“The urge to explore, the quest of the part for the whole, has been the primary force in evolution since the first water creatures began to reconnoiter the land. We humans see this impulse as the drive to self-transcendence, the unfolding of self-awareness. The need to see the larger reality — from the mountaintop, the moon, or the Archimedean points of science — is the basic imperative of consciousness, the specialty of our species. If we insist that the human quest await the healing of every sore on the body politic, we condemn ourselves to stagnation. Living systems cannot remain static; they evolve or decline. They explore or expire. The inner experience of this imperative is curiosity and awe. The sense of wonder — the need to find our place in the whole — is not only the genesis of personal growth but the very mechanism of evolution, driving us to become more than we are. Exploration, evolution, and self-transcendence are but different perspectives on the same process.”
Wyn Wachhorst, The Dream of Spaceflight: Essays on the Near Edge of Infinity (New York: Basic Books, 2000), pp. 150-151.