Integrity and openness - values to better distribute

admin Thursday May 11, 2023

It might seems strange for someone who was part of Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party of Canada government for 7 years to teach about integrity.

It's nevertheless interesting to see how former astronaut Marc Garneau looks back at his career in an interview with Paul Wells:

Marc Garneau wrote on 2023-03-14:

“One of the things I loved the most about NASA was that if you fuck up” — he paused before using the salty word — “you confess. That is the culture there.”

Probably this does not need to be spelled out, but here goes anyway. This culture of honesty was not a simple preference. Shuttle crews rode a lake of liquid fuel and twin towers of solid fuel at speeds their own ancestors could not have imagined. If a bug slipped into the system it could kill them and set spaceflight back decades, as indeed it did, twice. Owning up to error was the primary method of keeping colleagues, and the dream of spaceflight, alive.

“I did hundreds of simulations. I was the first non-American CAPCOM ever. CAPCOM’s the guy who talks to the crew in orbit for Mission Control. And we did hundreds of simulations. I covered 17 missions, just as CAPCOM. And after every simulation, where the crew, perhaps, had not picked up the problem and had not reacted properly to it, we’d do a post mortem.

“And that culture of honesty and openness, which you absolutely need in the space business — you can't have people making excuses or trying to hide things — that's what I love the most. And I wish it existed in all facets of life, including the one I ended up in.”

For want of honesty from politicians, it's nice to see occasional meta-(dis)honesty from former politicians. I for one can't wait for Vladimir Putin and his USA presidency puppet to exhibit some honesty about how much dishonesty they will have resorted to.

How wonderful would our world be if it wasn't for dishonesty?