The Titanic’s silver lining

Everybody agrees that the sinking of the Titanic was a massive human, commercial and technological tragedy.

The ship cost $7.5 million to make ($174 million in today’s dollars). It was the biggest ship afloat on the sea – a technological marvel at its time. However, within two hours of striking an iceberg, it sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. Over 1500 people lost theirs lives and it wrenches the gut to read about their individual lives.

Despite these losses, the shipping industry and the world gained from this disaster.

The Titanic was celebrated for being the biggest ship ever made. Had the Titanic not happened, we would have built even bigger ships, and at some point, one of those ships would have resulted in an even bigger tragedy.

Since the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage, it dealt a massive blow to the movement of sailing on behemoths. We humans realized that large ships weren’t ‘unskinable’ – rather that the larger the ship, the more prone it was to massive failure. In effect, the loss of 1500 people ended saving more lives by preventing future tragedies that would have been even larger.

The Titanic was fragile, but it made shipping stronger. The loss of 1500 people was a tragedy, but they saved many more. The builders of the Titanic were arrogant, but the tragedy made humanity more humble.

Inspiration: Antifragile

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