I have a new favorite philosopher, who is not a philosopher at all, but an astronaut actually. His name is Chris Hadfield and last week he addressed a 5-year old Canadian boy who couldn't sleep because he worries about the fate of the Interstellar spacecraft, Voyager. The young Timur asked questions like, "What if something goes wrong? What if Voyager gets lost or broken and nobody is out there to help?"
To this, Mr. Hadfield, replied, "The real question, Timur, is whether Voyager is happy."
Hadfield went on to explain that he imagines machines to be happy or sad depending if they are performing to their potential. He recounted his youth on a farm and how the plows seemed to be at their best after they plowed a field, tractors and combines too. Because Voyager has gone farther than any other spacecraft, Hadfield believes that Voyager is very happy, in addition to being brave and tough. And certainly not lonely, because he calls home all the time! "Voyager is actually lucky to be going where no other machine has gone before," he continued. There is a whole universe to explore, so it never gets lonely. Above all else, Voyager is living its' true purpose in life - discovery.
The anecdote went on to imply that a journey, like life, is not about the beginning or the end or worrying through the whole thing. It's the middle of the journey that counts and being joyful throughout.
As I listened to this profoundly optimistic, intelligent and curious astronaut comfort a child, I wondered if Govs students could learn a thing or two from listening to this sweet and poetic Q&A on a spacecraft, and in turn, the meaning of life.
Are you living your life at Governor's with passion and purpose? Could you spend less time worrying about getting lost or broken in the interim? Are you a happy and fulfilled machine?
Also, if you are inspired by this blog post or need information on the following, come on over to the library stacks and check out :
Space Exploration in the 629's
Great Philosophers start in the 100's
Self Help in the 150's