There will always be people of limited vision telling us what’s impossible.
I’ve planted my hopes and dreams in the fertile fields of sci-fi, fantasy, and music because they are, by definition, the realms of unfettered vision. The kinds of people who dream of the impossible seem to inspire those who shave off the “im”. When we surround ourselves with people of vision, we extend our own- anyone with a child in a gifted program or advanced studies knows this.
Maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by people whose vision extends beyond our meat-based body’s lifespan, but the future really frustrates me sometimes. The pace at which homo sapiens crawls forward seems awfully slow as it is. For some reason, though, we let ourselves be tripped and obstructed by those who would rather just aim for a closer destination than chase that distant horizon. We vote for leaders who promise us the things we want right now, then wonder why our dreams of tomorrow keep getting pushed back.
Boldly Going Where No Idiot Has Gone Before
When Kennedy said we were going to the moon in nine years, nobody on Earth had a clue how we’d get there. Propulsion technology, computer technology, our understanding of biology and physics… none of these things could get us onto our neighbor’s soil when he addressed both houses of Congress and set the goal of landing a person on the moon and bringing them home safely. He must have stared into the faces of so many politicians- so-called “leaders” -and seen a field of obstacles and pitfalls. People lined up to testify to the impossibility of the task. To say it wasn’t worth the risk or the cost.
There were already enough obstacles and pitfalls between us and the moon, how could we let ourselves get in the way? Fortunately, we went. We shaved off the “im” and found it a lot easier to travel without that weight. It still amazes me that enough human beings shared that vision to get us there six times. And look how much we brought back from the moon: Velcro, Mylar, new rockets, tiny computers, a better understanding of gravity and human biology, some kickass photos, video and radio technology, and yes, some rocks.
But that’s the past. It’s always easy to see the horizon behind you.
Here’s a vision for you: We can be 90% fossil-fuel-free in ten years. Sure, in my reality, we zipped around space with crushed AOL CD’s in our fuel tanks, later to be replaced by dark-roasted coffee… but don’t let the comedy fool you. I don’t see us burning dead-dinosaur-parts until the end of time, something will need to take its place. Can we do it in a single decade?
Abso-fucking-lutely. Don’t you dare tell me it’s impossible. Maybe it’s not a sexy as planting a flag on another planet and drag-racing into the lunar sunset, but it sure would combine a whole lot of people’s visions.
Visions of peace on Earth. How many battles have been fought for oil? What nations are we viciously competing with for this dwindling resource? How many are starving because our food prices depend on the cost of dead-dinosaur-juice? I can see a world at peace, can you?
Visions of human life spanning far more than a century. How many diseases are caused by breathing the aftereffects of coal, oil, and gas? How much damage have we done to our soil, water, and air using this stuff? I can see a world that’s not killing itself, can you?
Visions of exploration. What new technologies and frontiers are we not exploring because we’ve spent our resources poking more holes in the Earth instead of finding better options? What kind of batteries and engines and God-knows-what could have been researched with the money it cost to plug the Deepwater Horizon disaster?
Like I said, the future frustrates me. When the people you hang out with dream of breaking the barriers of time, space, species, and reality itself, how maddening it is to be hindered by those with inferior vision. I am tired of tripping over the man-made obstacles when we could be dismantling the real barriers between us and that horizon.
I am tired of people telling me what’s impossible.
(I’m sorry, did you think I was going to talk about that guy from The Avengers? Yeah, he was pretty fucking awesome. But he’s someone else’s vision, not mine.)
Photo by ESO/L. Calçada