Man and Nature: A Calculus Beyond My Understanding

I stand on the front walk to my house and look around. I am seeing certain things as if for the first time, and I am awestruck:Telephone lines (or are they power lines?) slung between tall, slender, unadorned, wooden totems, strictly for the purpose of transmitting information (or energy) all along the little street.

Metal antennae attached to rooftops. A satellite dish.

All of these comprise the infovascular system (if I may) of our species — an extension of our bodies, as Leonardo da Vinci would have said. I say they are an extension of our minds — not an alien, unnatural blight on the landscape, but an inevitable result of the advent of the frontal lobe in humans.

Chimneys spring from rooftops as well, venting whatever we cannot use and do not want in our houses. I do not normally see these, rather taking them for granted a hair shy of one hundred percent of the time. They are cowlicks on the structures we have built for ourselves in our image. Two windows and a door make a face. Buildings are large cloaks which we can move around in. Very roomy.

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The Space Shuttle: Our Tower of Babel

I find myself genuinely mournful of the space shuttle program. I was born in 1980; the program launched in 1981. It was always there for me.Space travel will continue, but the space shuttle program was more than that. It was a symbol of something strident and hopeful.

The space shuttle program, in my mind’s eye, was the white spaceplane, the NASA logo, the American flag emblazoned on spacesuits filled with heroes. My heroes.

The space shuttle program was the televised launches. The countdown, the ignition, the launch, the blinding blaze of rockets, the disappearing of a handful of astronauts into the heavens.

The space shuttle program was our Tower of Babel. We built it for science, yes, but really we built it to reach God.

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