Jeff Bezos and the life-changing magic of going to space
In 1990, NASA’s Voyager 1 was about to leave the solar system when Carl Sagan, then on the mission’s imagery team, got what he had been asking for for a while: a photo of Earth 6 billion kilometers away. Sagan wrote later about this image of Earth at this distance in his book Pale blue point. I will quote at length because it is really beautiful:
“From this distant point of view, Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us it’s different. Consider this point again. It’s here. It is the house. It’s us. Everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you’ve heard of, every human who ever was has lived their life.
“… How frequent are their misunderstandings, how impatient they are to kill each other, how fervent their hatreds are. Our postures, our imaginary sufficiency, the illusion that we have a privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
It is in this great tradition that Jeff Bezos launched into space on a rocket shaped like a huge pig. Bezos is one of a few billionaires who are pioneering a company – his own called Blue Origin – that plans to send commercial flights into space.
Blue Origin has to sell this business, and what they’re offering – the pitch – is this: you can’t really get the life-changing magic of seeing the awesome insignificance of Earth without, well, going into it. ‘space. You don’t even have to travel 6 billion kilometers. You can just open and come back. Among the astronaut influencers solicited to talk about going to space in a pre-recorded ad that rolled over to the YouTube company minutes before takeoff was Mike Good, who spent just under a month in space on two missions, and said, “It really can’t help but change your life, it changes your perspective. Having this experience makes you feel smaller.
And Jeff Ashby, who has made a total of 436 orbits around the Earth, said: “I find it very interesting that people can look at a photo of the Earth taken by an astronaut, but they don’t get that change in there. interior than actually being there in space gives you. It’s one of those things that you kind of have to do.
This is one of those things you must do! The pitch is that you can’t really see how insignificant you are until you actually get up and look back and everything is small then you better go. You better go to space! You literally have to stand up to fully experience how small and insignificant you really are, personally, and we are, more generally.
Many people think that these men and their efforts to know space is just another illusion of greatness, just another escape of privilege, just another money making opportunity for those who have had enough. Conquered the world, eh? Well, let’s go to space then. But what if that’s the only therapy option for the big guy? No normal therapy will do, even if schools qualify specialists satisfied the absurdly rich and their special challenges. Bezos is the richest man in the world and he just has to go to space to face it.
The thing is, in order to amass enough wealth to justify having a bunch of engineers and a flight crew send you to kiss the skies so that you can finally feel some perspective, finally locate your place in the world, you strength having to develop a business that is, Say, complicate things on Earth that you look back on. So you get the money that requires the spatial experience that helps you realize that you are just a grain and that there is no point in amassing all that wealth. Weird stuff!
If Bezos’ new rocket company is to keep its proclaimed promise before launch, it is changed by the experience of space, then the value of its mission, the reason one could pay a lot of money for it. going up there, can be measured by how much it changes Bezos himself. We’ll know the space is worth it for its transformative reasons so suddenly, upon his return, Bezos, I don’t know, puts a little more effort to change the conditions over which he presides back on this same Earth. Or at the very least maybe he starts to pay a fair share of income tax?
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