Thursday, October 14, 2010

For the love of flying

I've been building my airplane for almost 10 years. This guy has been working on his for one year. I fret about whether a 1/8" gap between a cowling and a firewall is too much (it is). He, umm, doesn't.

But which one of us loves aviation more? Good question.

I don't know whether that thing is going to fly or not. In his column today, James Fallows points out that it almost doesn't matter:
But in my experience -- mainly In Ghana and Kenya during the 70s, in Southeast Asia in the 1980s, and in China these past few years -- there is a cumulatively very different and very powerful experience that comes from meeting person after person like the Kenyan aviator-aspirant. That is, people whose material circumstances and range of experience are vastly different from a typical person's in London or high-end Shanghai or San Francisco, and who objectively have nowhere near the same opportunities -- but who take their own life drama and possibilities just as seriously and can dream just as ambitiously. For instance, I am thinking of a man in his 70s in a village in western China whose consuming project is a handwritten history of life in his village, from his boyhood during the era of war in the late 1930s and 1940s, through the Great Leap Forward of the 1950s, to the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, and onward. He is someone who wears the same pants, shirt, and jacket virtually every day, because that's what he has. He is part of "the rural poor," but he has a plan and a dream.

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