Friday, July 22, 2005

Apollo 11: Human Achievement Day!

On our present calendar there days in which to 'Remember the Spotted Whale' ands more than one 'Poke a Sharp Stick at the Capitalist Day'; they litter the calendar all they way from here to the next 'Say Sal'aam for Noam Chomsky Day.'

So I was disappointed to find I'd missed a proposal by Objectivist Center head Ed Hudgins that "A new [commemorative day] should be added to the calendar - informally rather than by government decree: Human Achievement Day -- July 20th, the date in 1969 when human beings first landed on the Moon." On July 20th, suggests Hudgins,
let's each reflect on our achievements -- as individuals and as we work in concert with others. Let's recognize that achievements of all sorts -- epitomized by the Moon landings -- are the essence and the expected of human life. Let's rejoice on this day and commemorate the best within us with, as Rand would say, the total passion for the total heights!
Great idea! To add to the celebration of this particular achievement, have a look at NASA's page commemorating the moon landings, Google's own Google Moon interface (make sure you zoom right in), and an excerpt from Ayn Rand's terrific 1969 article paying homage to the achievement:
What we had seen, in naked essentials - but in reality, not in a work of art - was the concretized abstraction of man's greatness...

That we had seen a demonstration of man at his best, no one could doubtthis 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 beingan achievement of reason, of logic, of mathematics, of total dedication to the absolutism of reality.

Frustration is the leitmotif in the lives of most men, particularly todaythe frustration of inarticulate desires, with no knowledge of the means to achieve them. In the sight and hearing of a crumbling world, Apollo 11 enacted the story of an audacious purpose, its execution, its triumph, and the means that achieved itthe story and the demonstration of man's highest potential.

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