Friday, December 12, 2008
Ships That Pass in the Night
If you have never been to sea, it is just a phrase that succinctly captures a chance encounter. But ships really do pass in the night, and often in a setting that is as tense as it is transient. There are elaborate rules that govern each such passing; they cover in minute detail the lights that will be displayed and the signals that will be exchanged. The International Rules of the Road also tell the mariner which ship will enjoy the right of way in a given situation, and the Rules distinguish between the burdened and the privileged vessels by setting forth the steps that each will execute in the careful dance that is designed to avoid the terrible consequences of contact. So, even as the human experience has precisely codified the behavior of vessels on the high seas when they meet in darkness of night, why are we often rudderless and confused when we meet other humans in the light of day in familiar places on dry land?
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Last updated on December 10, 2008