A blog about ideas, popular culture, philosophy, and personal enthusiasms (or "springs of delight") of all kinds.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Why go into space?
For the same reason that makes us bring children into the world.
Because we’re afraid of death and darkness, and because we want to see our image reflected and perpetuated to immortality.
We don’t want to die, but death is there, and because it’s there we give birth to children who’ll give birth to other children and so on to infinity.
And this way we are handed down to eternity.
Don’t let us forget this: that the Earth can die, explode, the Sun can go out, will go out.
And if the Sun dies, if the Earth dies, if our race dies, then so will everything die that we have done up to that moment.
Homer will die, Michelangelo will die, Galileo, Leonardo, Shakespeare, Einstein will die, all those will die who now are not dead because we are alive, we are thinking of them, we are carrying them within us.
And then every single thing, every memory, will hurtle down into the void with us.
So let us save them, let us save ourselves.
Let us prepare ourselves to escape, to continue life and rebuild our cities on other planets: we shall not long be of this Earth!
And if we really fear the darkness, if we really fight against it, then, for the good of all, let us take our rockets, let us get well used to the great cold and heat, the no water, the no oxygen, let us become Martians on Mars, Venusians on Venus, and when Mars and Venus die, let us go to the other solar systems, to Alpha Centauri, to wherever we manage to go, and let us forget the Earth.
Let us forget our solar system and our body, the form it used to have, let us become no matter what, lichens, insects, balls of fire, no matter what, all that matters is that somehow life should continue, and the knowledge of what we were and what we did and learned: the knowledge of Homer and Michelangelo, of Galileo, Leonardo, Shakespeare, of Einstein!
1. William James 2. John Stuart Mill 3. John Dewey 4. David Hume 5. Michel de Montaigne 6. Bertrand Russell 7. Ralph Waldo Emerson/Henry David Thoreau (a tie, and a couple) 8. Aristotle (mostly because he contradicts Plato)
Where are the women? Up until relatively recently, they weren't invited into the conversation. But I'm doing my homework. Thanks to Jennifer Michael Hecht's wonderful Doubt: A History, I know the names of some 19th century women who'd likely have become favorites of mine and many others, in a better world: Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner, Annie Besant, Ernestine Rose, Etta Semple, Helen Hamilton Gardener...
Great nickname for the pitcher who shut out Hillwood in the postseason opener!
It's her time
The clock on my office wall
He walked much and contemplated, and he had in the head of his cane a pen and ink-horn, carried always a note-book in his pocket, and as soon as a thought darted, he presently entered it into his book, or otherwise he might perhaps have lost it."
"It cannot be always seaside...
...even as it cannot be always May, and through the gaps thought creeps in." H.G. Wells