It is my personal opinion that a community / society / country / race / species should be judged not by their achievments, but by the average of its members. It might be more honest to judge by the bottom of the scale, rather than the middle, but I’m trying to be generous since I’m a member of the group I’m about to dis.
We have sailed every ocean, sent men to the moon, split the atom and more. The fact that you are reading my words is a technological marvel, given the level of technology required to compose and store digital documents and then transmit them over a planet spanning network. The wireless keyboard upon which I type was an undreamed marvel a mere quarter century ago. Even the common toilet, while having been in use in the United States for the past hundred years or so, was an impressive feat of plumbing that took years to evolve into its present state.
Compared to a modern computer, the toilet seems like a pretty simple piece of technology. And yet, with a hundread years of practice, we still seem to have a fair chunk of our population who hasn’t mastered its use. Everybody loathes the idea of using a public restroom; not because the plumbing is any less developed than that in our homes, rather it is the anticipation of the disgusting state in which we usually find them.
The other day we went scuba diving at Venice Beach. It looks so simple: Strap a tank on your back and remember to breath from the hose. Yet, there is a fairly impressive amount of technology in the regulators that keep 3,000 PSI of air pressure from blowing out your lungs when you inhale. Not to mention the technology of the cars in the parking lot that brought the crowds to the beach.
Yet for all the apparent demonstrations of superiority over our environment, there was still a quarter inch pool of urine on the floor of the restroom and stains on the wall from where people couldn’t be bothered to aim.
What will it matter of a few of us conquer the stars if as a society we still have supposedly equal members who can’t piss in a pot?