Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Amazing engineering and how we should be careful of our view of it

This post was prompted by the Tom Scott YouTube video (found through Digg) linked below.

On the one hand I really enjoy hearing, and empathizing with, the enthusiasm that Mr. Scott so effectively expresses here, as well as in his other "Things You Might Not Know" videos. The wind break construct built to protect container shipping entering the Europort docks in the Netherlands is quite a feat of both collective action, and engineering.

That being said, however, I just wish that people like Mr. Scott would chose his words a bit more carefully when expressing what we can do, and what we can conclude from a nominal perception of success. Our time reference after all, not to mention our ability to consider the full depth of complexity in any complex, natural system, is limited to say the least. What might seem like putting Mother Nature in her place can be no more than human shortsightedness in far too many instances.

We truly need to do big engineering. As a sentient species it is a part of what makes our presence validated in all aspects of being able to act and express. We need to be careful, however, in the mindset we bring to the table of change, just as we exercise care in the ways we effect change. We must strive for a balance between our pride in what we can accomplish, and a profound sense of humility for our place in the bigger picture of existence. Vast though our abilities might become to bring about change, they will always be puny in comparison to the larger fabric in which we exist in. If we don't keep that sense of awe and wonder alive and well, we are in for a never ending series of rude awakenings.

How The Netherlands Stopped The Wind

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