Guest Post: Ten Minutes After The Titanic Struck The Iceberg

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Ten Minutes After the Titanic Struck the Iceberg

We are like passengers on the Titanic ten minutes after its fatal encounter with the iceberg: the idea that the ship will sink is beyond belief.

As we all know, the "unsinkable" Titanic suffered a glancing collision with an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912. Ten minutes after the iceberg had opened six of the ship's 16 watertight compartments, it was not at all apparent that the mighty vessel had been fatally wounded, as there was no evidence of damage topside. Indeed, some eyewitnesses reported that passengers playfully scattered the ice left on the foredeck by the encounter.

But some rudimentary calculations soon revealed the truth to the officers: the ship was designed to survive four watertight compartments being compromised, and could likely stay afloat if five were opened to the sea, but not if six compartments were flooded. Water would inevitably spill over into adjacent compartments in a domino-like fashion until the ship sank.

We can sympathize with the disbelief of the officers, and with their confused reaction, simultaneously reassuring passengers and attempting to goad them into the lifeboats. With the interior still warm and bright with lights, it seemed far more dangerous to clamber into an open lifeboat and drift off into the cold Atlantic than it did to stay onboard.

As a result, the first lifeboats left the ship only partially full. Only when it became undeniable that the ship was doomed did people attempt to "make other arangements," but by then it was too late.

The tragedy was a cruel mix of human error (entering an ice field at nearly top speed, 23-25 knots), hubris-soaked planning (only enough lifeboats for half the passengers and crew) and design flaws: the high-sulfur iron hull plating did not bend when struck by the ice, it shattered like china.

As noted above, the watertight compartment design was also flawed; indeed, some studies have found that the ship would have stayed afloat an additional six hours had there been no watertight compartments, as water would have sloshed evenly along the entire length of the vessel.

I think this perfectly describes the present. Our financial system seems "unsinkable," yet the reliance on debt and financialization has already doomed it, whether we are willing to believe it or not.

Maybe the illusion that the ship is unsinkable can be maintained for another year or two; the Status Quo's success in masking the ultimate fate of the financial system for the past four years supports the belief that there is literally no limit to the Federal Reserve and Treasury's power to keep the ship afloat, regardless of the cost. In other words, the Fed and Treasury are perceived as "unsinkable."

That illusion has cost trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars of new debt that now burden the taxpayers: $2 trillion added to the Fed balance sheet, $1.2 trillion in secret giveaways to the banking cartel, and $6 trillion in additional Federal debt/spending.

Yet few of us are willing to entertain an exit from the belief system that supports the Status Quo. We are like passengers on the Titanic ten minutes after its fatal encounter with the iceberg: we can't believe this grand ship could sink, so we do nothing while it is still possible to influence our fate.

In my new book Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change, I explain how structural flaws doom the financial system and government finances alike to either default or destruction of the nation’s currency. There are no other end-points.

We could insist on changes to these doomed policies, but we do not; why?

Some of our reluctance can be attributed to disbelief, as the gap between what we know is inevitable--the ship will sink beneath the waves--and what we currently see--a proud, mighty ship, apparently only lightly damaged--is so wide.

But if we delve deeper, we discern how calculations of risk and gain yield faulty assessments of self-interest. While the ship appears structurally sound, it seems risky to clamber into an open lifeboat and drift away into the freezing night, while the supposed gain (saving our life) is questionable: from the warm deck of the ship, it seems that climbing into a small lifeboat would place our life far more at risk than staying on board the mighty ship.

This assessment of self-interest was tragically flawed, and by the time the impossible (sinking) had become the inevitable, it was too late to change the fate we’d selected back when all seemed permanent and secure.

The point of this exercise is to reveal just how illusory our assessment of self-interest and security can be, and how prone we are to making decisions based on the present even when our rational minds are well aware that it is unsustainable.

The financial system of the United States of America is like the Titanic. Hubris led many to declare it financially unsinkable even as its fundamental design was riddled with fatal flaws and the human pilots in charge ran it straight into the ice field at top speed.

We have some time left before the ultimate fate is visible to all. Ten minutes after the collision, the Titanic's passengers had 2 hours and 30 minutes before the "unsinkable" ship sank. How much time we have left is unknown, but the bow of the ship will be visibly settling into the icy water within a year or two--and perhaps much sooner.

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fightthepower's picture

Fuck you Bernanke!

Matador's picture

Sexspearean eloquence !!!

CharlieSDT's picture

The USA hit the iceberg years ago.  Maybe in 1971.  We've been taking on water ever since.

SilverTree's picture

Its all gonna end with WWIII.

JPM Hater001's picture

Like I said...a real psychological barrier at 13000.

Light up.'s picture

Paul supporters do not take kindly to those who tell them what they must do.

Clay Hill's picture

If RP doesn't go 3P, I'll pull the lever for the Kenyan just to piss you off.

Abiotic Oil's picture

Yep.  The establishment GOP's treatment of Ron Paul supporters has been so completely horrid since 2007 that if the nominee is anyone but Paul I'm going full-african as well.  Not like there is a big difference between Romney and Obama anyway.

There is no way Romney can beat the Kenyan anyway.

Dangertime's picture

I'm a huge Ron Paul fan and I've very much thought the same recently.


There is an old saying......The best way to kill a bad idea is to implement it as quickly as possible, and make sure everybody knows who's idea it is.


It almost seems a no-brainer to vote the dip$hit in for another four years.

silverserfer's picture

I'd rather carve my eyeballs out with a butterknife than vote for that fucktard Romney. God he pisses me off. I dont see how any conservative would vote for him. Were so fucked. GOD DAMMIT!

MisterMousePotato's picture

As long as you're thinking about alternatives, you might want to consider voting for the Green candidate. If the Green Party candidate gets 5% of the vote in a state, they become eligible for all the same goodies as the other two parties (taxpayer funding, inclusion on the ballots, etc.)

I agree that Romney is not going to beat the Kenyan. Voting for either is a waste of an opportunity to siphon off votes from the evil party long term. Wish there was a similar opportunity impacting the stupid party.

knightowl77's picture

If you vote for the f%^$ing kenyan you'll get exactly what you deserve

SilverFish's picture



That was awesome. I'm gonna use that one on people if you dont mind.

malek's picture

Wow, the RINO's must be getting really nervous if they resort to such desperation tactics.

battle axe's picture

The Iceberg is called IRAN.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Wrong, the iceberg was the rejection of a gold standard or some standard that kept the moral hazard in check and allowed for the consequences of fucking fraud to remain harse.

At this point, literally dropping fiat from helicopters will be just as "effective" and lead to the same end game.

francis_sawyer's picture

In this version of the Titanic, it's not women & children first...

Instead, all the bankers run to the lifeboats (one banker/politician per lifeboat), & lock everyone else in 3rd class...

Silveramada's picture

the small boat in the pic. is people with Pm's getting saved from the Titanic while Ben, Tim, Obama & co. are FIXING THE CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC AND TELLING THE BAND TO KEEP PLAYING MUSIC...

Buck Johnson's picture

I agree with you, and for the other poster I believe also they will go to war before allowing the US economy to implode.

BLOTTO's picture

1. The unsinkable Titanic sunk…on its maiden voyage. How could this unsinkable ship sink? On its first trip, no less! That alone is quite remarkable/intriguing

2. “Captain E.J. Smith ignored multiple iceberg warnings from his crew and other ships.”


3. Speaking of J.P. Morgan, he had his very own private suite and promenade deck on the Titanic. He was supposed to be on that fateful maiden voyage but canceled passage


4. Once the Titanic struck the iceberg, the captain and his crew used white flares to signal distress. Unfortunately, white flares are not the color used to signal distress; red flares are always used to show distress. So the closest ship, the Californian, ignored the flares, assuming it was a celebratory signal, rather than an emergency

5. “All ships must carry sufficient lifeboats for the number of passengers on board. The Titanic did not

6. “About three million rivets were used to hold the sections of the Titanic together. Some rivets have been recovered from the wreck and analysed. The findings show that they were made of sub-standard iron. When the ship hit the iceberg, the force of the impact caused the heads of the rivets to break and the sections of the Titanic to come apart. If quality iron rivets had been used, the ship may not have sunk

7. “The belief that the ship was unsinkable was, in part, due to the fact that the Titanic had sixteen watertight compartments. However, the compartments did not reach as high as they should have. White Star Line did not want them to go all the way up because this would have reduced living space in first class


8. Killed on the sinking ship — along with 1,514 other people — were Benjamin Guggenheim, Isa Strauss and John Jacob Astor. Astor was, at the time, believed to be the wealthiest man on the planet. Guggenheim and Strauss weren’t far behind Astor. And these three powerful men opposed the Federal Reserve.


these three powerful men opposed the Federal Reserve.

these three powerful men opposed the Federal Reserve.

these three powerful men opposed the Federal Reserve.

tonyw's picture

"5. “All ships must carry sufficient lifeboats for the number of passengers on board. The Titanic did not"

Way back then it was not the law that ships should have sufficient lifeboats for all passengers and crew. that came after the accident.

Element's picture

Ya know the thing I don't get is why each 'water-tight' compartment was ... open at the top!

WTF is 'water-tight' about that?

Winston Smith 2009's picture

I think you've got that wrong, son.  I'm the one who is fucking you.


Mo' Money Ben

Straying from the flock's picture

The only problem here is, unlike the captain of the Titanic, uncle Ben has a helicopter to whisk him away as the ship is sliding to its final resting place. 

The Titanic is the normalcy bias in action.  How could so many intelligent people not try to save themselves?  It is the "This can't happen here" mentality that prevents action in the face of certain danger. 

The mathematically enevitable collapse of the dollar will change our paradigm forever, and rest assured, it will collapse.  The writing has been on the wall for a long time.  The iceberg is long in our rearview, but we are taking on water.  Not to fear; I can still hear the orchestra playing.

One problem. My feet are getting wet.

trying to make sense of it all's picture

Yes, I thought of you, Straying while reading this article.  I read your blog regarding Normalcy Bias and I sent your "Open Letter to My Friends" to all of my friends and family.  Don't doubt that people are starting to wake up.  My sister is now the proud owner of 6 whole ounces of silver (she's so proud).  Thank you for helping me to educate those I love.

Straying from the flock's picture

Thank you for your kind words, there are very few out here.  I am trying to lead by example, and not preach to the choir.  Your action is what is going to change this country and the mindset of the entire world.  Have no doubts, we in America are not alone.  This time, the entire world will be witness to the end of the paper ponzi scheme. 

p.s.  Your sister has a smart brother.

trying to make sense of it all's picture

Correction, my sister has a "trying to make sense of it all" sister. :-)

Straying from the flock's picture

Forgive my assumption. Thanks for the lesson in humility.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

you have very little, don't you, asswipe?

start using the box at the bottom of the page or i'll call yer little toy-boy ass out like your worst EX-jarhead fantaZy

i mean it son

yer bahavior is outa line

please listen to reason or i'll spread you all over this site in front of the whole world

trust me

slewie the pi-rat's picture

oh--see my post below if you're too "semper" to understand what i mean, shithead

Straying from the flock's picture

I am at a loss.  I have never directly spoken to you, I have never spoken ill of you on this or any other board, and I am not sure what your issue is with me.  If you do not like what I have to say, simply do not read what I write.  If is because I am linking my blog in my comments, I am guilty as charged.

This is a forum to seek and spread information.  I have only tried to share my personal beliefs and what I am doing to prepare for what I see as the end of the way of life that we know it.  Twice now, you have tried to use the fact that I am a former Marine to speak ill of me.  Do you have some hatred for the military?  Or is it just my spamming that bothers you?  I have yet to recieve an email or contact fromt he zero hedge people about violating the TOS.

I can handle someone who disagrees with my point of view.  I do not agree with badmouthing someone because you need to try to tear someone down.  Never have you made a counter-argument or told me where you thought I was wrong.  Instead you choose to call me names.  Please stop lurking and explain why you think I am wrong. 


blunderdog's picture

You're spamming.  Copying/pasting the same comment or link or anything else to multiple threads is a major discourtesy on the innerwebz.

Slewie generally only borders on coherence, so it's not a big deal if you didn't understand him, but it may turn into a big deal if you ignore the criticism and continue with the spamming.

Straying from the flock's picture

Thanks for translating.  I was unaware that it was such an issue.  I will try not to offend the spam police in the future.  I am new to the blogosphere and have much to learn about the etiquette of posting.  Again, thank you for explaining it without resorting to profanity and name calling. 

trying to make sense of it all's picture

Keep writing. My family has bookmarked your blog.

slewie the pi-rat's picture


no problemo

just spam in the box at the bottom of the page, is all


and...after only two weeks of innocently not being able to undertand me telling him to stop jumping zH strings to spam, too...


here is your second post (of 15 now) and, thank you for helping make my point:  

01/25/2012 - 15:40 2097258 trying to make ... Semi-blind trust. I listened

oh!  here is your first post:

01/22/2012 - 21:13 2087288 trying to make ...

First post. I'm almost afraid

trying to make sense of it all's picture

Thank you blunder dog for letting us know of the proper etiquette on the innerwebz, but frankly, my dear...
All bets are off right now for getting the word out. I just don't give a damn. And Slewie, you know I love ya, but STFU. Thank you.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

listen,  you little cunt, this is zH, not the "innerwebz"

do the math, asswipe!

and shut the fuk up! your sorry self, you little Bich!

trying to make sense of it all's picture

Wow Slewie. Are you on your period? The word "innerwebz"  was the word used in the comment above.  Having a bad day?


slewie the pi-rat's picture

i know!

blunderdog used it to try to explain what slewie is trying to say to you asswipes about spamming, trolling, and causing problems on zH (..."my dear"...)

as i said to you already, you are nothing but a viscious little cunt

nice try, tho

just tell yer asswipe "fearless leader" to back off on the string jumping for the eternal website spam

then, you toy-boys can go run along and play, ok?

or just go back to your room together and rub each others' medals for being such intelligent "heroes"

just stop the spamming and "innocent trolling" about same

it won't work here;  this is zH

you've done enough damage and you're making absolute fools outa yourselves keeping up this nonsense about string-jumping spamming and your ridicuous "families"



msamour's picture

I would disregard Slewie. Half the time I don't even understand the meaning of what he writes, the other half I just ignore him/her/it (whatever he/she/it may be). The time has come for me where I filter irrelevant information as it is not useful in anyway.

If you ignore the morons they go away eventually...

slewie the pi-rat's picture

i don't care if he's here

i probably welcomed him myself

i don't care if he pushes his site here, either;  he's been jumping tyler's strings to spam for two weeks now, i'd say;  so, we're having a little chit-chat about that very thing, while he innocently pretends this is the first he's been able to understand me, to save his little toy-boy "face"


StychoKiller's picture

slewie the pi-rat != slewie the pi rat

slewie the pi-rat's picture


i have nothing to do w/ clonie's appearance here;  nor the one that left a week before the new one, either

tyler knows this, even tho you don't

why would you go there about me, stycho?  get an offer you couldn't refuse?