The Rambler: We Stopped Dreaming

Ed. Note: I would like you all to welcome a new contributor, Eric, and his first piece. This will become a weekly piece called ‘The Rambler‘ in which Eric dissects certain popular topics/themes/issues and connects it with music in some way, shape, or form. It’s really the antithesis of rambling and is substantiated with sources and facts. It’s great, and we would love to hear any feedback that you may have for this weekly piece.

We are a nation asleep. A nation that has been sedentary for decades just laying about waiting to be woken from our empty slumber. We have become a dreamless country and there seems to be no hope for our dreams to return.

Neil deGrasse Tyson with several of his instruments. Photo by David Gamble (2008)

Neil deGrasse Tyson with several of his instruments. Photo by David Gamble (2008)

Neil got it right. For those who may not know, or heard of, Neil deGrasse Tyson, he is an Astrophysicist that works at the Hayden Planetarium in New York. I personally believe he is also a philosopher, but that is just my opinion. Nonetheless, he makes a truly compelling argument in the short video. It is hard to disagree with him when you look at the current state of our government. A government living quarter-to-quarter, spreading itself inconceivably thin, making a mockery of our nation. Our Congress fighting meaningless battles and portioning funds to unnecessary sectors and their ridiculous salaries; instead of funding more for NASA, and not just for space exploration but technological improvement.

However, to me, Neil’s point is more than argument for resurgence in space activities but a comment on our nation as a whole. The only dreams the young generations have (including mine) is to find a stable job and make money. We have no fundamental reveries pushing us to challenge human capability. Sure we have our “dream jobs” or “dream lives” but those are intrinsically selfish. Our personal dreams do nothing for our society. We need another moon landing, so to speak, we need another space race, and we need a global challenge that brings our creative minds together. What made the space race so spectacular is that it created Heroes. People like Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong (shout out Wapakoneta, Ohio), and the lesser known Michael Collins were national heroes with children around the nation looking up to them. They created a nation of children who dreamt of being scientist or astronauts who would later push the innovations of mankind. Yet today we have no heroes. No national figure to guide us to prosperity. Why? Because we have stopped testing our limits, we no longer seek, we no longer hunger for the unknown. We have a strong need for men that have the resolve to change, to seek, and not for men who sit idly atop propaganda and rhetoric. (Cough, cough, Congress, cough, cough)

I would argue that another Cold War would revitalize our nation. In fact, I once wrote a research paper arguing that very fact. The Cold War brought panic and paranoia sure, but without it our world wouldn’t be where it is today in terms of technology.

Fun fact: the modern kitchen today was first conceptualized during the Cold War as the United States and Russia competed to prove that they had a higher standard of living.

Imagine the possibilities today, with our technology, what we could accomplish if faced with another Cold War like that of the ‘70’s and 80’s. Well, minus the constant fear of nuclear Armageddon, but you get my point.

Buzz Aldrin stands next to the American flag during the Apollo 11 mission. What will be this generation's moon landing? (Photo Credit)

Buzz Aldrin stands next to the American flag during the Apollo 11 mission. What will be this generation’s moon landing? (Photo Credit)

But where do we begin? Another Cold War is highly unlikely and the progress of human capability often seems stagnant. To me, the answer is this: education reform. Now this is a whole other topic in and of itself so I will be brief. First, we need to make the qualifications to becoming an educator immensely more difficult to achieve. My point: I know plenty of people that I graduated with from college with degrees in education who should not be allowed anywhere near young minds in a classroom. Second, get rid of standardize testing; it proves nothing and takes away from the quality of our education. Teachers spend more time teaching for the standardized tests than they actually do teaching. Third, put more emphasis on Math and Science, help those subjects become more desirable for children. Fourth, allow for education to be seen as a reward and not a punishment. What I mean, for example, when a child acts out don’t punish them with word problems, essays, or reading, it only reinforces that learning can be associated “bad.” I will be writing about education reform in the future so stay tuned for that.

I have ‘Explosions In The Sky’ coupled with this post because it draws emotion out of me. I often sit alone with this song on repeat letting my imagine wander. It fills me with inspiration and desire and helps me confront my troubles. It also helps me see the bigger picture and realize that even the desires of one man can change the world. I want you to listen to it. Go sit somewhere alone, turn the lights down low, put your headphones on, and close your eyes as you listen to the melody. Let it consume you. Embrace the feelings and thoughts that come flooding. They might terrify you but they could change your life.

Share your thoughts with us. We would love to hear them.

-The Rambler


Source Material: “We stopped dreaming…” video of Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Bio found on the Hayden Planetarium website

Explosions In The Sky – Your Hand in Mine


2 thoughts on “The Rambler: We Stopped Dreaming

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