Yes, the Hubble telescope, comparatively speaking, is a magnificent piece of technology and there's better coming. “Better to see
you, my dear!” We also popped a bunch of automatonic humans on the Moon some 50 years ago and haven't done it since.
Think about it...
We take snapshots of little dots of light in the so-called universe, our so-called dimension and we take closeup snapshots of barren rocks
that circle along with our rock around a small star. We speculate and agonize about the nature of things and try to emulate our brains in microcosmic boxes. And... we ask... why
they, out there, don't contact us.
Would you, if you were they?
It isn't hubris, it's fear of that ancient enduring the thing that goes bump in the night. It has taken us thousands of years
to just begin to realize that we, little short-lived we, are that thing.
We spend a large part of our planet's treasury on weapons to protect ourselves. Against what? Ourselves! And we spend an increasingly
large part on breaching the final frontier, 'outer space'. Traveling in our tiny, tiny speck of a solar system, a few 100 miles in orbit around our planet, 250000 miles
to the moon is not space travel. It's Columbus and the Vikings. It is hard to imagine trillions of miles and hundreds of years to get somewhere ‘out there’. And
it should always be noted that what we spend on weapons and space is always at the expense of lifting billions of our fellow human beings out of grinding, life-diminishing
poverty. C'est la vie. C'est (the predominantly capitalist) la vie.
Now, we're all excited about sending some of our compatriots to step on the planet Mars. Along with NASA's late-night wet dream
there are also commercial ventures to provide emigration to Mars. Columbus and the Vikings in Space. The difference is that these migrants will be going on a one-way trip. One
future migrant said: “This is the most exciting adventure of a lifetime. I know that we will be safe and happy.” She obviously was steeped in Ridley Scott's The Martian. Better she should steep back into Blade Runner.
True outer space is currently verboten to humans because...
1. Human physiology cannot tolerate the rigours and mind-bending body
alterations that occur in space travel. We are a thin-skinned species and cannot even extend our life spans to a measurable point in cosmic time. We come into life and leave in
less than a nano-second of cosmic time. The answer... change the physiology.
And, 2. We have no way of getting there, anywhere within a logical time frame. If it takes 100
Earth years to get somewhere in our galaxy and 100 years to get back, where have we gone? The answer... discover a new energy source and carefully warp
space-time. I know,
you couldn't care less. What does this have to do with defeating ISIS, Trump, and the Boston Red Sox?
More on that later.
If you've been reading this column, you know that I'm an admirer of Star Trek and its visionary creator, Gene Roddenberry. You
see, I truly believe that there is no such thing as science fiction. All science is fiction until it cannot be replaced by a newer science. That's the nugget in the idea of... if you can imagine it, it's possible. And if it's possible, it's probable. A neat piece of Zen.
To our good fortune, Roddenberry gathered together some fine science writers and explored what could be, as if it already is. The creation
of the character Data... an answer to
Problem 1., no? Warp drive... an answer to Problem 2?
But, a big ‘But’ among all the big butts that are now in vogue
is... we may not be able to defeat the ISIS plague or the
worldwide-cloned Trumps or Fenway Park because we have brought our planet to the distinct edge of collapse. That's you and me and our ancestors. It began only 600 years ago
when the human population crossed over the line of sustainability. The oceans are dying, the air is dying, and our food supply is malingering. The clocks tick, the lips lick,
and the dreams stick like fading decals on a transparent wall.
Why don't they contact us? If you knew who they are and you were they... would you?