If there were any doubt remaining about our ability to properly prioritize what's really important, any more than to be able to apply value with at least some semblance of connection to the human condition, this article (linked below) from the MIT Technology review should dispel it.
I know, there is at least some element of being unfair here, but I have become more than a little jaded concerning the mind set of the purveyors of capital and commodity. I guess I should be thankful that, even if the question is as obvious as our role in making the planet unlivable, at least someone is asking it.
If only more of the overall creative potential in the rest of the American economy would ask more such obvious questions. And more to the point, wouldn't it be something if what was considered as "Thinking Big" could jump outside of any form of product, as well as its marketing, or consumption?
We have lost our way precisely because we do not pursue frontier any more as a general public goal. And by frontier I mean it in terms expressed both symbolically and literally.
Frontier is something that was both an essential life risk, as well as boundaries pushed in every aspect of what we strove to be curious about, and better understand. It was an ideal that expressed both the need for personal liberty and cooperation as neither the group, or the individual would survive otherwise. It was taking chances that very few take these days; recognizing that living just to be "safe" was not living at all.
This is not to say that previous expressions of how frontier was pursued were without mistakes, and grievous ones at that. We didn't understand the interconnected nature of things, any more than we appreciated how far too easy it is to dehumanize those who are different. The thing is, however, that, in my opinion, those mistakes were not a fundamental aspect of going after frontier, but simply our own ignorance, willful and otherwise.
We can pursue frontier as a part of national identity, we just have to be careful of how we go about it. This is why, as we gain new abilities, and knowledge, we must always ask questions of how best to proceed. Questions that must necessarily go to fundamental assumptions of how we work together to make both our personal, as well as collective, dreams as mutually cooperative as give and take, and compromise will allow.
As will come as no surprise here, from my perspective our current operating model is almost perfection in its currently evolved ability to thwart any desire to aspire in these directions. It is, in fact, pretty much diametrically opposed to such desires.
Frontier beckons at our doorstep now not only because the stars call out to us, but also because tyranny and injustice has taken on so many new guises. We are crowded by fences of the mind, of nations, and of ideologies, as well as outright space to flex every aspect of our nature. If we don't recognize that soon, and further recognize the changes we need to make to take back the quest of frontier, we will not survive as a species. It is that simple.