Updated: Aug 28, 2021
Technically (according to Bezos' company, Blue Origin) Branson's flight didn't meet the criteria of a space flight. It didn't launch high enough based on the Karman line which is 62 miles above earth and marks the altitude for space based on international standards. Branson reached 55 miles above earth. Bezos reached above this 62 mile line.
Clearly there's a pissing contest happening here and we'll get to that in a bit.
Egos aside, this was a monumental mission! Especially because it took Richard Branson's team 17 years to achieve this feat.
And kudos to Jeff Bezos for sharing his suborbital mission with the youngest ever and oldest ever persons to reach space. Especially since the oldest person on this mission is Wally Funk who, six decades after training for space but being denied the opportunity because of her GENDER, was able to bask in sub-zero gravity!
You go girl!
If I'm being frank, Bezos' altruism leans disingenuous - almost like a peace offering to counter the expected backlash of billionaires doing what billionaires do BUT during a global pandemic.
Nonetheless, I'm so excited for Wally Funk. Just like Maria Taylor, the black, female ESPN reporter covering the 2020 NBA finals, I believe there are times when tokenism should be exploited by deserving minorities ESPECIALLY those who have been sidelined by society.
Intragalactic excursions of the most recent kind show a glimpse into our future. But they also teach us a lot about the psychology of human nature.
It's true, pretty soon flying cars will be zooming ahead and most of our great grand kids will have electric cars.
We might as well get with the program now!
What today's billionaires are accomplishing is magical, and unnecessary if we're being truthful. This wasn't an exploratory mission. It's the start of space tourism. And because I'm from the Caribbean I know how quickly the term 'tourism' can be manipulated to line the pockets of greedy and wealthy men.
Space travel is also expensive. Not that it matters: Amazon and Virgin have done pretty well for themselves during the pandemic.
And yes, anti-capitalists are vehemently opposed to the wealthy spending their money the way they see fit while a portion of the world wastes away in disease and hunger. But the number one lesson to learn from the recent missions of the one percent is that money can't buy happiness.
I say this because I've never quite understood scientists' obsession with space. Not just studying it but there's always a race to see which nation can get there first. Almost like a battle of egos made falsely in the name of science.
I personally like the ground but with the world on fire, quaking, and riddled with natural disasters I'd say a real life 'The 100' is in the works for mankind which more than likely will be occupied by the wealthy anyway.
The point is not to bash our star trek enthusiast friends but to point out that the men who have everything are still not content. At least three billionaires showed interest in space treks - that can't be a coincidence.
We've all heard stories of failed mission launches to space.
We know the risks involved.
Yet somehow it all seems more appealing than staying on the ground. At least to them. We can argue the flights were made in the name of science but the fight to see who got there first, and who got FURTHER while dangling terms like "space tourism" seems like one small step for man and one giant step for billionaires.
Putting the obvious aside, which is that billionaires never do ANYTHING that won't bring them future gain, there are nuances to the conversation which begs more questions than answers.
Let's think about it: imagine you've seen the greatest wonders of Earth, met world leaders, been entertained, had the finest wine, ate the finest food.
You are worshipped by some, hated by many, respected by all.
You could use dollar bills as toilet paper and gold coins as tile - why not space, why not in their lifetime?
The answer: Yes.
Yes to all of it. Because once you are not satisfied you'll keep pushing the "what next".
To judge the happiness of the wealthy is not my place. But their public exploits make GREAT object lessons!
Today's lesson is that you don't need more to be happy. If the wealthiest men are not happy with the most it means that the newest tech, clothes and makeup sitting in our online carts won't do much for our lives either.
Evaluate what truly adds value for you today. What gives you the greatest sense of nostalgia?
What prohibits your joy?
You may find that it's not that you need more, but less!
Focus on the light within you and around you and if anything dims that light - permanently remove it.
Because nothing should hinder you when space is the limit.