The beauty of excellence

One of my favorite things about the apartment which Alana and I have shared for the past 17 years, here in Silver Spring Maryland, is that it has a south facing lanai, and we enjoy being out there in the warmer months.

One of the things you notice if you’re sitting out there in the evening is all of the bright lights that are aircraft coming in to land at the National airport just across the river from Washington DC, in Virginia.

I timed these aircraft one night and found out that they made their approach exactly 2 minutes apart. Now, National airport has two runways that run parallel to each other so it’s possible for aircraft to land on one runway or the other one. Still, between 8:30 and 9:00 PM there is a steady stream of aircraft landing, one every two minutes. Each of these aircraft is independently piloted, and most of them carry over 100 passengers. There is something truly uplifting about the professionalism and excellence of the system by which so much traffic can be handled with so elegant a process.

This is what we are capable of, at our best. We are capable of impossible feats of engineering, like sending a crew of humans to the moon and bringing them back to Earth safely. Or, like sending the space shuttle up into orbit, traveling at 17,000 mph, and then having it glide back to earth without any power whatsoever to land exactly in the middle of a landing strip at Edwards Air Force Base.

It has been a perplexity for me for many years to witness the explosions that we produce with the aim of killing people and destroying cities when we have at our fingertips the power to transform lives for the better with great feats of imagination and prowess.

It’s not a bad question to think about: What kind of explosions are there in my life? Are they outbursts of creative imagination? Or are they outbursts of anger, frustration, and so on? The message of The Prosperos, and the message of Ontology is that we have the power to turn our frustrations, our anger, into creative acts that enrich our lives and the lives of everyone around us.