Is civilization progress? The challenge, I think, is clear; and, as clearly, the final answer will be given not by our amassing of knowledge, or by the discoveries of our science, or by the speed of our aircraft, but by the effect of our civilized activities as a whole have upon the quality of our planet's life-the life of plants and animals as that of men.
Wind, weather, power, load - gradually these elements stop churning in my mind. It's less a decision of logic than a feeling, the kind of feeling that comes when you gauge the distance to be jumped between two stones across a brook. Something within you disengages itself from your body and travels ahead with your vision to make the test. You can feel it try the jump as you stand looking. Then uncertainty gives way to the conviction that it can or can't be done.
The improvement of our way of life is more important than the spreading of it. If we make it satisfactory enough, it will spread automatically. If we do not, no strength of arms can permanently oppose it.
Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in a fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed. What kind of man would live where there is no daring? And is life so dear that we should blame men for dying in adventure? Is there a better way to die?
LINDBERGH FLIES ALONE Alone? Is he alone at whose right side rides Courage, with Skill within the cockpit and faith upon the left? Does solitude surround the brave when Adventure leads the way and Ambition reads the dials? Is there no company with him, for whom the air is cleft by Daring and the darkness made light by Emprise? True, the fragile bodies of his fellows do not weigh down his plane; true, the fretful minds of weaker men are missing from his crowded cabin; but as his airship keeps its course he holds communion with those rare spirits that inspire to intrepidity and by their sustaining potency give strength to arm, resource to mind, content to soul. Alone? With what other companions would man fly to whom the choice were given?
Charles Lindbergh (1902 - 1974)
Source: An Editorial in the New York SUN, May 22, 1927