought of being on a ship. Some of us even are sickened by the motion sickness of others. And some of us follow the sick and foolhardy.
Two Blighs ply their high-fevered pitch their misguided righteousness and authoritarian rule in an attempt to control and shame crew.
Giving testimony Captain Queeg sits with his absurdities in The Caine Mutiny.
In 1841 John Adams as an ex-US president and defense attorney defended the rights of enslaved Africans in the famous case United States v. The Amistad. During his final argument, Adams attacked the Declaration of Independence and made a compelling case to free would-be slaves who had revolted and killed their capturers' ship captain.
Seventeen years later in 1858 our country was still divided and diseased over with the issue of slavery when Abraham Lincoln spoke about a divided country. His words eventually catapulted him to the Presidency...
"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South."
Now 158 years after Lincoln's speech in 2016 we again have a divided and diseased country on the brink of a divisive President-elect taking office.
What is necessary for any swamped or floundering vessel to stay afloat is for everyone on board to play a part. See how Lifeboat and Alfred Hitchcock played many parts in bringing order to chaos and genius to the screen during World War II...
While humor will not help cure our sicknesses, it may also cure some of our gloom-and-doom seriousness as well.
Watch how these captains entertain their distress.
The words of another poet from another era may ring true to recall what made America once great. His last stanza was written at the beginning of America's future over 200 years ago. Our present fears and hopes are no less than those wanting to build a great nation then.
The Building of the Ship
Sometimes a sickness is our thoughts - our judgments and misinterpretations. Is it not surprising that most accidents at sea are caused by human errors. So even seasoned minds don't always see a leak or a sickness until it is often too late. Experienced captains making mistakes that impact more than just lives of those aboard.
Until we understand how to grasp reality, for example that we are ALL in this LIFE boat together. If we trust others to our welfare and fail to take action ourselves, we may be awash above our heads before we know it. If we don't all contribute positively, we could all sink or swim. No one likes to go down with his or her ship.
Humor can't rescue us; it only at best fills some holes...and dulls or softens or delays our reality. Nursing or wishing a captain back to health won't plug holes or stop the flow either. We all better realize we are all in this boat together,
"We are either part of the problem or part of the solution."
So which end of our vessel are we positioned?
Are we balancing or bailing?