The history of humanity, at least as taught in most schools, is really about two seemingly opposite forces: human innovation and human conflict. The same intelligence that lets us accomplish great things also pits us against each other. But sometimes, we rise above it.
Last week someone on Twitter said the COVID-19 pandemic may be the single most “global” event in human history. It’s happening almost everywhere, to almost everyone, at about the same time.
But we’re not coming together the way we did during, say, the 1969 moon landing. American astronauts made “one giant leap for mankind,” a victory that belonged to the world.
We got to experience it together, as best as the day’s technology and politics allowed, which was amazing. More amazing was that, for the moment, other conflicts faded away.
Now in 2020, we needed another such moment. The pandemic may be global, but it’s not pleasant or unifying. The SpaceX “Crew Dragon” rocket launch to the International Space Station, some 220 miles above Earth, was exactly the social distancing from our situation that we needed. We got to watch not only our country’s first manned launch in years, but the first time a private company sent humans into space.
To me, this is a metaphor of renewal. Great things can emerge from the ashes.
The May 2020 Crew Dragon launch with its first human passengers serves as an important reminder that we will get through this, and we will have a better world.
And it may feel as strange to hear this as it is to say it, but we will have more reasons to look to forward to the future … uncertain as it may be.
We truly are one globe of humanity. From space, we don’t appear to be far apart at all. Astronauts get the ultimate macro view; if only we could all get that same view.
Someday, we will. And with more opportunities to come together like this, maybe sooner than we think.
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