A World Without Accidents







A World with No Accidents

By George Clever    26 September 2013

Science is nothing but perception. (Plato)  Could it be that accidents in life are but a   matter of perception? (Clever)

Law:  The world of law defines an accident in a very limited sense.  It is an event occurring with no human being intervention.  You may call it “An act of God”, an act no person, anticipated, caused or could prevent.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, ice storms, tidal waves, droughts and floods are thought of as “accidents.”  This brings into question is God destructive?  Is there no purpose to his or her acts?   Let us consider accidental meetings, accidental birth, and accidental creations in music, writing and art or accidents in science leading to great discoveries.  Are they truly accidents or just a matter of limited human perception?   

Music: There are accidentals in music where a note whose pitch of class is not a member of scale or mode as indicated by the most recent applied key signature.  The music notation used is sharp (#), flat (b) or natural ().  These symbols are used to mark such notes where the composer deliberately throws in a change to raise or lower the notes from a previously normal pitch in place of sharps or flats.  Are they an accident?  Perhaps a slip of the pencil or a finger on a string or key where the ear says, “That is fine!  Keep it.”

Science: Penicillin is a legend of accidental discovery.  A Scottish biologist, Alexander Fleming went on vacation in August after working in his lab on a study of Staphylococci (Staph).  Returning to his lab on September 3, 1928 he found an unusual fungus on a culture left in his sink.  The fungus killed off all surrounding bacteria in the culture.  Medicine would never be the same after the discovery of penicillin.

Natural rubber was popular for waterproof shoes, boots and slickers as early as the 1830s.  It was a limited product unable to withstand below zero temperatures or extreme heat.  At that point rubber had no future, but Charles Goodyear was not convinced.  In 1839 he was demonstrating his latest experiment when he accidentally dropped the rubber concoction on a hot stove.  The burned, leather-like result had an elastic rim.  It was the discovery of weather-proof rubber.

Spasms of the heart’s coronary arteries is a serious condition with a resulting chest pain Angina Pectoris.  The Pfizer pharmaceutical company developed a pill UK92480 to constrict arteries and relieve pain.  The pill was a failure for that purpose with a surprise side effect.  You may know this drug as Viagra.   

Art: Bob Ross, American painter, instructor and TV personality said, “We don’t make mistakes in art; we just have happy accidents.  The fun in making art is in the discovery of unanticipated consequences. 

Literature: Author of the Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield tells us, “I don’t think anything happens by coincidence.  No one is here by accident.  Everyone who crosses our path has a message for us.  Otherwise they would have taken another path or left earlier or later.  The fact that these people are here means they are here for some reason.”  Writers have accidents that turn into inspired works as viewed by time and or critical eyes. 

Getting Real on Accidents: My neighbor’s daughter was in a serious “accident” this week.  At least that is what the police report called it, an “accident”.  Fortunately no one was seriously injured.  Here is the event narrative in her words.

            “I was turning left into a driveway from the center lane.  Cars ahead of me were stopped.  A lady walking a dog by the driveway waved for me to enter as she waited on the side.  Idrove across the other lane.  That is all I remember.”

A red Dodge Charger t-boned her car and totaled it.  She had major bruises, but was not seriously injured.  The driver and passenger in the other car were not injured when the airbags deployed.  After leaving the hospital the neighbor’s daughter had to immediately deal with towing charges, police and insurance reports, junk yard sales, and insurance claims.  All this was new to her, but was it an “accident” or a matter of limited human perceptions?” 

             One could claim the other driver, his passenger and the daughter were all on a journey together.  They all made decisions that day binding them to the finish in the collision and all that followed.  There are the obvious lessons for them to be learned.  A simple one is to drive defensively. A second lesson is to handle a crisis as an adult and not the daughter or son child of parents.  It would be foolish to list the learning possibilities each of the players in this drama will take away from this event, but these possibilities are now realities for each.  We all are here in this life for one or many purposes.  It is a learning process for lessons that concern the human condition.  Is this not what Jesus chose as man on earth, to learn the lessons of mankind, to experience what it is to be a human?  Each person we meet makes a contribution to our journey.  The events necessary for our life time of learning are not always easy, pleasant or safe. They are certainly not “accidental”.  Find the learning silver circle in every event you would call an “accident.”  We may not presently be able to discern the future, but we may be able to improve our perceptions of the present.

 Here is your teacher’s test for the day. 

 You may be a car driver or passenger.  At each intersection where you stop count the number of times a car crossing the intersection would have hit yours if you did not stop.

Think about the time of day and amount of traffic at this intersection.  Do you expect a car would be at that same point as your vehicle?  If not, why did you stop?  What if you did not stop?  It is a study for Mathematical Probability.              



Latest comments

14.04 | 15:16

Idealism killed by shot of fact.

14.04 | 14:51

This is a fascinating article.

03.06 | 00:41

Hello Frank,
Unfortunately, the turtle head has to come off and the insides discarded. I tried having ants eat it but they ate the shell as well. Sharp knife.

02.06 | 21:22

my turtle just died and I want to create a rattle.
How do I prepare him to do this.