The Cosmic Perspective.
"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves." C. Sagan.
1969 may go down in the history books as the year humans left the realm of myopia and entered the realm of legend. The Apollo Moon landings are arguably the greatest achievement in terms of adventure, ambition, perspective and discovery, they are in summary greater than all prior human endeavors. Space is waiting for us to explore and un-weave its countless mysteries. With the knowledge that we can travel to the Moon, if we wished, one is left wondering what is the limit on human potential?
There is a profound lesson that was bestowed upon our species from venturing into the uncharted depths of the cosmos. The lesson is simple but perhaps it is the most important lesson of all, if we ignore this gift we all lose. If we take it seriously we not only gain the new perspective, but we no longer are limited by our own provincial myopia. The same narrow mindedness that resulted in the countless human tragedies of history would become redundant with this new mindset.
The reward from space travel is in the form of vantage, viewpoint or perspective, not financial, or social, or national or political perspective - although these are all effected by this new perspective. The real dividend of space travel is seeing the Earth, our planetary home, from a vantage point that no-one in history has ever had the privilege and honour to see. The cosmic perspective, the fragile Earth contrasted against the backdrop of the cold vacuum of space is the priceless and unexpected reward of space travel.
Now that we have access to the cosmic perspective is space travel no longer needed? Is the money better spent on Earth? After all going to space is expensive and there are countless problems down here that need urgent attention, and they are also expensive. My opinion is that one cannot put a price on knowledge. If one has knowledge one can have wisdom. The cosmic perspective enables us, and urges us, all of us, to build a just and sustainable civilization - something that we do not currently have, but desperately require (you may have noticed).
Simply put, the more people who value and actually grasp the significance of the cosmic perspective, the more we are compelled to help with the prescient issues on our own planet and continue reaching for further cosmic understanding. The two go hand in hand. We live at a time when we could be writing the final chapters of the human experiment, or alternatively as an enlightened species we could author the start of a new world civilization based on reason and evidence, and of-coarse the cosmic perspective.
“Sailors on a becalmed sea, we sense the stirring of a breeze.”
Thanks, Brady. 3fs.org.