In the composite image above, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay are at a pinnacle of mutual accomplishment. Alongside those two great achievers are astronauts Bill McCarthur and Valery Tokarev the Commander and Engineer, respectively, of the International Space Station (Expedition: 12 ) They too, are at a pinnacle of mutual achievement. Most importantly neither of these great moments occurred without the full support of each partner for the other.  Furthermore, in each case all of the team members are from different nations. Global success was a fact and not an impossible dream for both of those great moments in history.

Ego is good.  If by that we mean we are stable in both our self awareness and self confidence. We all possess it in varying levels of healthiness. When we say ego is bad are we really talking about ego or are we talking about how it is being misapplied? Following the preceding explanation we would suspect misapplication is the dominant reason.

As parents, friends, employers, in fact all society, declare we are expected to excel. This is good and healthy too. Here again, if we mature, with a balanced awareness between excelling and compassionate fairness to others we should be leaders. Unfortunately there are others who place excelling, by any means, as vital and at the usual expense of others. History records that many of these types become leaders. History also records the ongoing endless and often violent power struggles between these ego-abusive leaders. In these settings, humankind is held hostage, and any progress is more by accident than design.

In the “dynamic duos” depicted above. ego is definitely present and strong. Yes, there are even momentary clashes, but these are modulated by that sense of compassionate fairness that is actively present. So, we should not attempt to stamp out ego in an effort to achieve more peaceful and cooperative global unity. We should both honor it, and strengthen those compassionate elements by giving those who possess and practice them leadership responsibilities. Right now, in a very limited, but successful way, we are doing  just this with our space programs such as the International Space Station.

No, no, there is no way to legislate this type of global relationship. We must work to help it evolve. Our international efforts with the space station, with the Hubble and other space telescopes are exactly the ideal environment. We focus ourselves and our egos on working together toward common goals. We mutually and joyfully share the GLORY of our successes! The host nations beam with pride and welcome compatriots from other nations with honor.

Well, how many disadvantaged, oppressed and hungry will any of this directly affect? Directly, none. Indirectly, many and over time possibly all. How? We do it by boosting global pride (call it ego) and by expanding each nation’s involvement in some level of the exploration of space. This, in turn, can begin to create a national atmosphere that enables changes in governance and care for all its citizens. Yes, individual nations will lose their unique moments of glory, but will greatly enjoy shared progress. Now we know this can happen, it has in the past, high upon Everest and continues today, up there in Low Earth Orbit. It also grows through the multi-national eyes of our powerful space telescopes. Next, way before Mars, we should be jointly establishing another great International Space Station; this time on fair Luna. Luna belongs to all of us, and an international Moon Base will achieve a new, and exciting unity that again can lead to newer and stronger steps toward world peace.

This concentration on mutuality and shared glory could also impart flacid egos. This is definitely a possibility, but it can be avoided by preserving the focus of our international missions and goals. Demand is constant and insistent. Resting on one’s laurels presumes we have all the answers when actually what we have accomplished is a multitude of new questions. Our focus on mutual goals is enlivened and sharpened. We remain motivated.

Well, just how sure-fire successful would all of this be?  We will not know for certain unless we continue what we have started. Nations will begin to change because their citizens now enjoy a real and expanded ego boost as opposed to the vicarious boosts from flawed egos they have regretfully elected to lead them. They will look for new leaders who have those compassionate elements and the desire to share in humankind’s progress. Above all else, those of us who are currently enjoying this progressive status must do all we can together to promote and strengthen it, globally. International efforts for space exploration are very positive ways to put ego in its proper place and humankind back on a progressive path.

Those days of glorious, courageous single nation moments in space history are. past. From this point forward we must go forth again, but jointly, joyously, heroically and for the betterment of all humankind. No longer is space exploration a unique expedition, it is forever now a global obligation.

IMAGE CREDITS:

Image on Mount Everest of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay: Courtesy of “A Continuous Lean” http://tinyurl.com/3cp8sux

Image of astronauts McCarthur and Tokarev Courtesy of Space.com


Advertisements