Gift of the Sky

Some automobile insurers—most, if word on the street can be believed—may not be the good neighbors they once claimed to be. Good neighbors do not pick locks, steal wallets, empty savings accounts, and snatch purses. In reality, automobile insurers do not behave quite that badly, either, but their reputations are getting worse with almost every passing day, thanks to the rising costs of insurance premiums. The costs of car insurance increased by roughly 14% last year, the largest jump in more than 15 years. The chief insurance officer at the Insurance Information Institute expects rates to climb another 13% this year. Already this year, costs have climbed about 22%, though that figure may decline as the year wears on. Many factors have played into significant increases in the cost of premiums in recent years—COVID and the supply problems associated with the pandemic; out-of-practice shut-in drivers returning to their vehicles (and having more accidents); increasing prices of car repairs, especially with new technologies costing considerably more than in years past; etc. The latter cause had not occurred to me. It makes sense, though, in that car manufacturers are being told to incorporate more and more expensive technologies into their cars…and those technologies cost more to repair. Mid-way through the worst of COVID, the reduction in the amount of driving seemed destined to cut the cost of car insurance, but only to those of us who failed to give sufficient thought and analysis to “unintended consequences” of the changes we should have been able to predict. Oh, well. Would we have been prepared for big increases, had we given the matter enough critical thought? Probably not. We are not especially good at anticipating the many ramifications of change as change ripples through systems. With adequate analyses, we might foresee the impact on car prices of the costs of launching GPS satellites into space, but humans spend our time, instead, predicting winners and losers of the Super Bowl and other such vital human endeavors. I wrote about the subject of car insurance premiums no long ago; I wonder whether my thoughts were closely aligned, then, with my thoughts today? Not that it matters; my thinking will have no impact on what I pay for insurance.


Spices from India are undergoing evaluation by various governments around the world because some have been found to contain various pesticides, etc. that are harmful to humans. That is bad news, from my perspective. I love Indian food (though I rarely have it); if it is potentially dangerous, though, I probably will steer clear of it. That having been said, I will try to keep my eyes open to news about tainted Indian spices; I’ll keep an eye on, where I first read about the matter, and will read Consumer Reports for news of product recalls and product warnings. It worries me that I feel obligated to allow governmental warnings and alerts to dictate my consumption of foodstuff. The world is different from the one our ancestors knew; and it is different from the one in which future generations will live.


One hundred years hence, no one in my present circle of friends, family, and acquaintances will be alive. That includes me, of course. Yet I have read that I cannot fathom my own death; I have read that none of us can. Hmm. There is nothing to fathom, I suppose. Life and death are two sides of the same coin; at least that’s what we tell ourselves, as if that statement has any practical meaning or value whatsoever. I should think we long ago would have learned that, after billions and billions of humans have been born and died, pretending each life is somehow sacred and unique and deeply meaningful is pointless. The vast majority of the billions who have lived and died have been thoroughly forgotten. Their familial relationships no longer matter, nor do the relationships with and between their friends or enemies or acquaintances. I suppose this artificial sense of majesty and wonder that surrounds our lives does us no lasting harm; but it might cause considerable grief in the short term. Why, I wonder, do we feel compelled to attach such reverence to life? Perhaps it is because consciousness is the only experience we know; and we equate consciousness with life. Or maybe it’s something else. I doubt I will ever know; not with certainty, anyway. Most people are satisfied to believe life teaches us eternal, sacred lessons. Wisdom accrues as we age. But so does gullibility, I think.


Days drift by aimlessly. World events occur without my consent. I have absolutely no impact on the movement of the Sun, nor on its temperature. If I had the ability to see, first-hand and unaided by technology, the dark side of the Moon, would that vision have any effect on the universe? My powers of persuasion are not adequate to allow me to succeed, but if they were I would like to convince the world’s population that every single day’s sunrise is sheer magic and is not assured…and that we should wake and express thanks to the sky for delivering light again on this day. Perhaps we’d all be happier?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.