Between December 1968 and December 1972 twenty four men flew to the Moon and returned safely back to Earth. Half of them actually landed and walked on the Moon’s surface.
They claimed to have accomplished this amazing feat (with the help of around 400,000 other American citizens, including a group of naturalised German rocket scientists, engaged in the Apollo Project) for ALL mankind, although the political motivation was America’s Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union.
The standard and highly recommendable account of the Apollo Project was published in 1994 by Andrew Chaikin, which I first read and was enthralled by some years ago. I reread it recently and decided to give a new copy to my next-door neighbour’s young son for Christmas. However, I was very disappointed in the cover of the new edition, which comprised just the American flag, the Stars and Stripes,stretching right across the front and round the spine, where its corner was held by an astronaut’s gloved hand. The rest of the astronaut, saluting the flag, filled the back cover (link to Book covers).
The message was clear: putting men on the Moon was a purely American achievement. America was certainly instrumental in putting men on the Moon, but the real credit must surely go to western civilisation, beginning with the ancient Greeks, as a whole. It was no accident that all the men who went to the Moon were European Americans, as were the vast majority of those who sent them there – and brought them safely home again.
I see Apollo and the Moon landings as the climax of European civilisation and a symbol of what Europeans can achieve when they put the minds to it. Since then it has been in decline, as our mercenary, career-and power-obsessed political, business, media and academic elites lead and bully us into a globalised, post-racial, i.e. post-European age.
If this post-European age held the promise of a just, humane and sustainable future, I would be reluctant to speak out against it, but it doesn’t. Quite the contrary, our globalising world is on course for disaster, because, as I elaborate on in other blogs (e.g. Viking Bankers), the power structures which underlie our civilisation (its institutions, particularly of state and economy), are deeply rooted in our own, misplaced and perverted, Darwinian nature, which is driving us to exploit both our natural and human environments to (self)-destruction.
Only, we don’t recognise our situation or what we are doing, because at a subconscious level we rationalise everything, our brains having evolved to interpret and maintain an environment favourable, from a narrow and short-sighted perspective, to itself. For most of us this means maintaining the status quo, more or less as it is, while trying to maintain or improve our own status within it.
Surviving this new century is the biggest challenge our civilisation has ever faced – only we are not facing up to it, because we do not clearly recognise what the challenge is, let alone how to face up to it. Most people realise that we have some pretty big problems, such as nuclear proliferation, climate change, environmental degradation, diminishing natural resources (e.g. peak oil), mass migrations, overpopulation, etc., but fail to see how they are all connected and ultimately have a common cause: our own, misplaced and perverted Darwinian nature. The enemy is within, within our own society and within our own selves, both of which have been shaped and continue to be dominated by our own Darwinian nature.
Once we’ve recognised this we can BEGIN to make out the challenge, the scale of which is pretty daunting -as, not so long ago was the challenge of putting men on the Moon. Men had dreamed of journeying to the Moon long before it became even remotely feasible, which it only became after a great deal of work had been done in developing an understanding, in the material sciences, of what it would involve.
We are not in a position to face up to the challenge posed by the perverted Darwinian nature of our civilisation at the moment, because currently we have far too little understanding of it. In fact, most people, because of the taboos that are in place (social, political, religious, economic and psychological), don’t even recognise this as the root cause of our problems. Unsurprisingly, given that it involves questioning the very foundations of state and economy we ALL depend on.
Only when they can see at least the outline of a viable alternative will most people be prepared to seriously question the status quo. It is just such an outline that I am developing and want to convey to others. An outline is all it is – and a broken one at that – which many others will have to fill in the details of.
What makes me think that my alternative is “viable”? I have to admit that this is pretty much an act of faith – in the validity of my own insights and in human nature being capable of making it viable. What I’m quite sure of is that the status quo is not viable, but inherently unsustainable. If our civilisation is to survive this new century, we must make truly radical changes to the foundations on which it rests.
The way forward is for us to start organising OURSELVES, peacefully and grass-roots-democratically, instead of continuing to allow state and capital to do it for us.
When J F Kennedy gave the go-ahead in May 1961, and provided the funds, for putting an American on the Moon by the end of the decade, most of those involved where inspired by the challenge, which then gave a huge extra portion of meaning and purpose to their lives. They had a goal which they worked at with all the skill, passion and dedication evolution had equipped them with to secure the survival and success of their original TRIBES and NATIONS, which the American STATE – or NATION, as they saw it – now represented.
They showed what is possible when highly intelligent men and women are united by a common cause that they passionately believe in. They saw and identified themselves as “Americans”, of course, although the vast majority were of European ancestry – not coincidently, since the science and technology they needed to develop and apply in order to achieve their goal was overwhelmingly the work of their fellow ethnic Europeans in the continent they themselves originated from.
The most common example of such intense and passionate cooperation for a common purpose and endeavour is when nations – or those believing themselves to be nations – go to war. When the ancient Greek tribes, or city states, united against the common Persian threat to form a single Greek nation, they achieved their goal. But typically, once the goal had been achieve and the Persians defeated, the Greeks reverted to their usual state of disunity and fighting amongst themselves, thus exposing themselves to conquest first by the Macedonian and then the Romans. Similarly with the Apollo Project, once it had achieved its goal of beating the Soviets to the Moon, interest and government support waned and was finally withdrawn. Man’s excursion into space beyond low earth orbit came to an end.