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?
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If we can combine our knowledge of science with the wisdom of wildness, if we can nurture civilization through roots in the primitive, man's potentialities appear to be unbounded, Through this evolving awareness, and his awareness of that awareness, he can emerge with the miraculous-to which we can attach what better name than 'God'? And in this merging, as long sensed by intuition but still only vaguely perceived by rationality, experience may travel without need for accompanying life.
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I may be flying a complicated airplane, rushing through space, but in this cabin I'm surrounded by simplicity and thoughts set free of time. How detached the intimate things around me seem from the great world down below. How strange is this combination of proximity and separation. That ground - seconds away - thousands of miles away. This air, stirring mildly around me. That air, rushing by with the speed of a tornado, an inch beyond. These minute details in my cockpit. The grandeur of the world outside. The nearness of death. The longness of life.
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By day, or on a cloudless night, a pilot may drink the wine of the gods, but it has an earthly taste; he's a god of the earth, like one of the Grecian deities who lives on worldly mountains and descended for intercourse with men. But at night, over a stratus layer, all sense of the planet may disappear. You know that down below, beneath that heavenly blanket is the earth, factual and hard. But it's an intellectual knowledge; it's a knowledge tucked away in the mind; not a feeling that penetrates the body.
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In honoring the Wright Brothers, it is customary and proper to recognize their contribution to scientific progress. But I believe it is equally important to emphasize the qualities in their pioneering life and the character in man that such a life produced. The Wright Brothers balanced sucess with modesty, science with simplicity. At Kitty Hawk their intellects and senses worked in mutual support. They represented man in balance, and from that balance came wings to lift a world.
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Possibly everyone will travel by air in another fifty years. I'm not sure I like the idea of millions of planes flying around overhead. I love the sky's unbroken solitude. I don't like to think of it cluttered up by aircraft, as roads are cluttered up by cars. I feel like the western pioneer when he saw barbed-wire fence lines encroaching on his open plains. The success of his venture brought the end of the life he loved.
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The idea of racial inferiority or superiority is foreign to me. I can't feel inferior or superior to another man because of race, or in any way antagonistic to him. I judge by the individual, not by his race, and have always done so. I would rather have one of my children marry into a good family of any race than into a bad family of any other race.
I began to feel that I lived on a higher plane than the skeptics of the ground; one that was richer because of its very association with the element of danger they dreaded, because it was freer of the earth to which they were bound. In flying, I tasted a wine of the gods of which they could know nothing. Who valued life more highly, the aviators who spent it on the art they loved, or these misers who doled it out like pennies through their antlike days? I decided that if I could fly for ten years before I was killed in a crash, it would be a worthwhile trade for an ordinary life time.
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If I were entering adulthood now instead of in the environment of fifty years ago, I would choose a career that kept me in touch with nature more than science. ... Too few natural areas remain; both by intent and by indifference we have insulated ourselves from the wilderness that produced us.
We talk about spreading democracy and freedom all over the world, but they are to us words rather than conditions. We haven't even got them here in America, and the farther we get into this war the farther we get away from democracy and freedom. Where is it leading us to, and when will it end? The war might stop this winter, but that is improbable. It may go on for fifty years or more. That also is improbable. The elements are too conflicting and confused to form any accurate judgment of its length. There may be a series of wars, one after another, going on indefinitely.
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It is about a period in aviation which is now gone, but which was probably more interesting than any the future will bring. As time passes, the perfection of machinery tends to insulate man from contact with the elements in which he lives. The 'stratosphere' planes of the future will cross the ocean without any sense of the water below. Like a train tunneling through a mountain, they will be aloof from both the problems and the beauty of the earth's surface.
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Our emphasis on science has resulted in an alarming rise in world populations, the demand and ever-increasing emphasis of science to improve their standards and maintain their vigor. I have been forced to the conclusion that an over-emphasis of science weakens character and upsets life's essential balance.
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It is not the willingness to kill on the part of our soldiers which most concerns me. That is an inherent part of war. It is our lack of respect for even the admirable characteristics of our enemy; for courage, for suffering, for death, for his willingness to die for his beliefs, for his companies and squadrons which go forth, one after another, to annihilation against our superior training and equipment.
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The life of an aviator seemed to me ideal. It involved skill. It brought adventure. It made use of the latest developments of science. Mechanical engineers were fettered to factories and drafting boards while pilots have the freedom of wind with the expanse of sky. There were times in an aeroplane when it seemed I had escaped mortality to look down on earth like a God.
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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.
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The manipulation of credit has been the most potent of all methods employed by financiers as a means of controlling commerce and fixing prices.We are all consumers and should all be producers.This credit is a tax upon humanity as if government bonds were issued and people were obliged to pay it.
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My father had been opposed to my flying from the first and had never flown himself. However, he had agreed to go up with me at the first opportunity, and one afternoon he climbed into the cockpit and we flew over the Redwood Falls together. From that day on I never heard a word against my flying and he never missed a chance to ride in the plane.
My aging body transmits an ageless life stream. Molecular and atomic replacement change life's composition. Molecules take part in structure and in training, countless trillions of them. After my death, the molecules of my being will return to the earth and sky. They came from the stars. I am of the stars.
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Then what am I - the body substance which I can see with my eyes and feel with my hands? Or am I this realization, this greater understanding which dwells within it, yet expands through the universe outside; a part of all existence, powerless but without need for power; immersed in solitude, yet in contact with all creation? There are moments when the two appear inseparable, and others when they could be cut apart by the merest flash of light.
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While my hand is on the stick, my feet on the rudder, and my eyes on the compass, this consciousness, like a winged messenger, goes out to visit the waves below, testing the warmth of water, the speed of wind, the thickness of intervening clouds. It goes north to the glacial coasts of Greenland, over the horizon to the edge of dawn, ahead to Ireland, England, and the continent of Europe, away through space to the moon and stars, always returning, unwillingly, to the mortal duty of seeing that the limbs and muscles have attended their routine while it was gone.
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On a long flight, after periods of crisis and many hours of fatigue, mind and body may become disunited until at times they seem completely different elements, as though the body were only a home with which the mind has been associated but by no means bound. Consciousness grows independent of the ordinary senses. You see without assistance from the eyes, over distances beyond the visual horizon. There are moments when existence appears independent even of the mind. The importance of physical desire and immediate surroundings is submerged in the apprehension of universal values.
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I can't get used to the ease with which one covers the world today. It's no longer an effort--Pole--equator--oceans--continents--it's just a question of which way you point the nose of your plane. The pure joy of flight as an art has given way to the pure efficiency of flight as a science.... Science is insulating man from life -- separating his mind from his senses. The worst of it is that it soon anaesthetizes his senses so that he doesn't know what he's missing.
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After reading ... accounts ... of minor accidents of light, it is little wonder that the average man would far rather watch someone else fly and read of the narrow escapes from death when some pilot has had a forced landing or a blowout, than to ride himself. Even in the postwar days of now obsolete equipment, nearly all of the serious accidents were caused by inexperienced pilots who where then allowed to fly or attempt to fly-without license or restrictions about anything they could coax into the air.
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Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way, for they will be among the first to feel its consequences. Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastation. A few very far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not. Their greatest danger to this country lies in their ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government.
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We are compelled to work more hours per day, receive less pay per hour, pay more for what we buy, and recieve less for what we sell. The consequence is that we must work harder and more hours per day than we should, and in the end have less than what is due to us as our part of the advantages, conveniences and opportunities resulting from advancing civilization.
Lying under an acacia tree with the sound of the dawn around me, I realized more clearly the facts that man should never overlook: that the construction of an airplane, for instance, is simple when compared [with] a bird; that airplanes depend on an advanced civilization, and that were civilization is most advanced, few birds exist. I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
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Why does one want to walk wings? Why force one's body from a plane to make a parachute jump? Why should man want to fly at all? People often ask these questions. But what civilization was not founded on adventure, and how long could one exist without it? Some answer the attainment of knowledge. Some say wealth, or power, is sufficient cause. I believe the risks I take are justified y the sheer love of the life I lead.
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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?
These phantoms speak with human voices . . . able to vanish or appear at will, to pass in and out through the walls of the fuselage as though no walls were there . . . familiar voices, conversing and advising on my flight, discussing problems of my navigation, reassuring me, giving me messages of importance unattainable in ordinary life.
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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.
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I'm not bound to be in aviation at all. I'm here only because I love the sky and flying more than anything else on earth. Of course there's danger; but a certain amount of danger is essential to the quality of life. I don't believe in taking foolish chances' but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chance at all.
We are disturbed about the effect of the Jewish influence on our press, radio, and motion pictures. It may become very serious. (Fulton) Lewis told us of one instance where the Jewish advertising firms threatened to remove all their advertising from the Mutual System if a certain feature was permitted to go on the air. The threat was powerful enough to have the feature removed.
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The Jews are one of the principle forces attempting to lead the U.S. into the war. The Jews greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our Government. I am saying that the LEADERS of the Jewish race wish to involve us in the war for reasons that are NOT AMERICAN.
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It was that quality that led me into aviation in the first place "" it was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of man "" where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same instant.
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