I just finished reading Dan Gibson's Op-Ed article on "What's Important". While I can't invalidate his feelings about this matter (after all, his opinion is as important as mine or anyone else's) I would like to offer a rebuttal. Yes, there are a great many things more important in the grand scheme of things than flightsimming. I love my family very much, and I have wanted to spend time with them more since the terrible events of 9/11 than ever before. However, I think suggesting that those who derive great pleasure from flightsimming stop out of a sense of what's correct or important is misguided.
I believe that anything which contributes to communication, understanding and a shared sense of wonder should be encouraged in these dark days. And yes, my brothers and sisters, flying simulated aircraft falls into this category as well. How many countries are represented on this forum alone? We all get along (for the most part :-)) while sharing a common interest that crosses all national, religious, ethnic and gender lines. What could be a better salve for our current problems than a little understanding?
I don't mean to assign any great mission of saving the world to our humble hobby. However, many times it isn't the grand gestures that bring us together as humans, it's the little things; shared moments that help us understand that the whole of humanity is more than just the sum of it's disparate national parts. So, if his point is not to withdraw into yourselves and your computer pastimes then it is well taken. But let's not forsake our normal lives and interactions with one another in the name of "what's important". To do that would only promote isolation, which is at the root of many of the misunderstandings that drive us apart.
I, for one, love flightsimming not only because it's fun by itself, but also for the wonderful community I've found here. I'm going to keep living my life and enjoying interacting with each and every one of you as often as possible. I hope that many of you feel the same way, because you are in large part why I love this hobby.
Your flightsimming friend,