North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Quote of the Day from "Apollo 11" by Ayn Rand
|A former member||
From Ayn Rand's essay Apollo 11. More evidence that the more things "change" the more they stay the same!
"In technology, men know that all the wishes and prayers in the world will not change the nature of a grain of sand. It would not have occurred to the builders of the spacecraft to select its materials without the most minute, exhaustive study of their characteristics and properties. But, in the humanities, every sort of scheme or project is proposed and carried out without a moment's thought or study of the nature of man. No instrument was installed aboard the spacecraft without a thorough knowledge of the conditions its functions required. All kinds of impossible, contradictory demands are imposed on man, in the humanities, with no concern for the conditions of existence he requires. No one tore apart the circuits of the spacecraft's electric system and declared; 'It will do the job if it wants to!' This is the standard policy in regard to man. No one chose a type of fuel for Apollo 11 because he 'felt like it,' or ignored the results of a test because he 'didn't feel like it,' or programmed a computer with a jumble of random, irrelevant nonsense he 'didn't know why.' These are the standard procedures and criteria accepted in the humanities. No one made a decision affecting the spacecraft, by hunch, by whim, or by sudden, inexplicable 'intuition.' In the humanities, these methods are regarded as superior to reason. No one proposed a new design for the spacecraft, worked out in every detail, except that it had no provision for rockets or for any means of propulsion. It is the standard practice in the humanities to devise and design social systems controlling every aspect of man's life, except that no provision is made for the fact that man possesses a mind and that his mind is his means of survival. No one suggested that the flight of Apollo 11 be planned according to the rules of astrology, and its course be charted by the roles of numerology. In the humanities, man's nature is interpreted according to Freud, and his social course is prescribed by Marx...
Nothing on earth or beyond it is closed to the power of man's reason. Yes, reason could solve human problems--but nothing else on earth or beyond it, can.
This is the fundamental lesson to be learned from the triumph of Apollo 11. Let us hope that some men will learn it. But it will not be learned by most of today's intellectuals, since the core and motor of all their incredible constructs is the attempt to establish human tyranny as an escape from what they call 'the tyranny' of reason and reality.
If the lesson is learned in time, the flight of Apollo 11 will be the first achievement of a great new age; if not, it will be a glorious last--not forever, but for a long, long time to come....
As far as "national priorities are concerned, I want to say the following: we do not have to have a mixed economy, we still have a chance to change our course and thus to survive. But if we do continue down the road of a mixed economy, then let them pour all the millions and billions they can into the space program. If the United States is to commit suicide, let it not be for the sake and support of the worst human elements, the parasites-on-principle, at home and abroad. Let it not be its only epitaph that it died paying its enemies for its own destruction. Let some of its life-blood go to the support of achievement and the progress of science. The American flag on the moon--or on Mars, or on Jupiter--will, at least, be a worthy monument to what had once been a great country."