Let Men Burn Stars

What happened to humanity? Where is my working jet-pack and my flying car? The Jetsons, NASA and pretty much every science fiction writer living in the 1960s made it clear that flying cars were just around the corner. They said that in the year 2000 we would be able to walk into the nearest dealership and drive off with Chevrolet’s newest brand of flying automobile. And we believed them. The ’60s were really that good.

From about 1780 to 1960, mankind invented everything we have today. Sure, that new iPad looks good and does even more but it’s not in the same ballpark against the invention of electricity, running water, central heating, air conditioning and the jet engine. I keep asking myself: “What happened? Why did technology stop?”

I concede that the end of the Cold War put a damper on things, and incessant Wall Street investors screwed people out of their money and stopped the economy going and I’ll even agree that cars have gotten safer, computers have gotten faster and communications made everyone able to talk to everyone else instantly. But that still doesn’t explain the lack of progress in what I’d call “Human achievement”.

We’re no closer to solving third world hunger. We’re no closer to making a feasible alternative to fossil fuels. And we are no closer to a base on the Moon or a manned mission to Mars. These things may not even be so remote. I’m not talking time-travel or teleportation here, just a simple flying car. How hard can it be? Yes, difficult, but not impossible.

We should have a planet-wide committee. A conglomerate of nations striving for achievements in humanity, whose job would be to inspire everyone to reach out and explore. We’ve mapped the continents and, with the exception of certain deep ocean beds, explored all there is to explore on Earth. It’s time we gave in to our primordial instinct of getting out of the cave and seeing what’s in the next valley and start up what Gene Roddenberry called “The Federation”.

Star Trek was ahead of its time, but that’s what the ’60s were: mankind looking forward to a bright future. Then the ’80s happened, but that’s another story.

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