I’m currently reading, Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space by Stephen Walker. It is a gripping read and since I was rather young at the time, I’m learning a great deal. One of the most fascinating insights I’m getting syncs with the message of the Genesis lessons from the Tower of Babel. (Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel goes into this in-depth)
The USA and the Soviet Union were literally neck-in-neck in the race to send the first human into space. What emerges so clearly is the different emphasis the two countries had as to the value of the human lives of the astronauts and cosmonauts. Which is more important? Being first or keeping your men alive – the project or the people? Other questions emerge. Is the image you project more valuable than the truth? How does freedom vs. totalitarianism help or hinder achieving a goal?
As the United States adopts many elements of the old Soviet Union, among them suppression of the accurate reporting of news, highlighting image over substance, and overwhelming government control, the book reads both as a fascinating look at the past and a warning to the present.