proust, F1, accidents, miracles, Romain Grosjean, Jyrki Järvilehto, Guermantes Way, angels, angelology


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This past weekend, Formula 1 racing commentator, Finnish Jyrki Järvilehto (on, said that French driver Romain Grosjean must have had the help of “his own and also some borrowed angels,” to survive a spectacular and horrific high speed crash. The accident marked a dramatic race in Bahrain. In defiance of probability and expectation, Grosjean emerged alive, relatively unhurt, from the wildly burning wreckage of his race car.

See it on YouTube.

The shunt was violent and to see him rise from the flames was surreal — can one say, almost religious? The car, traveling at 140 mph plus, had pierced an Armco crash barrier. Split in two pieces, remnants of the vehicle were instantly enveloped in fire. The conflagration raged for some 20 seconds before Grosjean jumped out.

“It felt like something from a movie almost, absolutely horrific, and a reminder to all of us — and everyone — motorsport is dangerous.” (George Russell, a competitor in the race.) Aside from rhetorical references to supernatural forces, the main credit for Grosjean’s survival goes to the so-called “halo” system. Meant to protect the driver’s head, a halo titanium bar protects the cockpit of the car.

The Grosjean miracle

Bahrain Island composes most of the country, located between Saudi Arabia on the west and Qatar on the southeast. This past weekend’s dramatic event now marks a spot on the google map of the circuit, as “the Grosjean miracle.”

The whole topic of angelology

Halo or not, there is still something amazing, transcendent, about the entire chain of events. — The question of miraculous events, angels, and so on. And, stories about human encounters with angels comprise a big library on YouTube. Universities and academic research have often ignored the field, but… that is not entirely true. I confess — I’ve never really had the opportunity to explore the field of “angelology.” Maybe I should have, because I too have had some experiences…

But for me, being more scientifically oriented, these investigations generally and more properly begin with physics.  For many however — those who might have had escapes from life-threatening situations as if by miracle — there is always the “also some borrowed angels” reality. It goes beyond journalism. In other words, religion and paranormal experiences do inject themselves …

Proust in Guermantes Way

Marcel Proust often captured the elusive phrase, the persistent but hard to define insight, in this regard. For example, the passage from The Guermantes Way, a book and work I recommend, and which includes this sentiment:

on ne se doute pas que la mort, qui cheminait en vous dans un autre plan, au milieu d’une impénétrable obscurité, a choisi précisément ce jour-là pour entrer en scène, dans quelques minutes, à peu près à l’instant où la voiture atteindra les Champs-Élysées.

We don’t suspect that death, which ambles within us on another plane, in the midst of impenetrable darkness, has chosen  precisely this day to enter the stage, in some minute, at the moment the carriage reaches the Champs-Élysées.

Until next time, friends.

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