Sunday, May 17, 2009

Precocious Prophecy 5/17/09

We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

Thomas Paine
Come in, make yourself comfortable.
A band leader once said "No matter what tune you play someone will come out to dance." Sometimes I wonder how people get set up as teachers. I have written about Mr. O'Conner, my elementary school science teacher, who, when in my 11 year old enthusiasm and interest in the solar system said that I would like to go to the moon, scornfully said "Don't be ridiculous. Man can never go to the moon." I bet if I hung out a sign offering instruction in something I don't know anything about, someone would come knocking at my door to sign up.

Yesterday I spent a few hours watching the astronauts repairing the Hubble telescope. It still amazes me how far we have come in space technology since Mr. O'Conner's faulty, authoritative pronouncement of "scientific fact."

Another thing I note with astonishment is, after all the comings and goings of earth life, the societies, the governments, the tribes and nations, wars and trade, the history books and artifacts collected and gathered into museums, we still know very little about this place we live on, this globe floating around in space for no apparent reason. We live on one tiny, insignificant speck on the nose of the universe and Hubble keeps giving us more and more information of the immeasurable vastness of it all. But there is still something else even more amazing.

When Mr. O'Conner gave forth with his "expert opinion" man had never been to the moon, yet. During the NASA program there was a lecture about the plans to put astronauts on Mars; 6 months to get there, 6 months to poke around, 6 months to get back. Considering the starscapes presented to us by Hubble, a trip to Mars seems like a baby step. And so it is.

There are those who think all this space exploration is a total waste of time, money and resources. Those are the same people who did not wish to precede Thomas Paine and his friends. But those who did, did begin the world over again: two new continents, a new story and a new way of life. As Margaret Thatcher said, America was built on philosophy.

Is there life on Mars? It's likely, in some form. Is there intelligent life in our solar system or in some distant galaxy? Most probably. And that means we are citizens of the universe. It means our world is now part of a larger society, a grander civilization than we have known. Our world is much larger than it has ever been. It's a new world, begun all over again.

In 1959 my girl friend and I went to a Dave Brubeck concert at the Revere Beach outdoor stadium outside of Boston. While listening to "Take Five" I leaned back and stared up at the clear night sky and saw a slowly moving star. It was Sputnik. orbiting overhead. Sputnik's successful journey began the world all over again with one small baby step.

Ii is in our power to begin the world over again, every day.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
You have a happy Sunday now, your hear me?


Linda S. Socha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda S. Socha said...

I accept your invitation to a happy Sunday. I would likea day of smooth sailing so I am inviting that day and will smile as it arrives and stays for me.
Thanks DB. I appreciate you and what you write.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

An out of this world entry :o)

Beth said...

Another important reason for the space program and NASA is the many discoveries that have come and are yet to come, things that can be used right here on our little rock. I'm not sure I'd want to live in a world without Velcro, and we have the space program to thank for that. :) Hugs, Beth

Gerry said...

Yes, our concept of limitations sort of become meaningless when we look into the vastness of the universe. That is a comforting thought when someone is determined to make our world too small. I used to dream that I was a giant who could barely fit my body into the little house that was my world (Alice in Wonderland) and finally I just lifted off the roof and walked away (from that too small world) And lost my feelings of suppression. I think it is so important to keep a window open to the vastness of space and therefore human possibility. Gerry

Rose said...

Hmmmmmmm! I also had a Mr. O'Conner as a teacher in Revere, MA.

Wow, amazing you had those inner feelings at such a young age.

I too, loved the concerts on Revere Beach!

Great Entry.

Hugs, Rose

Arlene (AJ) said...

It's amazing what we've all been lucky to enjoy because of the space program and what progress it's brought to so many of our lives...believe many people don't realize all the space program has done to improve our lives in all manners, be it our health, new day to day inventions. Plan to enjoy our May 17th Sunday as it was my first date with my hubby. Have a good one your way DB.

Big Mark 243 said...

Dave Brubeck rocks!! This was a cool entry, and I think it speaks to what small minds exist and the surprising places they can be found. Why would a man of 'science' think that a way into space could not be found, is amazing!

Char said...

Thanks for this post. It's wonderful!

Anne said...

Oh what a delightful memory. Anne