Saturday, July 20, 2013

Apollo 11: Task Accomplished

"That we had seen a demonstration of man at his best, no one could doubt—this was the cause of the event’s attraction and of the stunned numbed state in which it left us. And no one could doubt that we had seen an achievement of man in his capacity as a rational being—an achievement of reason, of logic, of mathematics, of total dedication to the absolutism of reality."-- Ayn Rand

Celebration at Mission Contol.
Note that the banner says "Task Accomplished"
but no day follows the month in the date.
Completing my master's I had a class in advanced criminology theory.  The professor, Gregg Barak, prided himself on engagement; and he varied his approaches to the material from class to class.  Our semester, we read post modernism: so-called "science" is only a Euro-centric, phallo-centric narrative denying voice to oppressed peoples. The scientific method, according to them, does not work and is not how scientists actually accomplish whatever it is they do.  My reply - which brought neither agreement nor denial from my classmates, only disinterested stares - was that when the elevator technician tunes the drive motors that bring us to the seventh floor without fail, she does not rely on an arbitrary narrative. And if the elevator should fail, a fail-safe mechanism prevents us from falling to our deaths, again, not a mere choice of ideological symbols. 

The supreme achievement of the Apollo missions - and the NASA space program in general; and, in fact, the entire global enterprise of space - is a singularity symbolizing all of the very many achievements the we create every day.  We deliver these to each other in exchange and all parties benefit incrementally.  We take that for granted.  But every now and then, it helps to ponder and reflect on the depth and complexity of our time spent at work.


Aboard the International Space Station July 19, 2013
Four page excerpt from "Apollo and Dionysus" from The Ayn Rand Reader by Gary Hull and Leonard Peikoff on Google Books here.
The recorded original lecture "Apollo and Dionysus" on the website of the Ayn Rand Institute here.

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