Wednesday 26 September 2007

Jumping Off This Rock

One of the main factors which should scream out loud that our society is currently incapable of acheiving anything TRULY productive, is our failure to advance in any meaningful sense, to the problem of where our descendants are going to live.

Now partly, I think we are being slightly alarmist.
The world can easily feed itself today many times over- Africa produces four times as much food as it needs, it just doesn't get distributed properly, whilst us Europeans burn most of what we produce, even when we pay our farmers NOT to grow food.

The fact remains, there's good land sitting idle even in the UK, one of the most heavily populated countries on earth.
This is NOT an overcrowded planet yet, by any stretch of the argument.

If we managed our planet better- in the way I have described- I feel pretty sure we could feed 100 Billion of us and still have plenty of space. And the average global population density STILL wouldn't be as high as it is in the UK today.

It's about the technology and managing the infrastructure efficiently.

The environment is a worry. But only if we don't take control of our atmosphere. In a hundred years or so, I see no reason we why won't be able to install low flying devices that extract the Carbon back out of the CO2, simply leaving Oxygen.
And we'll need this sort of technology anyway.
Technology to create and regulate artificial Eco-systems.

Because, if we really want a bright future, part of it has to be about making great leaps forward.
Just as the navigators of the sixteenth century sailed the oceans and made the world one, one day we must expand the space we occupy.

The problem of population cannot just be solved with birth control. Birth control is inherently negative, in a sense.
It's great for freeing sex from unwanted pregnancy.
But as a deliberate strategy to limit human population, it is a mixed blessing.

Our current society doesn't feel it has the resources to waste on taking this seriously.
Instead, it feels that energy is better spent developing computer games- reality simulations- because we can't be bothered with the real thing.
Real risks, real dangers, real steps forward.

Because let's face it, the day the first settlers- as opposed to astronauts- land on Mars, it will be one of the greatest triumphs of our existence.

We worry about energy. Sitting out there beyond the asteroid belt are four gas giants many times the size of earth, which can power human needs for millennia.

The Solar System is our oyster- it is there for the taking, we pretty much have the knowledge and the resources NOW, to jump off this rock and expand the domain of Man to the Kuiper belt.

And one day- maybe further still.

It is not vanity, to want as much for Man as we can sieze. That is what life is all about. Loving Man, is about wanting Man to acheive his dreams.

This is one of the things that gets me annoyed, that makes me despise our society so much, when I realise what we COULD be doing, and I look at what we are doing.

Because any healthy species, any species with any drive about it, believes in a future where its population growth is permanently exponential and regards that as a positive, not a negative.

Only a species that has lost its sense of purpose wants to limit its numbers.
Because the more of us there are, the more intelligence we have, the more strength we have, the more creativity we have.

And of course, the more Love we have.

To me, this is what proves the system is failing. It is incapable of siezing opportunity for Man, and doing something useful with it.

Because I WANT my descendants to live in towering cities of glass, concrete and steel, piercing the very sky, cities where million, if not billions, live together, work together, play together and make love together.

And I really don't think the daily game of shift the assets around is a constructive way of getting there.


Anonymous said...

i never understood all this "sims" hype. it sorta follows the whole idea of reality tv and our fascination with seeing "real" people living their lives. what crap! i like the co2-brushing ships/cars idea. and i think when the time comes, humans will seek refuge in alternate universes.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Raffi and I will add that more importance is placed on technology because that's where we are headed as a society. Sooner than not we will be wired to an electronic cable extended from the sky and pulled to a destiny determined by technolgy. We will be devoid of emotional output and full of red and blue wires delicately choking our sense of freedom.

Anonymous said...

The timeline of your view of technology is a lot shorter than mine so you may see believe these things may happen much sooner than I do. Great leaps as you would like require a great commitment of resources, both money and mindpower and I don't believe there is the will at the moment.

One of the most emotional moments of my lifetime was standing outside in 1957 and looking up at Sputnik passing across the sky. I also watched Neil Armstrong in 1969 walk on the moon which was a much greater achievement but somehow not quite so moving because by then we just expected it to happen as another step in the process of the conquering of space. But it happened because the US put an enormous effort into making it happen.

Anonymous said...

Do you think they will be able to transplant my brain into a robotic body and then I could live forever?

Anonymous said...

In a hundred years or so, I see no reason we why won't be able to install low flying devices that extract the Carbon back out of the CO2, simply leaving Oxygen.
But where will the carbon go?

I personally can't imagine a worse environment to grow up in. Towering cities of glass, concrete and steel... ICK! What about the grasslands, and the trees. Are they going to see them in these cities? I live near quite a big park, and I HATE seeing buildings when I'm walking through it. It ruins the feeling of being in the open.

And all of these resources you talked about, being able to sustain 100 billion people... what about the animals. The natives that we need to care for. If we destroy their environment to make a new one for us, don't we have the responsibility to maintain them too? Did you think about them when you imagined your 'glorious' cities?

Anonymous said...

God no - Mutley. Who'd want to live for ever ? Watching loved ones die. Who'd want a robotic body ? I want flesh and bones which grow old, wrinkled and decay as is the way of life - a body that feels pain and pleasure naturaly. I love the sensations my body brings me ... ESPECIALL my tongue and my penis. Replace all that for a collection of nuts'n'bolts and diodes ? Never ! ESPECIALLY my cock.

I know you're only joking, Mutley ;-)

Ingsoc - I don't know if the cosmos has purpose, but the direction life seems to take (albeit in a haphazard way) is towards more and more awareness - awakening if you like. It's as though the universe wants to look at itself. I think transcendancy of this earthly realm will be The Way - possibly not even via intergalactic travel. In fact I can't see the , but transcendency of earthly dependance - possibly the opening up of new dimensions through biology augmented with technology. I doubt if the likes of you and me will be invited to the party though.

Anonymous said...

Insert: In fact I can't see the point of inter-galactic travel.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Okay, you're right, if we're worried about resources, we should start thinking of solutions. Guess not everyone has been giving it as much thought as you have. Hmmm... yes, I think earth still has lots of livable space, actually :-)

Anonymous said...

Just a thought from a favorite author...CS Lewis-

"Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with "normal life". Life has never been normal..."

But I honestly liked what Ek said more...
"towards more and more awareness - awakening if you like. It's as though the universe wants to look at itself"-
deep stuff here, and there-

Anonymous said...

Raffi- I hardly watch TV, except for football, and things like CSI.

I believe we will one day pretty much have the power of God.
We shouldn't shy away from that either.

Alexys- We will not be devoid of emotional output at all. But I think over time our INDIVIDUAL emotions will blend. We are heading towards being a collecctive species.
An emotion is an evolved instinct- we will retain the ones that are useful to us.

jmb- I don't see it happening under current circumstances. But I have faith that once we are running ourselves properly, we can do these things.
The way the Space Exploration story stopped after the Apollo missions is a sad story indeed.

Mutley- Interesting point.
Ultimately, I'd say no. I don't think brain tissue will ever be capable of being kept alive indefinitely.

Phish- We store the carbon and use it as fuel again.
We'd still have room for grasslands and trees- the UK has several national parks, I'm sure there would be much space preserved.

Myself, I'm a city person, I don't mind driving THROUGH the countryside (as long as I stick to motorways and A roads) but I find REAL country a little scary.

I'm sure there will still be room to preserve wildlife.

E-K- I doubt intergalactic travel will ever happen in the conceivable future. Unless we find the ways the dimensions (10 in theory) connect allows us to bisect space. I suppose it might.
A bit like Stargate.

The prospect of psychkinesis is something I find interesting.

Eve- I have long been writing a Sci-Fi fantasy, which i may publish one day. In fact I may be posting bits of it online soon.

The Capital city in My novel is a city covering the entire surface of an earth-sized planet.
Assuming that no land was needed for agriculture- all food and raw materials being imported, and assuming an average population density of Birmingham (allowing for areas of huge parland, but also suare miles where millions lived in vast tower blocks, I postulated a population for the city of 2 TRILLION.

Mayden- Lewis has always been one of my favorite authors- I like Out of the Silent Planet.

In a sene, yes, we ARE the universe looking it itself.
I think we can only be conscious, because the universe is.

In fact, E-K, be warned- another post on this subject is due...
But not tonight.
Tonight's post will be controversial...

Anonymous said...

The problem is WHO is going to take those resources in space, though, Crushed - and, being humans, we will go and have a war about it! Another great post.

Anonymous said...

What do you think you are a fucking genius?

What the fuck do we live in your fucking head?

Just relax and go beat off.

Anonymous said...

Ange - settle sweets. He does already. Lots.

Anonymous said...

I am with EK. All this intergalactic stuff is male ego driven. I am for spending the money on more useful things like chocolate.

I can remember watching the moon landing at a nearby farm house. We didn't have a television.

I am comfortable working with what we have and trying to make it work better. Mass emigration to other planets will be technically infeasible and an inappropriate use of limited resources.