Scientists participating in the space program face various challenges. For example, space scientists must develop new ways of eating in outer space. Astronauts’ clothing must withstand the vacuum of outer space, enormous temperature differentials and radiation – yet remain light and permit a high degree of flexibility. This new clothing design even calls for the possible development of self-repairing systems. Their challenge is to invent common items in completely new ways. In space, for example, clothing no longer functions as just body covering and adornment. It becomes a portable-habitat.
The space age represents a prime example of the relentless search for newer and better ways of doing things. As scientists continue to probe toward the limits of our universe, they must generate newer techniques and technologies for unexplored frontiers and never-before encountered environments. If they cling tenaciously to the concepts of their earlier training, our explorations will fail. Had our ancestors refused to accept new ideas, the physical sciences would have progressed little beyond the development of the covered wagon. Many young engineers, scientists, and architects face this dilemma. Bold and creative, they exit institutions of higher learning and step out into the world eager for change. They set out with great enthusiasm but are often beaten back and slowed by the established institutions and self-appointed guardians of tradition. Occasionally, some men and women break away from traditional concepts and set out as innovators. They meet such tremendous resistance by antiquated building codes and other restrictions that their daring concepts are soon reduced to mediocrity.
Many of the dominant values that shape our present society are still medieval. The myth that we live in an enlightened age, or an age of reason, really has little basis. We are overwhelmed with valid information concerning ourselves and our planet, most of which we have no inkling of how to apply. Most of our customs and modes of behavior are locked in the dungeons of the mental Dark Ages and have been handed down to us. It was difficult for early forms of life to crawl out of the primordial slime without dragging some of it with them. So it is with any entrenched value system. The most significant changes of the 21st century will reveal what most people never suspected, that the majority of us have the potential of people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Graham Bell and Madame Curie, if raised in an environment that encourages genuine individuality and creativity. This includes all the other characteristics believed to be the product of a special and privileged heredity of great men and women.
By Jacque Fresco