I learned about central projects from my friend Bruce Shackleton and included a passage about them in my book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution.
"Since beginning the Overview Project, I have come to see space exploration as part of a long tradition of central projects. According to a book based on research sponsored by Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell's Institute of Noetic Sciences, central projects, such as the construction of the Gothic cathedrals and the Egyptian pyramids, are catalysts for social and personal transformation.
These projects, although involving visible material artifacts, were actually the vehicles for more abstract social and psychological aims. The great cathedrals, besides serving as highly visible central projects to attract the best and most adventurous minds of the age, also served to educate the consciousness of the larger population. 1"
We need a central project for the 21st century!
(To be continued)
(c) Copyright, 2016, Frank White, All Rights Reserved
(1) The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at aiaa.org and amazon.com