I know I harp on this from time to time, but I'm going to do it again after an argument I had with someone recently.

Look at this photo:

[Ginormo Version]

This photo gives me the shivers whenever I see it. It is said this was the first time we could see our whole home in one picture. All of it. So small from 200,000 miles.

Now, reflect for a moment on what went into getting this photo. The resources, the technology, the know how, all of it.

Now, reflect on the fact that this image is over 40 years old. We did this 40 years ago. We. Humanity. The US may have driven it, but at this moment, and a moment 8 months later, it was us. All of humanity captured in one shining moment.

Or this image:


This foot print may be Buzz Aldrin's, but it is also the foot print of every human. We touched the very surface of another world. They walked there for us, but we walked with them. That print is yours, mine, the print of every last human, whether they accept it or not. It says, "We are explorers. We seek new things. We can seek beyond even our world. And this is just among our first steps."

Marvel, friends. Marvel at what the human mind and spirit can achieve.

But, while you marvel, I don't want you to worship it. I don't want you to think this is some mystical, magical thing. To do so tarnishes the achievement. We could very well do this again. And again and again and again. There was no magic here: sound science, hard work, engineering, perseverance and human will power made these things.

And especially don't genuflect to any deity. No small, human-crafted deity had anything to do with this. If you believed the shepherds, pastors, priests, holy con-men, this was a Tower of Babel, a human folly, an affront to any number of deities.

I will not give thanks to some deity for these accomplishments. I will thank the numerous men and women who worked hard for these things. Who spent their lives to make these things possible. I will thank them properly, I will not force them to share their rightfully earned spotlight with some petty, bronze-age figment of human imagination.

Therein was the argument I had. That everything humans did was by the "grace" of that imaginary friend. And it made my stomach roil. It was not. It was us, and we should not be ashamed to say so. It was our knowledge. It was our engineering. It was us. And only us. Why is this concept so hard? Why? Why can't it be just us? Why does it have to be anything else as well?

I refuse to bend my knee to some fictitious lord just as I refuse to bend my knee to any human lord. I am no servant, and neither is any other human. And it is when that spirit, that sense of wonderment, that sense of exploration, shines through those mental shackles, we accomplish these things. That we touch other worlds. That we do grand things. That we strive for our very best.

That we send ourselves farther than we have ever been.