The world is, indeed, flat. But, it’s vertical, and small enough to exclude everything that was ever important. Like the value of life.
Did anybody see the press release?
Boeing pilots transitioned to the 737 Max 8 by taking a “self-administered online test” which made no mention of a critical program, the MCAS (maneuvering characteristics augmentation system) which ultimately brought about not one, but the two, deadly crashes now part of our visceral history.
I can recall testing, when I was a child. The memories are also visceral.
You studied all week. The night before, your mother (the woman who bore you) would ask you the pre-test set of questions which either your best teachers had already devised and provided as study guides, or those which she herself had composed after thoroughly perusing your test material. Biting your nails and squinting, you answered them until they were all correct. Then, you went to bed, squirming with anxiety in anticipation of the next day in the Court of Assessment.
Granted, some of us conquered testing by sheer memorization, the rote kind, devoid of actual comprehension but note-perfect and able to be recited in a heartbeat under pressure.
Those of us who knew that getting good grades was the only path to a good job and a secure life took our tests seriously. We really couldn’t have cared less about the students who blew them off by cheating or skipping them entirely. We were in it to make it. We were that proud.
Oh; and, the proctor. The proctor was always live. That teacher never left the room, not for a second. Eyes on our eyes, the whole time.
Wow. Can you name the number of things which have changed, since our day? How long is your list? Bullet points?
Can we fully imagine that those who take some 182 humans lives in their very hands, every day, as soon as they step into the cockpit, wouldn’t be at least as serious as we were when we were just kids?
We can’t blame the pilots. It’s the testing system, itself. What robot is responsible for the “self-administered” online questionnaire, in the first place, and which computer genius was it who enabled the software? And, above all, which flight specialist designer overlooked including the critical component change ignorance of which brought down the planes?
Gone is the age of accountability. In its place, software. A series of apps. Nobody looks over anybody’s shoulder, anymore. Nobody looks at anybody, or anything — except the screen in front of them. We’ve managed to get sucked into an alternative universe, one with only two dimensions. Flat.
When Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, though they may have tried valiantly all the King’s minions couldn’t repair his shell. But, maybe, once enough body parts are collected from the rubble of a shattered jet, somebody will look up and face what’s really there. In three dimensions.
That’s the test. Will we pass it?
3/22/19 *originally published at Medium.com as Two Plane Crashes and the Absence of Accountability. Ruth Ann Scanzillo.