May 6: a sudden frost

A few weeks ago amidst all the Covid regulations there was a sudden overnight frost. The next morning the roads had been gritted, I noted as I ventured out that morning. This is just one example of how the cogs of society turn to keep us safe. Since the Enlightenment or before we have incrementally built up the safety mechanisms that have now become so transparent that we take them for granted. This week i was reading about the probable cause of Napoleon’s death on the island of St Helena. Napoleon was obsessed by a particular tincture of green with which he decorated the house he lived in when on the island. At his death six years from having taken up residence there his body was riddled with decay caused by this particular type of paint. It was noted that the servants who lived and worked in the house with him were also afflicted by the poisoning. Every advance we make has to be questioned, checked, made safe by an extensive system of controls, so that we don’t suffer from some random side-effect that had not been factored in. Think electricity, gas, plumbing, sewers, broadband, roads, railways, planes, everything. The Enlightenment and its assumptions help our world to function safely. You believe when you switch the light on that light will come forth with no explosions. Why would you believe that a vaccine has not undergone the same checks? Why would you not believe that our complex society could not unmask a fake moon landing? How do you think you remain safe when you turn the gas on?

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