I just finished the book Failure is Not an Option by Gene Kranz. It is a firsthand experience about the trials and tribulations of the U.S. space program in the 1960’s that ultimately resulted in humanity landing on the Moon. I am still reeling with emotion and inspiration after finishing the book a few hours ago.
Hearing about the titanic challenges faced by the flight teams and the bravery shown in the face of absolute risk and uncertainty for the dream of humanity stepping onto the Moon, was nothing short of incredible. I fought back tears in the final chapter of the book as it described the author signing off the final Apollo 17 mission with the future of the space program in doubt.
I closed the book convinced that the space program was and is one of the candles of hope and progress that we need to protect against the often dark dialogue surrounding the direction of humanity that is casually shared in today’s world. The amount of dedication, effort, skill, teamwork, trust and courage it took to successfully execute each mission on the way to the Moon exemplified the best traits of humanity and is a beacon of our collective potential.
I feel motivated to look for ways in my life to push the limits of human achievement and understanding, in a way that inspires and reaches for something greater.
I think of my field of software development with some melancholy. From my perspective I am bound within the realms of a digital sandboxed world with hard limits predefined by hardware, protocols or platforms. Also software development achievements nowadays too often come in the form of a new app. Hyped as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘disruptive’, many of these apps only increases our ability to gaze deeper into our own navels, instead of reaching for something greater and pushing the limits of what we can achieve.
What can I do as a web software engineer to help exemplify and inspire the best of humanity? To help us reach for something great together, instead of keeping us more and more preoccupied with our individual selves? What can I do in my field to push the limits of the natural world in a way that inspires and sets up a future better than today?
I don’t know what I can do today. However I do know that I will live with these hopes and ideals embedded into everything I do, and I believe that small everyday actions sow the seeds for change and opportunities. If ever the opportunity arises in which I can help push the limits and inspire the best in us, I will be ready.