In case you didn’t hear it, big news occurred this past week, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company became the first to send commercial astronauts into space. It looks like within six months Branson himself will be going up as well making 2019 the year space travel became commercialized and a whole new economy was unleashed. Even though Richard Branson is a liberal a big thing happened that will redefine the parameters of political thinking and it’s quite exciting to watch. Even with all the negative news that is out there is a silver lining to it all. An old static order is giving way to exciting new adventures and Virgin Galactic has taken the unlikely step of being the facilitator of great change. The Virgin Galactic efforts weren’t as big of news as the moon landing, but it was close. Its one thing for a government to use all its resources in a space race against another government. It’s quite another to have a small, nimble company taking off from the ground of a desert runway and launching a vessel into space without the violent escape velocity of an earth-bound rocket.
The VSS Unity spacecraft is actually a brilliant design that leaves a lot of modifications open to future growth. The variations of that type of space travel is quite extensive which essentially makes it so that travelers can literally leave a ground-based space station and ride comfortably off the runway into a deep space destination without the violent thrust of a rocket launch. While the rockets that Blue Origin and SpaceX are designing are very much-needed for payload off planet, the Virgin design is a game changer that makes becoming an astronaut something everyday people can experience. And I couldn’t help but think of how much of the current chaos in the news is necessary so that this new race into space can happen. As twisted as things can sometimes look it is an amazing trait of human intelligence to know how to give itself a self-fulfilled prophesy.
I was at a Game Stop the other day buying Christmas presents when I overheard several conversations going on around me as I browsed video game titles on the shelf. The sheer variety of inventory items in that story that were related to new mythological sequences of thought were astounding. If you considered where things were in the Middle Ages where the printing press had just come along and gave people the ability to print copies of Bibles to read, the Enlightenment period wasn’t far off due to the sudden ability of people to actually be able to own a book and to read it. Now in a simple store like Game Stop there was so much intellectual material available for just pleasant consumption that the bridge from way back there to here was quite long and dangerous. While the Midlevel Bible reader couldn’t even contemplate space travel, Game Stop shoppers literally had infinite possibilities to consider just such thoughts, and that is a very new phenomena. When you add that to the Weekly Standard magazine going out of business, as well a much of the current media culture soon to follow, and the absolute erosion of the Washington D.C. lobby culture happening under President Trump. Much of the conflict between the president of the United States and the world is very much-needed for this exciting new stage that is occurring presently.
In the business world there are lots of consultants, some good, most bad, who sell themselves as change agents for the production culture. This dynamic force is needed to clear out the stagnate elements of a company that keep it from growing. So even bad consultants can have a positive impact on a culture due to their dynamic effect against static resistance. What makes some bad and good is relative to how well those changes stick, or how the moment the consultants leave, the previous culture reverts back to its old ways of doing things. Change isn’t just good, it’s necessary to always keep innovation moving in a positive direction. Currently in our political system Donald Trump is a radical force that is clearing out all the siloed thinking that has ruined most of America’s institutions and allowed a very static world to hold innovation down to a level they could still control for their own benefit. But that doesn’t help any of us advance. So relative to the timing of this new commercial space race the Trump presidency couldn’t have come sooner. The current policies of deregulation, economic expansion and general positive outlook and support for NASA has literally unleashed a pent-up potential that is quite explosive, and the effects will be extensive. Richard Branson couldn’t have hoped for a better fortune in the current circumstances because the media is so focused on Trump that the primitive naysayers to everything innovative don’t have time to pick these new space companies apart, much the way they did in the days after the moon landing.
Just like in a typical business culture there are always two forces at work, one that has a reverence for how things have been, the primitive—the static forces. Then there are the dynamic forces, the people who want change, who love to invent and be creative. When America launched man to the moon for the first time in 1969 the primitive revelers were getting ready to have the music festival Woodstock which represented the old static order. On the surface they appeared to be the crazy anarchists wanting to change America’s traditional culture into something much more socialist. But this was a ruse, the real intent was to keep America and the world from becoming a more technological place that wanted to grow up and leave the comfort of mother earth. So thus, the need for change agents and when one never came along the world was plunged back into the Dark Ages. For a short time, Ronald Regan brought forth the kind of optimism we are starting to see again now, but it quickly was crushed by the fifth year of his presidency. The Space Shuttle program that had already been started during the great space race withered away and died, and we never went back to the moon.
It’s not enough to just invent space travel for commercial enterprises, the culture itself has to be made ready to accept it and from what I can see it is happening. From Donald Trump to the changes in entertainment culture, specifically video games, the VSS Unity has had the barriers to thought removed so that the technical aspects could be worked out and now we have commercial space travel, just like that. And regardless of what happens politically, and within the entertainment culture, what Virgin Galactic is doing and is about to do will change everything we know about our relationship with earth. While many of the entertainment leftists that have the money to ride Virgin Galactic and see space for the first time as private citizens, they think they will love the earth more. But they will discover that space has so many more opportunities that once humans can touch it, entirely new vantage points of thought and economics will spring forth, and that is so exciting as well as very much-needed.
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