Pen and Ink.

18 in x 24 in


Text: By Reverend Dean Woodruff. From his paper ‘The Myth of Apollo 11: The Effects of the Lunar Landing on the Mythic Dimension of Man.’ and from the sermon he gave at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church on July 20th 1969, the morning before the first moon landing.

“What happens today is an expression of man’s ability – of man’s self-determination. It is the molding of knowledge and theory; it is the channeling of human resources in solving problems; it is dreaming dreams and having visions; it is the concretizing of man’s potential… Self-determination is our way of surviving in the mundane and through the spectacular; it is our existence – our fight with failure, out impetus toward achievement, our struggles with demonic forces; it is the grit of man. Self-fulfillment is “oughtness” and “giveness” – what we “ought to be” and “what it is given us to be”. Fulfillment is the heart and soul of determination. Fulfillment is the meaning and purpose of self-determination.
When these two are put together perfectly we are what we are meant to be. This is what Nietzche developed in his idea of the “superman”. It is not a new biological species but a new kind of man who realizes his capacity for self-transcendence and self-fulfillment. This is what Nietzsche meant when he spoke through Zarathustra: “bless the cup which is about to overflow, so that the water, golden flowing out of it, may carry everywhere the reflection of thy rapture. Lo! this cup is about to empty itself again, and Zarathustra will once more become a man.

One of the most ancient motifs found in mythology is called ‘the magic flight’. Professor Eliade comments:  “…It is found everywhere, and in the most archaic of cultural strata… the longing to break the ties that hold him in bondage to the earth is not a result of cosmic pressures or of economic insecurity – it is constitutive of man… Such a desire to free himself from his limitation, which he feels to be a kind of degradation… must be ranked among the specific marks of man.” Apollo 11 will have the effect of saying to man that he can stand outside his world and view it as a whole. Science, as the achievement of man, has created a worldwide technical civilization and, as yet, has not given birth to any cultural symbols by which man can live. The Apollo event comes at a time when we need a symbol, and need to tap a myth that will graphically express the unending journey outward. Perhaps when those pioneers step on another planet and view the earth from a physically transcendent stance, we can sense its symbolism and feel anew breath of freedom from our current cultural claustrophobia and be awakened once again to the mythic dimension of man.”