That's the title of a song, believe it or not, that I wrote 20 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the very first Apollo moon landing. It was a lament about life in America at the end of the decade of the 1980's, a stretch in which our country seemed to have been on a ten year lost weekend, a time during which social consciousness died en masse, or at least went underground, a time during which greed and militarism were extolled as high values, a time during which the the rampant psychopathy in our ruling classes that may be finally coming to an end now began.

The song I wrote was not so much a personal lament, because for me, in 1989, I was not only making music, but I was at the beginning of a wondrous exploration of my own spiritual nature and the spiritual nature of all things. That changed me more than any cultural event ever could, of course.

But still, 1989 wasn't 1969.

'69 was a year of all years for me. I turned fifteen that summer and the yearning for independence, for a great transition, for a connection to the sensuality of life as a human being made everything seem connected - to me! The moon landing, the Woodstock concert (which my parents wouldn't let me attend), the Miracle Mets, Hair on broadway (which had opened a year earlier), my hair (which I fought constantly with my father about), the last Beatle album (Elton John's first album was still a year away)... it all seemed so perfectly relevant to my life, somehow.

Beginnings, endings, adventure, exploration... and the endless stream of music! The universe was listening to me!

Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. No one goes to the moon anymore, but my two young step-kids listen to the Beatles with the same avid joy I once did. Our eleven year old's school put up Hair as the school play this year (and it's back on Broadway!). I regularly vacation in Woodstock now, maybe in defiance of my parents' prohibition 4 decades ago, and the Mets suck, but that's okay because I'm a Yankee fan!

But most importantly, what I now know better than I could have in 1969... is that it's me who must listen to the universe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember thinking the same thing ten years ago, around the time of the 30th anniversary. It still boggles my mind to think of them going to the moon with the technology of that era. The computer was just barely invented. To match the computing power of the laptop I'm writing this on in 1969 you'd probably need something the size of a house. They went to the moon without even the power of a laptop computer!!

Imagine what we could do if we had the same will power to do what they did in 1969 with the technology we have today. The ingenuity to invent new propulsion systems, advanced navigation, life support systems, imaging capabilities. etc. We'd probably be able to stay there for a year if we wanted to.

I always wonder what it is that keeps us on the ground these days. Maybe it's simply the fact that we found out that there's nothing really there. As if we spent a hell of a lot of effort and money to visit the Sahara. Maybe it's the fear of the high human cost that has plagued space exploration from the beginning. Is the risk worth the reward? The conspiracy theory could be that big business doesn't like the idea that space exploration out of necessity demands the invention of new technologies. Technologies that could threaten the existence of some of the worlds biggest corporations. Perhaps we just don't have an immediate need to go to the moon right now. Yes, we most certainly have a long term, for-the-good-of-humanity kind of need, but those needs are always pushed aside for immediate needs. In 1969 we had an immediate need to beet the Russians. I bet if Al Qaeda or North Korea were making a run for the moon, we'd be there faster than you can sing "Fly me to the Moon"!

Bit of good news on the Space front. The two rovers that we sent to Mars at the beginning of 2004 (which they expected to be operational for only 3 or 4 months), are still operating!! 5 and a half years later!!!


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