In three days I’m back in the bus. I’m returning to DC for the Around Space interview. From there I’m not really sure. I’m tempted to swing down to New Orleans on the return, but have always been afraid of the South. I visualize myself, quite realistically I think you’ll agree, as pretty fringe even for the liberal west coast. Courting danger is one thing, but venturing into the south might be another. Besides, my family’s from that region, and it’s never really had that much appeal to the adult me. Still, Katrina and its aftermath are a lesson I probably ought to explore while I have the chance. All my present contacts are in the Northern part of the country, though.
I’ve decided to direct people to the forums at www.to-mars.org suggesting we start dialogues on topics prompted by my ramblings. That seems to me to be a good place to direct your thoughts on the pluses and minuses of an itinerary including the south. It’s such an ideal way for CSiii people to communicate with each other over these distances. Of course, comments here on the blog are also welcome. I’ve been getting a few by e-mail and I think I’m going to start posting some of them under “anonymous” so that the thoughts of others can be shared. But it would be easier for me if you’d direct your comments straight at the public at large.
So, what do you think, should I risk it? Would my comments be of special interest to you? Sort of an extreme “not your normal news cast?” Is this a diversion from my task I ought to avoid? After all, my only real goal on this trip is to find a “legitimate” publisher for The Call.
One suggestion that’s been offered that each of you could help immensely with is that we need to promote the website, and especially the blog, by mentioning it in other blogs, on myspace.com, in e-mails, etc, providing links generously around the web. Please think of it when you’re on line doing whatever. One thing’s for sure, I can’t do that myself either adequately, nor credibly. Oh, yeah, remember to send me e-mail addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org) of people you think should be on my e-mail list, and thanks to those who have already done so.
I promised last time that I’d address the question of why I keep waxing religious in my missives, so here goes:
First of all, I’m very open to suggestions on this. But I’ve also thought a lot about it for the last twenty years, so don’t expect me to be easy to convince. You see, what I need is someone to suggest an alternative way to solve the problem I see confronting us.
First, a short and dirty summary of the problem as I see it.
They will continue to fail miserably.
The destruction of the environment is going to be an event with consequences a billion times more serious than anyone else seems to imagine: the entire biosphere of this planet will die.
The only chance of salvation is to have in place before this occurs a viable, completely independent ecosystem on another planet.
Only Homo sapiens can effect this option for any species from this planet (viable for a few of the “lower” species is not necessarily viable for all).
That cannot be realized within a time frame of anything less than several centuries.
If you grant even the first three statements, then the thrust of the forth is compelled. The arguments that another planet is required are, again, the subject of the book, so I’ll not speak to them now. It’s worth stressing, however, that I’m talking of salvation in a non-human centered sense. If anything from this planet is to survive, it will have to do it off the planet.
Whether there might be a slim possibility that life in the form of microbes already attached to some bit of rock wandering around in outer space is not an idea that seems particularly relevant to me. It’s possible, I suppose. But do we really think it morally defensible to run the risk of doing nothing on only that minute chance?
I realize that “morality” has already taken us into the realm of religion, but then I’m not the one who has trouble with the idea that we’re going to have to go there.
Now, taking the last condition, that it will take centuries to respond via terraforming a planet, as a given (and virtually all experts agree it is), we need to establish a movement which is focused on the task and will last generations. Maintaining passion down through generations calls for active training of children by parents, societal reinforcement, educational focus, and so much more.
I know of no model other than “religion” which can do that. You can call it something different, and the onus the word seems to carry these days is a strong motivator to do so, but the fact remains that, so far as I can see, what we are needing is exactly the passion with which “religion,” and virtually nothing else, has always been endowed.
And then, putting me over the edge, of course, is the nature of the experience I had that started me down this track in the first place. More on that next time, perhaps (no promises–it’s in the book, too), but for now: What other model is there? Another good topic for a forum thread.