We Need to Celebrate Human Achievement Day, Now More than Ever

Ed Hudgins

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We Need to Celebrate Human Achievement Day, Now More than Ever 
By Edward Hudgins

October 21 is the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s invention of the first workable lightbulb. If we want more lightbulbs shining above our heads, symbolizing new human-enhancing ideas in our minds ready to be made real, then we should mark this date as Human Achievement Day. We have a Labor Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and even an Earth Day, and we should be celebrating human achievements, too!

First, a Human Achievement Day would raise our consciousness about the incredible world in which we live—a world we often take for granted—and how it came about. Imagine students giving class reports on which inventors and innovations most improved their lives over the prior year or explaining to their classmates the origins of the equipment in their classrooms.

Edison tested 6,000 filaments before finding one that kept the lightbulb glowing. He didn’t consider these 6,000 failures, but rather as successes in eliminated materials that didn’t work!

In 1906, a publishing company found temperature variations in its facility caused printing equipment to expand or contract subtly, making it difficult to keep the machines properly aligned ... (continue reading.)

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That’s a great idea, Ed.

I thought I read the air conditioner was invented for home owners in Texas, so I must have misread that. I worked for Burroughs Printing way back when and the “factory portion” and the paper storage area had air conditioning but we in the pre-press area on the second floor had to rely on that air overflow to get cool. Eventually we too, got ducts to bring in the cool. Peter

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I'm not against this.


That's a tepid way of saying it, I guess, but the idea does not cause fire in my soul to make me want to act. If it happened, though, and a Human Achievement Day ever became a thing, I would say, "Cool."


Frankly, I wish the top storytellers in our culture would use the theme of human achievement (good guys) versus power (bad guys) over the minds of individuals--power to mold and stifle independent minds and make them obey, but they won't touch it. Nor themes similar to it.

Fortunately there is a thriving self-help market and, like it or not, the independent good guy beating down bullies and power-mongers is still a standard story archetype. And, of course, Rand's works still sell. :) 

All of these (and even other things like American sports culture) foster the elevation of human achievement over the mediocrity of indoctrinated conformity. So at least I don't see that going away anytime soon.


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My thinking is we’ve both been promoting a rational philosophy for decades. What’s happened in our culture during that time? Some 25 years ago, Bill Clinton had to run as a New Democrat who wanted workable reforms because old welfare state policies were being discredited. Today, socialists lead that party and do so because there is an audience primed for their message.

I see human achievement appealing to the “soft left,” younger folks who love technology, want at least enough freedom to follow their own dreams, who want to prosper, who are optimists—the Steven Pinker “Enlightenment Now!” types, transhumanists, Singulatarians, etc. I see human achievement as a uniting rather than polarizing appeal and a way to change value and priorities.

I’ve written lots of essays explaining logically with facts to back my arguments about the superiority of reason and freedom, but I fear the audience for such discussion is shrinking. What you say is true, but I argue that the sort of cultural celebration of achievement, focus on heroes, stories about what’s possible, etc., is much needed!



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