For centuries, human beings have been intrigued by the prospect of flight; the desire to break free of the earth’s gravity and soar among the clouds (and eventually, beyond). We have invented numerous incarnations of flying machines to enable us to achieve spontaneous lift-off and feed our hunger for the feeling of freedom inherent in groundlessness. Have we always understood that, once we took to the air, we would acquire an entirely new perspective from above?
I believe that this is the essence of what our preoccupation with flight is about – the desire to break free, to transcend what we know and achieve a broader view.
Looking down on the world from above enables us to see how large the world is, beyond our own backyards. The perspective of height provides us a window through which to view all of the elements together – how the systems are inter-dependent and how the structures that man has built integrate with the elements of nature. We bear witness to the interconnectedness of all things.
Looking down on the earth from outer space enables us to understand our place among the celestial bodies in our solar system, and in the vastness of the universe. From this vantage point we are offered a new brand of appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness of our living planet, and are afforded the opportunity to achieve an awareness of how small we are. We can see the absence of boundaries, those illusory divisions between people and nations.
We are at once large and we are small, infinitesimal yet significant. How can we use this perspective to make the world a better place?