Gigantism, the pursuit of extravagantly large objects, has always been alluring and captivating, synonymous with strength, might, and power. For centuries, people have marveled at overly large ships or impressive military machinery without always appreciating the practicality behind smaller, less impressive equipment. Yet, history tells us that size is not always an indicator of success or superiority.

The Discovery of Brazil: A study in contrasts

The Portuguese ‘discovery’ of Brazil in the 1500s is a perfect example of this. Historical narratives often overlook the fact that the ship the Portuguese used in their exploration was minuscule compared to the mammoth vessels utilized by the Chinese explorers, particularly Admiral Zhen He, nearly a century before. The Portuguese proved you could make significant discoveries and impact history with a compact, smaller vehicle.

Current Military Landscape: A lesson in balance

Drawing analogies to the current military landscape, we can observe a similar trend. The United States, known for its robust and potent military power, boasts of an array of colossal military assets from the Navy aircraft carrier to the impressive (and controversial) V-22 Osprey. However, when we turn our attention to the current conflict in Ukraine, a rather intriguing observation emerges. The fleet of small drones used in this conflict have displayed remarkable efficacy, challenging the notion that bigger equals better, thereby proving that size isn't the primary determinant of success.

V-22 Osprey that costs $84M
Ukrainian drone

The Neglected Potential of Exploration: The Chinese Experience

Now, let's return to ancient China, specifically to the era of Admiral Zhen He. His fleet of gigantic ships roamed the world, dominating the waters with their size and impressiveness. However, after Zhen He, this era of exploration ended abruptly; China stopped investing in both shipbuilding and exploration. This decision not only hampered their progression in various fields but also stunted their global influence. The lesson here is straightforward: never stop exploring or investing in the future.

Looking Forward

In conclusion, the attractiveness of gigantism, whether it's in ship size or military assets, is undeniable but we shouldn't neglect the practicality and potential of smaller, less impressive tools. History reminds us to keep exploring, to keep investing, and to never be intimidated by the current-day 'giant'. After all, the future still remains to be discovered.