Have you ever wanted to fly to work? Without a helicopter, without a plane, without whatever it is Joby is building? Occasionally, I find myself resenting some of the physical laws of the universe. Gravity is usually the prime offender, as well as time. Several days ago I was irritated at gravity, wondering why it had to be such an immutable law. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend the afternoon flying about the clouds, startling migrating Canadian geese and alarming United Airlines pilots? I know I do.
That got me wondering about the motivation of the architects of the tower of Babel. If you aren’t familiar with the story (or your history–depending on your perspective), long before most of the earth was settled, humans got together on the plain of Shinar (I think this is somewhere around modern-day Iran or Iraq) and decided to build a tower that would reach the heavens. I imagine they were grumpy about their place in life and wanted to have it out with God. You know how the story ends. If you don’t, go read Genesis. Regardless of your philosophy, you’ll find it an interesting read.
And, of course, if you truly want to understand literature, from PG Wodehouse on back through the great Russians, Dickens, Thackeray, etc., all the way through Shakespeare, you have to read the Bible. This is a bit of a rabbit trail-aside, but I’m astonished at the lack of biblical literacy in today’s college kids, particularly those who want to write or wish to have any sort of career in literature, writing for entertainment, journalism, you name it. You cannot read Hamlet properly without understanding the Bible. A deep understanding of the Marvel universe will not help you.
Anyway, back to the tower of Babel builders. A displeasure with the laws of the universe is my integration back to those frustrated central planners. I imagine I might have been building alongside them. Perish the thought.