Is this the ultimate in selfishness?

It depends on your point of view. But before we get into that, let’s introduce the topic:

ISS station braces for ‘loud’ Japanese space suit

US$20 million for a one-week visit to the space station???

As I recall from late-night television, it costs only pennies a day to feed starving kids in Africa. And last I checked, US$20 million works out to two-billion pennies.

But hey, it’s your money. You earned it. And if you want to spend it on a vacation, then that’s your choice.

It just wouldn’t be mine. I’m not saying that we have to give everything we can to charity…but some things just don’t seem justifiable.

You can take the opposing view and suggest that the men who’ve travelled to space for exorbitant sums of money are supporting the Russian Space Agency, thus improving our potential for exploration of the universe. But why are we so concerned about space travel when we still haven’t gotten our own planet in order?

The best answer is that we should pursue both avenues. We need to put greater emphasis on ending hunger and poverty, as well as curing diseases, while still looking to expand our horizons: space, the arts, technology.

Working on today’s issues while preparing for tomorrow’s challenges.

But then you see the headline: US$20 million for one week in space. And you wonder…you just have to wonder…how much these guys contribute to charity. And how many starving children could be fed with two-billion pennies.

Even then…even if they give just as much or more to charity than they paid for a space trip…it’s hard to label a $20-million vacation for one person as anything other than selfish.

Maybe it’s just me. If I had that much money to burn, I know I’d get far more satisfaction out of giving it away than spending it on myself.

And really, it’s quite simple to explain why I feel this way. See, it’s hard to feel like I’m actually doing anything. I contribute to United Way through my office campaign, but that just doesn’t feel significant. And it’s not. But if I had US$20 million to give, I’m pretty sure I could make a decent-sized dent in at least some of the world’s problems.

And I just wish that more people felt the same way.