Yesterday, the cover story of the life section of USA Today is about America’s space exploration, or lack there of due to the recession. Next to a picture of a satellite is Brad Pitt’s year-old beard.
God I love my country*. (P.S. this is a *sarcasterick)
The thought of exploration forced me to think of what good has come from exploration in general. Sure, there has been expansion, which has now lead to a population problem, but has it ever really satisfied mankind?
My father has made comments to me throughout my life about man’s need to discover and explore. “It’s what we do.”
From my point of view, which happens to be seen through the form of a Southern white female (although I would argue my shape-shifting abilities), this drive hasn’t really lead us to a place of peace. It has always ended in war. It has always ended in dividing rather than unifying. It has created more labels to argue for or against.
Should we continue space exploration and discover more intelligent life, what do you think the odds are that we will end up fighting them? I have a feeling they already know about us and are just waiting for us to kill ourselves and then they’ll come in and restore our planet.
I was watching a National Geographic movie called “Journey to the edge of the Universe.” Sometimes I feel like that geek in science class who falls in love with the mystery of how we are even alive. Seriously. We are the only planet in our solar system to be perfectly aligned to allow life. How does that not give you chills when you realize this incredible truth?
And how do we celebrate this life? By watching the Golden Globes and argue over who is dressed better? By paying attention to Brad Pitt’s beard instead of human beings in need in Haiti?
I am not saying that our drive to solve problems hasn’t helped us progress as a species. Modern medicine has helped people to survive. I wouldn’t say live, because most of the time you have to pay an outrageous medical bill, which causes you to work more rather than live.
I just can’t help but share the question that stays on my mind every single day.
“What are we doing?!?!?!?!”
Observe what you do on a daily basis. Does it make you feel worth anything? Maybe I’m just really a depressed person. Or maybe I’m just trying to wake some people up so we can LIVE together.
Are we driving technology or is technology driving us? Weren’t we supposed to invent this so we can live simpler lives? When is it supposed to happen?
I’m still waiting.
Maybe I’m just a nutcase who doesn’t know what to do with my own life and I am selfishly shaking up everyone else’s. Or maybe I’m just relaying the message I get when talking to dozens of people a day who talk about what they wish they could do and what they really do.
I am not biased either. I’m not talking to just one genre of people. It’s not just college kids and professors. It’s people working at a grocery store, or music store or bank. It’s people standing next to me in line. It’s people at restaurants. It’s people in public office. It’s engineers. It’s teachers. It’s people in retirement homes.
Except for maybe some kids. Kids who still play outside and have imaginations. They are few and far between.
What’s the point of this ramble?
Although space exploration is important, I question the intent behind it. We already have so many problems here that we can’t take care of. Should we really add more to our plate anyway…just to be proud and say we were the first? Where has being the first gotten us anyway? Let’s sink that money into our current state of reality to make it better. Let’s focus on how to LIVE together. Then maybe one day when we are actually ready to handle the consequence of discovering a vast space, we will be responsible enough to follow through accordingly.