If you’ve been reading the news like I’ve told you not to, you’ll have noticed that we’re facing some challenges.
The destruction of the rainforests, the emptying of the oceans, the slaughter of indigenous tribes, and the fact that we have to say “Black people matter” in freakin’ 2015…
These are all symptoms of a world that’s not working for 100% of us.
The soulless march of a mechanized modernity continues. If we let it, it will deny us our connection to spirituality, community, and Nature, and drag us into a bottomless void of consumerism, alienation, & addiction.
We’ve gotta make some improvements. It’s time again to experience genuine inspiration. It’s time to rediscover our place in the cosmos. We are the wanderers, the explorers, the inventors, the entrepreneurs.
We are the ones who look at things that seem impossible and say, “Why not?”
The world needs, more than ever, a league of extraordinary gentlemen.
(No, I’m not talking about Sean Connery leading some CGI monsters in a bad B movie.)
I’m talking about a real league of truly extraordinary gentlemen, men who have dedicated their entire lives to the realization of an ideal.
What is the ideal? Peace…prosperity…freedom…progress. A human race with an expansive destiny. A people with a sense of possibility. The glimmer of a bright future.
These are the Fierce Gentlemen.
This league exists, today, many times over, around the globe. There are extraordinary men working on every problem, plumbing the depths of inner space and expanding outward to outer space.
Here are four men who are reshaping the course of human destiny, and bending the long arc of our evolution towards the stars.
Elon Musk – This scientist and industrialist is building the world’s first reusable rockets. He plans to take humanity to Mars, launching thousands of rockets and carrying over a million people to a stable, permanent colony on the Red Planet by 2100. If any other man said he wanted to do this, we might scoff, but Elon is a self-taught rocket scientist who has made billions many times over in different industries. He currently leads SpaceX, one of the first commercial rocket companies, as well as Tesla Motors, one of the first successful auto manufacturers in American in over 100 years, and sits on the board of SolarCity, a solar energy company that is set to become the 21st century’s largest utility.
Richard Branson – This billionaire-philanthropist is building the world’s first commercial space liner. Like Musk, Branson is an entrepreneur who has entered and dominated multiple industries that were supposed to be disruption-proof (like commercial airlines.) His Virgin Galactic spacecraft will soon allow common people to visit and yes, even stay in Earth orbit, when paired with the efforts of the next extraordinary gentleman…
Robert Bigelow – This real estate magnate is building the first space hotels. The technical genius behind his project: inflatable habitat structures that pack light and expand in orbit. Bigelow has two structures safely flying on orbit now, and NASA has contracted with his company to connect one of his structures to the International Space Station in 2015 for a 2-year stamina test. The best part? Living inside a giant balloon is actually safer than the aluminum-can apparatus that makes up the International Space Station today. I can’t wait to go.
Bill Stone – The final piece of the space exploration puzzle is a gas station in space. Where can we find gas for rockets? The moon. Bill Stone is a deep-earth explorer who has spent his career building technology and leading expeditions to the center of the Earth, spending up to 30 days “inbound” (underground) going deeper and deeper into unvisited, uninhabitable places. Now, he’s willing to personally lead the first space mining expedition to the moon, where enough ice sits trapped at the poles to provide enough hydrogen and oxygen to fuel the equivalent of “one Space Shuttle launch per day for 250 million years.” His company, Shackleton Energy, plans to launch robotic missions to both of the moon’s poles within 4 years to survey best landing sites.
Any one of these men, acting alone, would not be able to accomplish as much as their combined efforts, which are effectively creating the ecosystem in which low-cost spaceflight and the resultant human existence in space becomes a practical, ordinary, daily reality.
It’s been 42 years since the last man walked on the Moon. Isn’t it time we dream high again?
Not all of the men of the league of Fierce Gentlemen are as visible as the men above.
What is your part in the mystery?
Do you strive to lift humanity towards outer space, or deepen his journey to inner space?
What was the Purpose that was whispered in your ear before you were born?
(Have you forgotten?)
At nine years of age, watching the Apollo moon landings, Chris Hadfield decided he wanted to go to space.
Now, most nine-year-old boys I know have this dream.
Chris Hadfield is one of the few who made it a decision, not a dream.
And this decision became his destiny.
Here are a few of the small steps he took to realize this dream:
Someone at NASA once said that getting men to the moon was a process that required 16,000 steps, each of which had to be accomplished successfully in order to take the next step, and the next step.
Richard Buckminster Fuller, polymath and futurist, disagreed. He wrote that going to the moon was a series of a 16 million steps, going all the way back to the Stone Age man who first grasped a stone tool and used it to bring down an antelope.
Our lives are the same: a series of small steps, leading inexorably from the present to our constantly-shifting future.
We may never be able to tell in advance how the steps we take will influence our fellow men & women, even unto the changing of the destiny of the human race.
What steps will you take?
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Also published on Medium.