On July 20, 1969, greatness was forever defined when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins walked on the moon. Others may write books, or hit homeruns, or find cures to diseases, but on that day, a new bar was set that no other achievement could reach: walking on the moon.
That event occurred 12 years before I was born; I am no expert, but I imagine half the people on earth today, were born after that day of greatness. And yet, the allure of the moon still appeals too many; no matter the culture or the generation. Greatness has a face, greatness has a place, greatness has a home: and it is all found in that mysterious ball that sits in the sky at night that we call the moon.
I mention this not in an effort to fulfill some childhood fantasy of going to the moon, but because there is a lack of a definition of greatness today. Much like Lord Business in The Lego Movie, the world today has gone to great lengths to squash any ideas of greatness that may still linger in the hearts and minds of people.
New ideas are mocked and ridiculed; businesses that succeed are taxed and investigated; those who do manage to stand out above others are soon found to live lives riddled with scandal. Even in sports, the goal is not to have great teams, but to have a bunch of mediocre teams.
Is there any greatness left in the world? Not if some people have anything to say about it.
Someone once commented that the giants of the past would not meet today’s standards because they did not have the appropriate paper work and degrees that are used to qualify someone as an expert today. Sad but true; greatness has been all but regulated out of existence.
And on that rare occasion that greatness does appear; the critics are sure to be there complaining that one is too young, or too specialized, or too controversial to be great.
On July 20, 1969, greatness had a name and a face and a place; it was the moon, and its name was Neil, Buzz and Michael.
Today, greatness is a question mark. We do not know what it is; we do not know where to find it; we do not even know what to do with it should it show up on our own doorsteps.
Oh what a joy it must have been in July 1969, when greatness was clearly defined by the grainy and crackling transmission of word that ‘The eagle has landed’.