50 years ago Apollo 11 accomplished its mission, planting an American flag on the moon. I remember watching as it landed, late at night for us watching live from the East Coast.
I am too young to remember hearing President Kennedy vow in 1961 to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth by the end of the decade, a stunning accomplishment, so prescient of him to have proclaimed it, to set such a concentrated focus as to deliver a moonshot. Now the phrase to “shoot for the moon” means to aim high, beyond all reasonable expectation.
50 years ago a nationalistic imperative drove the race for technological supremacy; today the ambition to dominate the Earth’s environs is stated boldly but without much backing, either in resources or in the unified collective will.
“If they can send a man to the Moon, why can’t they…”
Everyone old enough to remember the Apollo 11 moon landing has heard those words that come from the other side of high achievement, this expression that makes it sound like technological accomplishment is now an entitlement, or that life’s little problems should all be taken care of by now:
“If they can send a man to the Moon, why can’t they fix the potholes in the streets?”
“We can send a man to the Moon, but I still have to put up with this stupid can opener (that is such a struggle to operate).”
50 years ago, “if they can send a man to the moon” was ever and only stated in irony and frustration at the little glitches in the way things work, the shortcomings in innovations designed for the common good, the idea that technology could solve all our problems.
If we can send a man to the Moon, why can’t we end war?
If we can send a man to the Moon, why can’t we address climate change?
If as a race we could apply the same force of attention, to commit all of our resources to cleaning up the planet, we ourselves could defend this planet and all we who inhabit it. So what is it that hinders us, that makes this question a real and practical one and not just a joke: why can’t we focus our attention, united against a common enemy to forge our will with high purpose as in days gone by?
The enemy in the days of the Cold War of the last century was familiar and recognized, the staging of war on human terms long practiced. Now we are unfamiliar ground in a competition with off–planet plunderers. for the right to maintain sovereign rule over our native planet.
We have become so diffuse in collective focus, so internally competitive, that our attention has been distracted from the most compelling necessity of our life, the sanctity of the planet, and so outside forces feel free to invite themselves in to salvage what we have betrayed.
Their tools are subtle and we are at a disadvantage in this war, which is being waged through influence in the mental environment, as described in the previous post on this site. Our blindness, our distraction from what matters most to the survival of our species, the discord and division among us are all exacerbated and deployed by the alien races who are adept at influence in the mental environment, a technique that becomes more understandable as we see nations leveraging opinion in the mindset of their competitors in recent years.
What is necessary, then, is for each and every citizen of the planet to “dedicate yourself today to ending war within the world by ending war within yourself so that you may be a peacemaker and a peacekeeper,” (Steps to Knowledge, Step 288) and to commit all resources we have to preserving our integrity and sovereignty.
Weak and divided, you will not remain free in the universe. Other groups, intervening groups, will gain access to your leaders and to the sources of power in this world. If you are weak, indulgent, divided and in conflict with yourselves, you will be fundamentally weak and vulnerable in the universe.”from Adapting to Great Change