Japan is Still Reeling

Japan is still reeling from the effects of the tsunami.

The human tragedy, the physical devastation, the ecological destruction, the nuclear catastrophe.

When added together it will be generations before the country fully recovers…if ever.

Clearly earthquakes and tsunamis are inevitable. And despite all of our modern technology and know-how, they remain the same kind of inevitable they have been since humankind started recording them. And I’m not sure that any sea wall will ever contain the fury.

I have been obsessed with this since the terrible event – wondering what could have been done to prevent the full fury of nature unleashed – as I’m not that optimistic to
believe that we can ever stop the geo forces at play of shifting plates and ensuing forces and counter forces.

I say this as one who has an earthquake-tracking app on my iPad as well as one for hurricanes and other severe storm systems, including a tsunami advisory – all loaded long before Japan.

And therein lies my rage.

Because it is clear that so much of the catastrophe and its ensuing heartbreak could have been avoided – despite its inevitability. But not as you might think.

I have written already about the callous disregard for anything but profits that has put the world at risk because of the leaking radiation.

But little did I realize that a warning system existed in Japan and that it was ignored – blatantly…in fact. More to the point – it wasn’t an early warning system – but a clear and precise protocol for averting disaster.

Called the Tsunami Stones, many have been in place for over 400 years –  marking high water lines of previous tsunamis – and many were carved with specific instructions – like run like hell when the ground shakes or more specifically – do not build houses below this mark.

I was struck by the poignancy of it all as we have all read the stories of those who walked the sea walls confident that technology would stop the waves – only to be swept away with the walls – and while early warning systems and good training did save many – in fact most – it did nothing to stop or slow down the sheer destruction as homes and businesses – and lifetimes of memories – were destroyed in mere seconds.

Think about it. There was learning to be had. Learning that had been recorded and shared – not fleetingly through tweets or IMs – but for posterity on a fixed medium. Learning that was ignored and forgotten – no doubt because it seemed so old…traditional… dinosaur like…you get the drift.

Think about it – imagine if nothing had been built below those stones…imagine if the learnings had been heeded.


“Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.” Breton, Andre

What a powerful lesson. What a powerful thought.

My take is that we need to simply recognize way more in our lives and environment while stopping the charade of discovering new and unique that is merely recycled and used.

How much more powerful will be all at our disposal if we lost the illusions and concentrated on the real.

So while I check my apps – I will be looking for high water marks in my real life…

Your thoughts?

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