One often hears how necessity is the mother of invention. In fact, every war has produced an abundance of new technology and advancements. The Internet, for instance, was the result of World War II inventions. It appears that things move a lot faster when there is such pressure as the threat of invasion or to escape an enemy's bombs. Under normal circumstances the same may take years of development and money.
Governments are keen to explore the brain-power of inventors when there is a threat to the security of a country. But what happens when peace is restored and the stress is lifted?
One of the greatest inventions during WWII was radar. This is an object detection system that uses radio waves to detect objects. It detects the range, shape, and velocity of such things as aircraft, space vehicles, ships, missiles, and even weather patterns, to name but a few of them. Prior to the war it was dreamed of but its application for the military happened as a result of the conflict.
Submarines have a long history that goes back to Leonardo da Vinci who proposed an underwater craft to protect Venus. It took another 400 years, however, before the technology for such a vehicle was perfected. While there are examples of subs from the 19th Century it was during the first World War that designs for them took off.
Civilian use has followed as they are now used by ocean explorers, scientists, and for strike forces, among other things. The technology, however, only came to the fore because of the wars.
Aircraft are another example of need creating great things. My first ride in a plane was so fantastic when at the age of around 15 years I went on one from Sydney to Newcastle, in New South Wales. Every tiny bit of landscape below was studied in depth and the excitement of climbing above the clouds and flying above the earth like a bird has never left me.
Jet planes came about during the Second World War and they are something else again. Breaking the sound barriers was the next big challenge and when that happened there was nothing to stop the next step forward. That was space travel and putting a man on the moon.
Now all of these systems come into play in the exploration of our universe. The power we have now to look beyond the earth and understand the intelligence that created it all is at last within our grasp. No longer need we ponder the rubbish of heaven and hell, which clearly don't exist, or that the celestial bodies are gods because our understanding is more advanced.
This brings into question the role of religions and the handicaps they present towards advancement of science and ideas. In my mind everything happens for a reason and the pressure of wars and the advancements in technology was designed to bring us to a better understanding of nature and to allow the Spirit of the Universe to shine through. That, to me, is the greatest need of all.