Lightning never strikes twice - or does it?

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Yesterday we visited the United Deities for their ruminations on holy visions, and I think it would be instructive to stay with them for another day...

Yesterday we visited the United Deities for their ruminations on holy visions, and I think it would be instructive to stay with them for another day...

1. The chairgod said they should perhaps now turn to the second item on the agenda, which was human reaction to tsunamis and other natural disasters.

2. Zeus said he thought that they had already dealt with this one a month ago. A human month, that was. In divine terms, it was a second ago. When you were immortal, time did not have a lot of meaning.

3. The chairgod said that when you were immortal, surely time had no meaning at all.

4. An ancient Japanese hill god said that when you had been at as many of these United Deities meetings as he had, time tended to drag very heavily indeed. Luckily, being a god, he had divine patience as well.

5. The chairgod asked the Japanese hill god politely if he could remember previous discussions on tsunamis and similar disasters.

6. Easily, said the Japanese god. There had been plenty of them in the past. And they had all come to the same conclusion.

7. After a long pause, the chairgod asked what the conclusion was.

8. The Japanese god said he was sorry, he must have dozed off. In any case, he assumed that everyone present being all-powerful, they could all have read his mind to find out what the conclusion was.

9. The chairgod reminded the Japanese god that all gods had agree to waive their supreme powers while in conference, otherwise no discussion was possible, or, at least, not much fun.

10. In that case, said the Japanese god, he could reveal that on all previous occasions when there had been a celestial discussion of natural disasters and their effect on humans, the gods had always been amazed by the human compulsion to rebuild in the very place where the disaster had taken place.

11. In his own country of Japan, for instance, when earthquakes had flattened a city, they had rebuilt the city in the same place. In other countries, when a volcano had erupted, and wiped away civilisation, men had rebuilt their colonies at the foot of the volcano.

12. In California, at the very present time, millions of people were living on the San Andreas Fault, aware that it could implode at any time.

13. And now, in the wake of this tsunami, people were donating vast fortunes so that the victims could rebuild their communities in the devastated places. It made him think that people never learnt.

14. On the contrary, said a Hindu god or goddess with six arms, people did learn. They learnt that lightning does not strike in the same place. They were right to rebuild in the old place. It was as safe as anywhere.

15. On the contrary, said an old Welsh god. People were always rebuilding on flood plains after their houses were washed away, and seemed surprised when it happened again. People did not learn.

16. The chairgod said that a special all-god celestial committee had been set up to study this very point, and that their report had been published 20 human years ago. Their conclusion was that more study needed to be done.

17. Same old story, said Zeus.

18. Not quite, said the chairgod. The committee had recommended specifically that the planet Earth should be hit by a huge asteroid in the near future, to see whether humanity then decided to decamp elsewhere or stay and reinhabit Earth. It would be a tsunami study on a grand scale. This plan had now been activated.

19. Zeus inquired on what date the asteroid was due to hit Earth.

20. Soon, said the chairgod, but he could not remember the exact date. Could they now move on to the next item, which was a proposal to ban smoking at these sessions...

More from the gods soon, I hope.