Motives & Manganese

In June 1974 billionaire playboy Tony Stark, uhh… I mean Howard Hughes,  launched the Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE).  At 618 feet and 36,000 tons, the ship was a pretty impressive sight.  Reports said it had the capability to pick up 5,000 tons of ore off the ocean floor each day.  And what kind of ore were they looking for – gold, silver, platinum?  Actually they were reportedly looking for manganese.

The story gets stranger.  It turns out that the whole manganese story was an elaborate cover up.  The CIA had invested $800 million (~$3 billion in today’s economy) to commission the HGE.  The plan was to recover a Russian submarine (along with its code books and nuclear warheads) that had sunk and was now sitting on the ocean floor under 16,500 feet of water.

The sub broke apart during the recovery effort and the elaborate plan never succeeded.

It seems to me that people are often more complicated than the most elaborate cover up.  We do things for the strangest reasons.  Sometimes the reasons we give for doing things have bear no resemblance to our actual motives.  And sometimes we ourselves don’t seem to understand our own motives.

I think that’s one of the reasons the Lord commands us to withhold final judgement on others.  We don’t know why people do the things they do.  Our knowledge of any situation is limited as our viewpoint is one-sided at best.

Giving others the benefit of the doubt is difficult, but it’s no more than we expect for ourselves.  When we have a bad day we expect others to be understanding, but when someone snaps at us we often jump to conclusions and assume the worst about the person.  Before I get upset at someone I try to slow down and understand their motives.  Sometimes it helps to count to 25… the atomic number of manganese.

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