Saturday, August 2, 2014

Lost Human Potential & How to Save Our Civilization From Oblivion

When I was growing up in Florida, I remember seeing rockets flying overhead. First on their way into orbit carrying the Gemini capsule, then on to the Moon with Apollo. I'm to young to remember the Mercury missions in live thought. I do have vivid memories of the Saturn V flying across the Florida sky in all its glory. I remember it looking like the picture provided below. It was awesome in the extreme!

Saturn V

We delighted ourselves watching Star Trek, with our old friends Captain Kirk, and Mr. Spock on the television, and dreamed of a day when our civilization would do as they in real life. We thought we were on that path, and embraced science and technology wholeheartedly. Our generation was convinced that we were on a continuing path towards the stars. That was then, and the cold war ended. Along with it ended our nations dedication to that cause.

What we thought was a dedication to science and exploration turned out to be a contest of one-upmanship between the United States and the Soviet Union. As soon as we convinced ourselves we had won that contest by placing humans on our moon, and safely bringing them home, our focus turned from exploration to low Earth orbit, and the placing of communication & GPS satellites around our planet. This was the building of part of the modern electronic infrastructure we enjoy today. We could of had much more.

In 1970 our nation spent 1.92% of the Federal budget, or $18,768,000,000 on the space program, in 2007 dollars. In 2012 our nation spent 0.48% of the Federal budget, or $16,014,000,000 in 2007 dollars. During the 42 years between the dollar amount, in 2007 dollars, has varied little, and the percentage of the federal budget has kept shrinking. By my estimation, if our space program had the same funding, as a percent of the federal budget that was had in 1970, our nation would be spending $64,158,653,846 in 2007 dollars.

All figures in the preceding paragraph are from this wiki; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA#Annual_budget.2C_1958-2015

Feel free to check my math.
((100/.48)*$16,014,000,000)*(100/1.92)=$64,158,653,846

During that same 40+ years education spending hasn't fared much better, and welfare spending has increased almost 4 fold. Check the chart below. It is in 2009 dollars, but I think that is close enough for this purpose.



I hope by now you suspect what I'm getting too. I am saying our nation dropped the ball when we ended the Apollo program. I believe that if our society had kept spending on NASA and/or space technology and development, and education at proper levels, keeping up with inflation we wouldn't have such massive welfare spending now. I believe we would of avoided the recessions we have endured, along with the suffering the accompanying high unemployment levels caused. Furthermore, our nation would have avoided the massive federal debt we find ourselves saddled with.

The reason I believe all that is because if we had of kept up the forward momentum we had then, our nation would have these following things;

1. A highly educated, and skilled workforce.
2. Industry in orbit, on the Moon and on Mars.
3. The harvesting of asteroids for metals, and other elements.
4. Greater wealth for all due to items 1, 2 and 3 in this list, giving us less welfare spending.
5. 40+ years of developed civilization on the Moon, and Mars.
6. A more stable, and sustainable industrial base.
7. A higher level of technology than we have at this point in time.
8. Less degradation of our ecosystem.
9. Less global conflict.
10. An open ended cause that everyone could feel like they were contributing to, and claim ownership of.

I'm not saying our leadership failed us on purpose. They probably didn't know any better. I know Richard Nixon didn't know any better. He was a corrupt, short sighted man, who was focused on the perceived problems of his times. He was lacking in enlightenment, and showed it in his attitude with race, government, and authority.

All that Nixon stuff is food for a whole other article. I mentioned it just to show the type of thinkers who brought us to this. Still, you should get the over all picture of what I'm going on about by now. We could of been much better off. It's almost like we've been going through a modern day Dark Ages. It is like real human advancement was put on hold in favor of other things we thought were more important, but really were not. Our society was to primitive to know any better. Now we do know better.

I've mentioned in the past of how the bank bail-outs, and such was enough to fund several Apollo size projects in other articles, but it is worth mentioning again here. I'm mentioning it because corruption is a part of the problem. Misguided federal policy weighs heavily into it. Infighting between the political parties, and no real direction for our society too! The issues that has caused us to go down the failed path we have chosen are many and complex, but there is hope. It is not to late! Not yet anyway.

I do believe there could be a time in a civilizations advancement when if they do not choose the right path, they could be stuck in the quagmire of stagnation forever. When the infrastructure of civilization becomes to anemic, and fragmented to take on such high goals, that civilization could very well be in danger of it's progress being brought to a halt. I've heard of theories saying an advanced civilization could fail due to global war, but I haven't heard of an idea where our civilization is brought to its knees due to short sighted goals, greed and corruption. When I look at the news, I get a feeling our world is going down that dead end path.

I think if we turn it around now, we have a chance to avoid all that failure. It is going to take a lot of work to repair the damage. It is going to take all of us working together, and steadfastly to achieve that goal. What a goal too! We can grab that brass ring, and reap the rewards! All of us can. We don't have to march down that road to oblivion our misguided leaders have started us on.

Are you ready? Write your congressman and congress women. Tell all of your friends that there is hope and of how it can be achieved. Remind them of our human potential, and give our world's people a common goal. We are capable of it. We can have it if we want it. All we have to do is stop the fighting among ourselves, and turn our attention to the great future I know humans can have. Educate our people properly. Invest in the expansion of industry, and civilization beyond our planet.

Let the people 500 years in our future be able to look back on this time as when our society changed course for a better tomorrow. Let them not look back at us and curse us as fools who selfishly wasted it all. It's up to us to make it so.