From the beginning of time we’ve looked to the sky and wished to be there. The practical among us said that is impossible and kept their heads firmly rooted on the tasks of survival. The dreamers watched the birds with envy, sought to mimic them, and thus attain their freedom.
The ancient Greeks saw flight and told stories of the perils, and the lessons learned from flying too close to the sun. Brilliant men like Leonardo daVinci studied the flight of birds and designed machines to carry us to the sky. The complexity of the challenge kept these dreams in the world of the parable, or on the drawing boards, and then again there are always those who fear the unknown -- urging caution for the risks may be too great.
But we have reached that dream, we have soared the heavens on wings that have lifted us further than even the most visionary could have dreamed. What is so often lost as we move further beyond the reaches of even our own solar system is this all started with the hard work of two brothers who realized that all that had been done before them was wrong, and set out to solve a big problem by making it a series of small ones.
What is also lost to most is they did this on their own, with no massive government funding, or political support, only the idea that if successful they may make their fortune. Flight was a folly for most politicians who saw little advantage in it, and the important people placed their confidence in the famous names of the day, not the two brothers. If you look closely at the lessons, you see similarities with today. The upper class, smug in their elite status placed their confidence in the elite, but at the end of the day it was the efforts of the common man that prevailed. Why?
I wonder if the human trait of arrogance plays a role in the dynamic? When we believe we know all the answers we often miss the real problem. Orville and Wilbur assumed they did not know the answer so they asked the experts, but soon came to realize they knew as much, if not more, than them.
There is much we can learn from the challenge of flight, but much more we can learn from the brothers who met it. As long as we look without question to an elite class to solve our problems we are unlikely to succeed.