The mysterious Hoffitt film that surfaced during the TLE really added a useful dimension to the game. Whether it was a part of TLE released by TPTB, or the clever work of fans with access to historical document reels, the film did a great job of portraying the zeitgeist of the collective scientific community in the first half of the 20th century and put the early earnest intentions of the HF in a related light. During the game we learned that the Hanso Foundation was created with the good intentions of using science to improve our world. Like Alfred Nobel, Alvar wanted to put his destructive arms career behind him, and atone by concentrating on beneficial research.
The HF ad states, "From the dawn of our species, Man has been blessed with curiosity. Our most precious gift, is the desire to know more. To look beyond what is accepted, and to imagine what is possible". The Hoffitt film is narrated throughout and at one point the voice-over comments, "Today the mystery of the great unknown is being explored unendingly by research scientists, hoping to find practical application for advancements in all of our lives and ways. Each discovery... fulfills the human destiny...with a purpose to perform toward perfection. We...believe in...fundamentally improving the human condition, through applied reason." These are very admirable goals, and mirror those of early 20th century research.
When scientists began to make great strides in areas such as curing diseases and simplifying our daily lives with improved products and equipment, these men (and the few women who were allowed, such as Madame Curie and Lisa Meintner) were giants to us. When I grew up children changed from wanting to grow up to be Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, to imagining themselves in jobs hunching over bubbling beakers, wielding sword-like slide rules and sporting pocket protectors, or hurtling through the heavens to unknown worlds. Our TV heroes were the likes of astronauts, the adventuresome Johnny Quest and his scientist dad, and Mr. Wizard who taught us the fundamentals of science magic. We were promised a brighter future and a better tomorrow through science. And we were told that we would live on the moon!
So what happened to those lofty scientific goals? Today researchers are often thought of as the bad guys, almost with the same distaste that people rightly cast on the selfish corporate magnates of the 21st century. Where did science go wrong? Maybe we can look to TLE for some hints. Perhaps many once-honorable science related businesses like IBM got overtaken, as the original family owners bowed out, by pseudo-scientist nuts who had only their self-promoting money-making achievements in mind. Additionally, the grey-haired old hippies from the 1960s who complain today about global this-and-that-problems had forty years to study any science of their choice to help improve the world, but they didn't and all they do now is complain. Where were they when the coup of the scientific community was happening by those with less than stellar aspirations? ((Crickets chirping))
I guess that Underdog was not able to control Simon Bar Sinister after all. Maybe Johnny Quest and his dad failed to overcome the many evil scientists at work to control the world, and that's the universe that we live in now. And Mr. Wizard (Don Herbert) passed on from our dimension this year. Other than that, I have no clue as to what happened to our aspirations for a better and more humanitarian tomorrow through science. I'm open for suggestions.