Floris van den Berg

The parable of the drill-a-hole cruise


Emma and Thomas are enjoying their trip on a luxurious cruise ship. One day they find out that there is a small hole in the floor of the ship and that water is leaking inside. With a group of fellow passengers they decide to start a restoration project. There is a lot of discussion in the group whether or not the material and colour of the fill should match the surrounding material. Thomas and Emma never skip their favourite on-board workshop, the so-called drill-a-hole workshop where passengers can drill holes in the ship’s bottom floor. The holes accumulate and more and more water is leaking in. There are some concerned passengers who remark that the ship will eventually sink if the drilling does not stop and the holes are not repaired. When Thomas and Emma and their group have repaired one hole, they feel proud of themselves. Aboard ship there is heated discussion if the restoration of a hole should or should not be in the original colour. The ship is making water. There is no denying. The popular drilling workshops continue. Some suggest that the participants should use smaller drills and make smaller holes. Others suggest that the workshop should be held less regularly or that there should be fewer participants, or that only people who have not yet drilled a hole should be allowed to drill. Some say that they have paid a lot of money for this cruise so they just want to drill. Some passengers are concerned and don’t join the workshop, but they just keep quiet and respect the drillers in their freedom to drill. Some passengers try to model the amount of water, the number of new holes, the rates with which holes are repaired and the speed of the ship and when it is expected to reach the harbour. The modellers tend to be sceptic about their models because there are many unknown factors and it is a complex system. They do however enjoy their evening workshop drill-a-hole. There are anti-drill campaigns aboard ship. There are leaflets and documentaries like ‘The water is rising’ and ‘We are sinking’, which draw a lot of attention. One day the drill-a-hole participants find out that some of the drills have been hampered with. This incident infuriates most passengers and there is an investigation to ‘find those terrorists’.

– Floris van den Berg


“Always look from the perspective of the victims.”
Floris van den Berg

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