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Climbing on My Soapbox – What Happened to Us?



Posted by Steve

I’ve been watching the new Discovery special WHEN WE LEFT EARTH.  The series is an amazing six hour documentary chronicling the history of The United States’ space program.  The first two episodes have aired with the final episode airing on Sunday, June 22.   The first two episodes tell the story of NASA from putting the first American in space right up through the moon missions and even skylab.

As I watch men risk their very lives in the name of exploration, I can’t help but think, this is the pinnacle of geekdom.  How many of us have spent days on end travelling through space on the Millenium Falcon, the USS Palomino, the Battlestar Galactica, or God forbid…The USS ENTERPRISE?  How many of us have watched in awe as a shuttle is launched?  How many of us have imagined just what it must be like to break these earthly bonds and soar among the stars?  Most, if not all of us have dreamed at one point or another of being an astronaut, or a scientist, or both.  The  very idea of space ignites a flame in our very psyche.

The thing that strikes me most about the earlier days of the space program however, is just how much intuition, initiative, imagination, and plain old hard work went into making the impossible possible.  Which leads me to my question…WHAT HAPPENED TO US?!?!

By “us” I mean all of us, people.  Apparently, there was a time when the word “can’t” didn’t exist in our lexicon.  Apparently, there was a time when (as R. Kelly once sang) if we could dream it, we could do it.

Now, we wait for someone else.  We look to a government we don’t trust to bail us out of everything from a rising oil prices to a runny nose.  Now, we sit and complain about all that is wrong and never offer any solutions.  We look at all that is wrong and never attempt to make it right, and it happens on every level of lives from our geekdom to the real issues.

What happened to imagination?  What happened to motivation?  What happened to the spirit of doing the impossible?

I honestly don’t know.  I know that (as the old saying goes) if we can land a man on the moon we should be able to….insert acceptable solution to random problem here.  I guess watching what people went through and still go through to expand the bounds of our imagination, I was a little sad that there are so few people thinking beyond themselves and the problems of the here and now.

Quite frankly, if any group of people should be making a difference, it’s geeks.  So, let me use this moment on my soapbox to encourage you to put down your Acts of Vengeance Special Edition Trade Paperback, put off watching the 6 hour extended cut of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and (gasp) disconnect from the internet for a little bit to go do something for someone else, or even something to change your life for the better.

The next sound you here will be me crashing through my soapbox due to a rather high number that represents my weight.

11 Responses to “Climbing on My Soapbox – What Happened to Us?”

  1. Tareq Says:

    nice post. i have dreamed of going into space too. but i will NEVER disconnect the internet, not even for a little bit. sorry.

  2. Big B Says:

    Agreed Tareq…I believe another word for the Internet is:


  3. Kir Kanos Says:

    I disconnect from the internet all the time. I try my hardest to make an effort to get off my butt and do something constructive every day.

  4. NCN Says:

    Big Honkin’ decides to take a stand – I love it! Great post – Personally, I think that we’ve become a fear-filled society. We worry so much about… everything?… that nothing gets done. How can this change? Hmmm… I’m not really sure… But, I think it starts when each and every person adopts a positive view and begins to take personal responsibility for themselves and their actions.

  5. Tareq Says:

    doing constructive things is overrated. (unless you’re the president) what difference could one person really make? take this post as an example. it is brilliant! well written, moving, heartfelt, it totally makes me want to change my life! but only about 100 people have read it. so how much of a difference could it really make? not much. a change only happens when your opinions reach massive amounts of people.

  6. C~Rose Says:

    Great post Steve. I agree NCN–people need to start taking responsibility for their actions in the world. Own up.

  7. C~Rose Says:

    Tareq—-it’s people like you that make people like Steve say the things that he just did.

  8. Tareq Says:

    i’m sorry. i always see the glass half empty

  9. bighonkin Says:

    I say this, if, like Kir Kanos, we just try to do something to make a difference in our own life and one or two lives around us, there’s no telling how much that change will impact the world. I guess I just mourn the spirit of imagination and courage that the men interviewed on the show seemed to have had. I wish a lot of other people would capture it.

  10. Mose Says:

    we have no inspiration or patience to make these kind of leaps again. or atleast anytime soon.

  11. Laura Says:

    A co-worker and I once had this same discussion. She couldn’t understand why we continued to send probes to Mars.Her take on it was that space exploration was a continual quest to disprove the existance of God.Where I couldn’t agree with that assessment, I have often wondered since then, what are the motivations? Other than because it is there and we can? My thoughts are just because I want to know. But that doesn’t seem valid since I have not studied it. So my question is this, what do you want to know and why?

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