This story, especially in 2020, is important. First, just as an adventure story, like in my science fiction, someone is going to pay the price for the adventure. There is usually a character who will sacrifice their life for the better good. Sometimes, a character will charge into battle to give everyone else a chance to escape.
But in this story, that didn’t happen. With the crew of the Endurance, no one gave their life. No one sacrificed themselves. They all survived.
Now think of 2020. Think of COVID-19, and of the coronavirus, and how we, especially as Americans, have reacted to this pandemic. We didn’t jump into it all together and proclaim that everyone is going to survive. No, that didn’t happen. We didn’t even say, “hey one of you go out there and die for the rest of us.”
Actually, I guess we did. Early in 2020, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas said. “Maybe you should go out there and get sick.” His argument was that maybe if grandma and grandpa get sick, or something like, then maybe they will die, but that will be better for the rest of us. He honestly thought we were all fine with that. I called it the cult of death.
Now think of the first responders. Especially here in America, where we are always making a big deal about the first responders. Think about how they raced into the buildings on 911 and how they brought out survivors from the forest fires. Think about the mass shooting in Las Vegas when the cops went towards the bullets to stop that man from shooting all those people.
But in 2020, when it became inconvenient to support the first responders, when individuals were going to have their dinner interrupted, or their movie, or concert time dropped, or their basketball or football game cancelled, well then screw the first responders. Screw the doctors and the nurses who are working six days a week 20 hours a day to see our loved ones through this difficult time.
Those nurses and doctors are first responders. Every time an individual takes some selfish action to go to a game or a family gathering, people get sick. People go to the hospital, and people die.
So I want you to think about the crew of the Endurance and how they survived through 1914 to 1916 on the Antarctica ice. Some of these individuals ended up dying in World War One, where they died in combat. That’s a whole other thing if you have an ethical dilemma with violence the way that I do. All of them survived the 1918 flu, which was two years after they survived the Antarctic. I think that’s important. That the crew of the Endurance survived, and I think that it’s an important tail to revisit now in 2021.
Put aside those selfish desires and think about those crews in the hospitals. Those nurses and doctors and the admin people, the cleaning crew, everyone in the hospitals, and what they are doing to give the rest of us a chance to survive.