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Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 - Why Do We Care So Much?

03/04/2014 14:07 BST | Updated 02/06/2014 10:59 BST

Nobody might ever find one scrap of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

It's not just looking for a needle in a haystack. Considering the size of the ocean, and the amount of other rubbish floating around, it's like looking for a needle in haystack that's full of needles, and the haystack is the size of Australia.

Also, how long does debris float for before it sinks? I have no idea. I suppose it depends on the debris.

Nobody's giving up the search anytime soon, however, and as long as we keep consuming the news reports about it, the reports about it will keep coming, forcing the search to continue.

Much like the Madeleine McCann or Princess Diana tragedies, the investigations will continue although there's no new real information, but because people still care enough to buy things with this story on the front page.

In twenty years there's likely to be some poor bloke in a fishing boat with a pole and a pair of binoculars still sifting through the ocean for that elusive black box.

I'm just waiting for the conspiracy theories to again gather momentum.

Early on they were bouncing around, as anyone with an opinion was able to get it published, in order to supply a hungry public with more theories on what might have happened, with very few bothering to ask how likely it was that any of it was true.

In a bar the other night... I don't want to be specific because as a comedian, I'm in a bar nearly every night... The consensus among the group seemed to be that flight MH370 would be found in some terrorist friendly country, with everyone on board alive but a little hungry.

I wish everyone on that plane was still alive, but I doubt it. As I base my opinions not on hope, but on the best information available. Except when it comes to football, which is the only way to explain why I barrack for the St. Louis Rams in the NFL and West Ham in the EPL.

To find out the best information on any subject, don't look at what's most popular, exciting or sensational. Life is not a movie, and although what's most likely isn't as exciting as what you can make up in a bar over a few beers, it doesn't mean it's any less likely and current expert opinion seems to indicate a horrible accident, after a series of midair mishaps.

Still, why do we care so much? Every day there are disasters around the world where more people perish.

However, every hour we're updated on the possible fate of flight MH370. Although it's been missing since March 8, 2014 and the amount of new factual information that has become known has totalled zero since around March 9, 2014.

We care so much because it could've been easily been anyone who's ever flown anywhere on that plane.

Then if nobody can explain what happened or why it happened, what's to stop it happening again?

What we've glimpsed with this issue is the fragility of human life, and the random and meaningless way the most precious thing any of us have can be snatched from us in an instant.

Alain de Botton was recently in Australia, and on this issue he's said far more, and all more eloquently and more intelligently than me.

He says, "a news addiction age" prompts people to crave regular updates at the expense of quiet contemplation.

So after reading each new article about the new nothing that's now known about Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, stop and think why you care so much.

Finding out what caused this disaster won't help you deal with it. Instead, contemplate why you care so much, and you'll glimpse the real issues behind this disaster.

So while I'm still a writer and comedian, this has been a lot more thoughtful than funny. However while not every tragedy can be explained, it's also true that not everything's worth joking about.

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His first book 'Mining My Own Business' about life on a mining site is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

Catch him at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from March 27 to April 20.

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/mining-my-own-business-xavier-toby

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/2014-when-we-were-idiots-a-comedy-walking-tour-hosted-by-xavier-toby