Saturday, January 23, 2010

Putting it All...

I'm watching History International, which judging from the ads is watched almost exclusively by old men, and it's running a show on 1968 and the sexual revolution with a touchstone in 1969.

I always like to put things into perspectives that are understandable. Put time on a scale that is tangible to a human. For example, all of human civilization is encompassed by just fifty people. If we count a human life-span at 100 years, everything we've ever had or done fits neatly into five thousand years, thus, fifty people. That's a number that can be grasped.

It is the same with the moon landings. It's really amazing how little technology has to develop before a species is able to leave the confines of their own planet. Think about that, in 1969, someone born in 1900 was only sixty-eight years old. Someone born before 99.9% of the population had ever seen a car, telephone, or electric light bulb (I'm not counting arc lamps). No movies, almost no sound recording, no nothing. Life was defined by steam power, horses, and gas lamps. It was the dark ages compared to the Star Trek of today.

In just sixty-eight years, we left the planet! Sixty-eight years! Try to emotionally grasp that. That would be like children born today being sixty-eight when warp drive is perfected. Or transporters. It was inconceivable to people of the day that we would walk on the moon and that they would live to see it.

Or the show right after the one on 1968, the sexual revolution of '69. Hugh Hefner is interviewed talking about the social-sexual mores of the day where gay men were literally prosecuted. Out-of-wedlock sex was punished with jail time. Washington DC had an enforced law on the books stating that missionary position sex was the only type allowed by law. No matter how stupid Bush was. No matter how stupid the people who support Intelligent Design are. No matter whatsoever, times are getting better.

We sometimes lose perspective because of our limited scope. We always live in the now. The now is always the most important, the most pertinent and salient. But because of that, the slow progress of the planet is sometimes missed. Hell, it's always missed, but stepping back a bit and trying to put things into perspective grounds me. It reminds me. It reminds me that we walked on the moon forty-two years ago. It reminds me that just fifty years ago, I could have been arrested for having sex with my girlfriend. It reminds me that all of human existence is contained in fifty lifetimes.

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