"If We Can Put a Man on the Moon …"

I guess I should “fess up” right away: I have had it with people with no imagination. Today’s photo is of President John F. Kennedy, who had the imagination to see us get into space, and land men on the moon. Many thought this was an impossible dream, but with the “Failure is not an option” attitude of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (at least in the 1960’s), this “impossible” dream came true.
While this is the most compelling “dream comes true” story in my life, Human history is filled with stories such as this. And in today’s world, it really seems like we desperately need to write some more such stories. I am confident that we will. And I’m fed up with the closed-minded, no imagination types that seem to dominate completely our national discourse today.
Yesterday’s LA Times had a perfect case-in-point: an op-ed piece by Stan Cox. See:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-cox-ac-20100718,0,2258135.story
Mr. Cox is convinced that air conditioning is the root of all evil. No, I’m not kidding. Late in this essay, he states “But greater efficiency can’t reverse the unsustainable living.” (“Sustainability” has become one of the words I really hate in current public discourse. To me, it means that Humanity is incapable of improvement; the best we can hope for is to “sustain” things. No imagination!)
He continues that “in the millions of existing homes, workplaces and schools … the most important adjustment will be not in our thermostats but in our own comfort expectations.”
I get it! Our “expectations” are too high! I say to you, dear readers, “Nuts!” I am quoting General McAuliffe, commander of trapped American forces in Bastogne, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge. He uttered this famous response when his forces faced an “impossible” situation, and were asked to surrender to the German army. Instead of “certain” defeat, the Allied victory at this battle was one of the key turning points in the war.
Where is the next great idea coming from? How do we get ourselves out of the resources problems that confront Humanity today? I don’t know. But I am confident in the imagination and ingenuity of the Human race. We will find a solution. And it won’t be an “important adjustment … in our own comfort expectations.”
President Kennedy’s brother Robert is known for a statement he made while campaigning for the presidency in 1968. He was paraphrasing the playwright George Bernard Shaw, who wrote: “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?'”
Five Irishmen can’t agree on anything, but we — JFK, RFK, Shaw, McAuliffe, (and me!) — all believe in the indomitable Human spirit. If we can put a man on the moon, we can solve our resource problems. We need to stop focusing on lowered expectations, and start focusing on Imagination.

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