This week I have been reading 'Two sides of the moon' written by both David Scott and Alexei Leonid. You get the perspectives of both sides of the so-called space race.
What I find especially fascinating is the human side of science. The fact that the Russian space programme was launched by a highly ambitious 'chief designer' and because of him it proceeded. It didn't matter to him that Lenin had imprisoned him for being a scientist, he got what he wanted and had an iron will. It wasn't really the policy that got the Russians in front it was because of the chief designer.
Meanwhile the Americans for all their high ideals, they got their ideas from German rocket scientists. I couldn't believe that they actually took the brains from Germany - Hitler. In both Russia and USA policy wasn't enough. They needed inspired individuals. It just goes to show that in a big organisation you need to have characters, you need sometimes conflict, favouritism, individualism all the things that are being pushed out of big organisations today. Because it is people who achieve things, basic instincts, emotions and no matter what policy statements or 'mission statements' try to achieve this is what motivates people.
We try too much these days to be objective, to allow for everybody. Perhaps we have gone too far. There are very few people who are determined to go the extra mile. They take the idea of what they are expected to do and they toe the line. I have been thinking about this for some time and I call it the Lowest Common Denominator theory. People find the minimum they can possibly do and they stick to that. There is nothing that would make them do anything extra and they see that anyone who tries to do extra getting intimidated and marginalised. How can you be expected to fight off other companies, to work say in government and do amazing work for the community if these people lack motivation, if they simply do exactly what they are told and probably do less that they are told if they can get away with it. There are very few people who are willing to take the risk of doing more than what they are told to do. This means that if you are a customer, or say a patient and you ask for help all you get is a dull blank stare and 'I will do exactly what I am told to do and nothing else'.
The problem is where does this attitude stop, the boss does what he is told by his boss, what about the top boss - he does nothing, just sits and watches everybody else.
Anyway the cosmonauts and astronauts were heroes and all the people involved in the space programmes, there are very few people like them left.
It is like somebody decided to enforce equality, they made everyone equal and they pushed and pushed until the whole system stopped and they realised 'we're not equal' lets just go back to what we were doing.