I had the pleasure of touring the Kennedy Space Center recently and I found the entire complex to be a testament to human ingenuity and natural splendor. The feats of derringdo wrought from the various launch pads that dot this stretch of Florida coastline are impressive, and it is hard to imagine a more perfect setting – the dividing line between our verdant earth and its azure sea – for the many and varied expeditions undertaken to explore our place in the cosmos.
The Apollo/Saturn V exhibit and the Space Shuttle Atlantis experience were particularly captivating. The sheer size and mind-boggling complexity of these space vehicles demonstrate to what extent man will go to deepen his understanding of the universe and ultimately, of himself.
While seeing and feeling all of this I found myself wondering if we as a race have gained more by looking out than we have by looking inwardly. And as I looked out of the bus window at the commercial investments being made by Boeing and SpaceX, but again, I asked myself if man will ultimately profit more from probing the stars or examining his heart.
I suppose the distinction is somewhat arbitrary, for are not we woven into the fabric of the universe? I mean, who has ever looked up at the heavens and not felt a certain kinship with the twinkling stars? Are they really so different to the twinkling eye of one’s neighbor, friend, or lover?
To my mind, both outward and inward exploration are important if one is to fulfill one’s purpose in life. Ideally, these two would be balanced. Life flourishes in the counterbalancing of an ever-widening comprehension of the world beyond oneself with an ever-deepening understanding of the cosmos within.