Wandering through the bitfields, I just came across this 1995 photograph of Michael Gernhardt floating 200-miles over the Earth on a six-hour spacewalk. I zoomed in and looked in awe for a couple of minutes, pondering the chain of events, the Herculean effort that put and kept this man alive in space.
Just look at that suit. That suit alone represents the genius and knowledge of generations of scientists and engineers. It's the product of millions of man-hours spent in the development of materials, life support systems, and microelectronics, among a hundred other things. And that's just the suit.
Think about all the rest. Think about the men and women who get inside those suits. Think about the men and women who designed and made those suits. Think about the history of space exploration. Think about all the science and sacrifice that was required to put this human in space since the times of Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Kepler and Newton.
And now consider that having this human tinkering around with satellites in orbit is just a tiny gear of a much larger machinery, a 10,000-year-long endeavor to push humanity forward and perhaps achieve a greater good.
Wonder about all that—and then think about how many people are going to look at this and say "bah, another photo of an astronaut in space." Think about those who will not even spend a second thinking about any of the amazing things that surround us, from chocolate bars to people in space, and instead spend a combined $320,000 a day (yes, three hundred twenty thousand dollars every day) on virtual clothes and crap for a digital doll of Kim Kardashian, a human who is the epitome of inanity, the successful concentration of all our failures as inhabitants of the "First World."
So please, allow me to get preachy this time, for when I look at this photo that symbolizes our common quest to be better, to know more, I can't help but to think about our current "I don't give a fuck about any of this shit that I never fought for. ENTERTAIN ME! FEED ME!" First World syndrome and is close brother, the "I'm not interested in knowing, knowledge is the tree of Satan" plague. Yes, allow me to be preachy only this time and tell you that, if you are one of these people, perhaps it's time to ponder about all the things about. To use the phone, the tablet, or the computer you are using right now to do something that is not just consuming something mindlessly. There's no excuse not to do this. You are part of a world in which information is a commodity and everyone can reach it. And critical thinking is always free.
Better yet. Turn it off and go enjoy whoever and whatever is around you.