quantifying the importance of death
in the aftermath of the Indian ocean tsunami
Now, they say that Cumbre Vieja (if I spelled it right) will go 20 kilometers inland (yeah ... sure) ... probably more like 2000 yards. You may start the "death-circle-jerk" now if you wish for surely ...
It's a pitiful thing but it happens pretty regularly ... like every day. Yup, every day about a million people die on the earth ... they just don't die in one place or from the same cause. The ones who died in the latest catastrophe will cause a ten percent blip on the death charts for that day.
Remember this equation ...
The importance of death is proportional to the square of the number (N) of people who die from the same cause (that's usually in the same place too) multiplied by the "oddness" (O) of the cause on a scale of 1 to 10
If 100,000 people die today from heart attacks ... that's not newsworthy because it has an oddness rating of say, 1/10. If someone developed a prophilactic for heart attacks, it would be big news (in the west) but not as big as the tsunami deaths. This is because "death" is more important to the majority of people than "life". And this in turn is because death is considered "good" ... it's a release from life's troubles (read here "the necessity of independent thought"). Death means that you don't have to think anymore.divided by the distance removed (both physically and culturally) from the hand-wringing people who weren't involved (again on a 1-10 scale but raised to the power of the selected value) and the time over which the event occurs (also a 1-10 scale).
If it's all at once it's more important than if it drags out interminably. So, the importance of the flu pandemic of 1918 which killed about 20 million is downgraded somewhat. Hence, the temporal division.
= The Death-Ejaculation Rating
Thus, the tsunami has an oddness rating of about 7 and a cultural removal rating of about 6 ... so ...
Now, for comparison, the WTC had this ...
So, the World Trade Center disaster was at least twice as important as the tidal wave deaths.
My equation is of course something I made up on the fly. But there does exist such a cultural equation (I have no doubt whatsoever). It would look something like what I've just made (perhaps it would have some logarithms in it too and the constant "e" thrown in for good statistical measure). Such a hypothetical equation doesn't appear to be related to race, religion, culture or time you live in. It would be just as valid in ancient Rome as now. The big difference is that now we can be aware of much more than they were. So, we are "empowered" to do much more hand-wringing and can feel good about helping out the less fortunate (but only when the situation is odd and not chronic ... like starvation ... which is their own fault ... so you can't get any brownie points with God for helping them out).
The true reason that so much emphasis is placed on such events now is that they are so heavily documented by moving pictures from a million handheld cameras and distributed by the media for their own "ends" (not just to make money but rather, to have you wallow in the swill of your perceived vulnerability ... to shove your nose in it ... just to show that they can do so ... as an end in itself ... thus embodying the fact that it is "they" who are truly in control of civilization).