An Apollo astronaut on political quagmires


49 Responses to “An Apollo astronaut on political quagmires”

  1. Brainspore says:

    All well and good until the politician finds out he has to poop into a zip-loc bag, then he gets cranky again.

  2. Jim Saul says:

    A politician I won’t name, so to keep focus on the idea, wanted to set up a live stream, available for free on the internet, of the earth from distant orbit, to make the “overview effect” constantly present.

    I still hope to see that soon.

  3. CountZero says:

    Love it, I want a poster of that. ヅ

  4. Edgar Mitchell didn’t mention that he’d like to take said politicians to the moon to show them our glorious habitat without the aid of a spacesuit…..

  5. Sam says:

    A small designer friend of mine made an illustration of that quote. see it here:

  6. Justin says:

    I love the quote. Also worth mentioning: years later, Mitchell claimed that aliens/UFOs were real and that he learned this from an official source.

    • kmoser says:

      Of course UFOs are real. Virtually every person on this planet has seen things in the air they can’t identify. Unless they were hallucinating, those things are called “UFOs” and are real things (albeit unidentified). Or do you think every UFO sighting is a hallucination?

  7. Mordicai says:

    Just like what happened to Lex Luthor when he drank the Super Serum.

  8. Jon Sowden says:

    Hmm. That’d almost make it worth becoming a son-of-a-bitch politician.

  9. Tim L says:

    Thanks, Maggie.
    Proper credit goes to John Gruber of Daring Fireball, which is where I found that.

  10. Tim L says:

    And I should probably add Phil Plait’s commentary on Edgar Mitchell’s beliefs:
    …which by no means take away from the impact of the statement above :)

  11. Gene says:

    And this quote may explain why politicians don’t seem to be in any hurry to send anyone back into space.

  12. ernunnos says:

    …but everything looks perfect from far away come down now they’ll say…

  13. phlavor says:

    Can we then leave them there?

  14. Teirhan says:

    I WISH edgar mitchell was right about the aliens thing.

  15. Cowicide says:

    Beautiful juxtaposition.      -    Perspective.  We all need it.

  16. robuluz says:

    We pop into existence for an instant, a tiny flash of consciousness in a vast sea of time, and spend most of it bickering.

  17. social_maladroit says:

    If you dragged a politician to the surface of the moon and said, “Look at that, you son of a bitch!” he’d be more likely to respond, “So this is what the moon looks like! Hey, can we claim the moon as the sovereign territory of the United States?”

    • Gulliver says:

      Not if he wasn’t a American politician.

    • t3kna2007 says:

      Wouldn’t it be a shame if a politician were suddenly unable to speak after exposure to hard vacuum?

      In space, no one can hear you bloviate.

    • Gulliver says:

      If you dragged a politician to the surface of the moon and said, “Look at that, you son of a bitch!” he’d be more likely to make animated gesticulations while his eyes turned red and his skin puffed up, followed by about two to three minutes of silent retching, then decrescendoing low-gee spasms for another minute or two.

      No one explicitly mentioned a spacesuit, so naturally I just assumed…

      Only joking. Even politicians deserve air…barely.

  18. J B says:

    Snort. Go read the Federalist Papers. Much better than cliched, simple-minded tripe.

  19. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    My problem with statements like this is the assumption that we are all helpless victims at the hands of politicians.  There is little mention of the fact (especially in democracies) that we get the leaders we desire.  For every politician that tries to, say, protect workers in the workplace there is a crowd of people convinced that “You can’t do that, it’ll cost jobs!  XYZ News said so!”  So feel free to twist the arms of those polticians but you had better be ready to give a kick in the butt to the masses too.

  20. BrotherPower says:

    God hates flags.

  21. penguinsix says:

    Actually many other astronauts have had remarkably similar realizations when looking at the Earth from the same point of view.

  22. Uncle Geo says:

    Mark Kirk nails it. Blaming politicians is a huge cop out as term limits are. If you pay attention (and so many don’t or fall for propaganda) you know who to throw out and who you want in there for the long term.

    Blaming parties is a cop out too -most are made up of no more than a few hundred people out of every million and the leadership posts are the hardest to fill. Anyone can get involved and have impact far beyond their single vote. But then that would mean they’d actually have to do something besides bloviating.

    • Ambiguity says:

      Anyone can get involved and have impact far beyond their single vote.

      You say that as if it’s a good thing.

      • Gulliver says:

        It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just life. We have power and we can either use it constructively or we can squander it on emotional immaturity.


    Everything looks simple from far away.  You can’t see the details.  Unfortunately we all live in the messy earthbound details.  While I appreciate Mitchell’s point of view on this I hope he realized that without politicians and a national government willing to support a space program he wouldn’t ever have had the privilege of that point of view.

    • Gulliver says:

      Maybe he’d just like us, politicians and all, to make a little more effort to live up to our potential as a species. The amount of resources we expend fighting each other for the sake of fighting each other (and I’m not just talking about war) is staggering. Someday perhaps more of us will realize that our sense of accomplishment is inversely proportional to how much we unnecessarily make each others lives more difficult. Competition is great. Petty embittered strife with the neighbors is not. The governance of the polis is fine, but in the grand scheme of things, politicians and nations stand upon the sands of time. If we want our lives to have meaning, it’s incumbent upon us to give them meaning, because we really are a small dust mote in a majestically indifferent cosmos.

  24. t3kna2007 says:

    Bloviation is a style of empty, pompous, political speech which originated in Ohio and was used by US President Warren G. Harding, who described it as “the art of speaking for as long as the occasion warrants, and saying nothing”.  The verb to bloviate is the act of creating bloviation.

    Apparently we’re receiving posts from people writing in from another planet.  A planet with better politicians than we have around here.

  25. Daemonworks says:

    Don’t most people want to this to politicians most of the time?

  26. rastronomicals says:

    Yeah, political infighting is stupid. 

    Let’s just go along with what the Christian right and the Tea Party want, and then we can all look up at the moon together. 

    And you can see our president agrees!

  27. Jonathan says:

    FYI, Edgar Mitchell never really got back from the moon. His extraterrestrial claims would’ve been much more credible had his position not also been peppered with a smorgasboard of woo, including such tasties as remote healing and “energy” studies.

    He founded The Institute of Noetic Sciences, and his name and prior status as an astronaut are used to lend credibility to a new kind of “science”.

    Nevertheless, great quote.

  28. Lee Meade says:

    Politicians are like lawyers (ok, many are), we all hate them, but wouldn’t dream of going into court without one of them on (at) our side’.
    The same for the political arena.

  29. Earth says:

    Psychedelic Remix

       “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an
    intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to
    do something about it. From out there on the [psilocybin mushrooms], international
    politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of
    the neck and [feed him some psilocybin mushrooms] and say, ‘Look at that, you son of [an atomized, Cartesian, reductionist, scientifically materialist and perverted Darwinian nightmare society who has lost all sense of the Sacred].”

    — Edgar Mitchell [speaking upon his return from inner space]

    Psilocybin Mushrooms: found free for millennia growing on suitable substrate in a replenishable and sustainable fashion. Environmentally friendly. Life Transforming for everyone who wants it.

    Moon Shot: over 100 billion dollars in today’s money. Not at all replenishable or sustainable. Toxic as hell. Life changing for a few white guys.

    • Gulliver says:



      Psilocybin Mushrooms: great way to check out of reality when things don’t meet expectations and pretend to touch some divine truth others just don’t understand because they choose to live differently than the Anointed Ones.

      Moon Shot: decades of space age technologies – including tools we can use to build a better world when humans stop hiding under rocks – that more than pay for themsleves and diverted 100 billion dollars in today’s money from truly fruitless military spending.

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