Monday, August 27, 2012

“…a giant leap for mankind.”

There can only ever be one first-man to walk on the moon.

imageNeil Armstrong, 1930-2012

In centuries to come, when man has slipped the surly bonds of earth and begun to colonise the moons and planets, the name of Neil Armstrong might be the only one from the last century still remembered.

To the Conquerors of Space, “Bravo!”

But has their enormous achievement conquered the culture? Like hell, said American literary critic George Steiner in 1994:

Nothing is more symptomatic of the enervation, of the decompression of the Western imagination, than our incapacity to respond to the landings on the Moon. Not a single great poem, picture, metaphor has come of this breath-taking act, of Prometheus' rescue of Icarus or of Phaeton in flight towards the stars.

Apollo 11 enacted the story of an audacious purpose, its execution, its triumph, and the means that achieved it—the story and the demonstration of man’s highest potential.” As the number of men still with us who have touched another celestial body rapidly diminish, the demonstration has still failed to find a commensurate cultural response.

image
Cartoon by xkcd

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