A group of 21st century humans navigated Curiosity over millions of miles and placed it on Mars! This is an astonishing feat. Having Curiosity safely land within meters of its target is beyond the comprehension of most earthlings. But what is even more astonishing is that the fundamental principles used to keep Curiosity on course were published in Sir Isaac Newton’s book ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica’ in 1687. Human understanding and creativity have adapted and applied Newton’s 17th century principles to achieve modern successes.
On many occasions I have heard that the North American membership decline is because the Object of Rotary is outdated and should be relegated to the scrap heap; that it is too old fashioned and does not appeal or apply to modern society. In sociology and human sciences, the Object of Rotary’s principles are about as outdated as those in Newton’s Philosophiae. Humans are social beings. Humanities desire and ability to develop acquaintances between generations and across boundaries as an opportunity for service has brought humanity from where it was eons ago to where it is today. Rotary launched early in the twentieth century, used the Object’s fundamental principles as its guidance system, and focused on its target audience – business and professional leaders.
In the latter part of the century, Rotary lost sight of its target audience and wandered off course. The business and professional leaders didn’t disappear. Rotary had programmed into its guidance system specific physical and cultural characteristics describing its target audience. As leaders with differing characteristics emerged, the guidance system failed to identify and focus on them. To resume course, Rotary updated the target audience’s descriptive characteristics, inadvertently overwhelming the system’s ability to focus.
Newton’s principles in Philosophiae, using modern, rational human thought, creativity, and technology, focused and placed Curiosity on its Mars target. The Object of Rotary, Rotary's Circle of Life, using modern, rational human thought, creativity, and technology, could put Rotary back on course – but only if clubs and Rotary International can identify and focus on its target audience - local leaders regardless of gender, generation, or ethnicity.