Saturday 13 September 2008

Life On Mars- Part Three

We've had a break from the Future- not just in our time (two weeks away), but in future time.
Because now we move ahead thirty years.

The hopes and dreams of Martians described by Future Fusion have materialised.

The Unites States of Earth may still be the superpower of the planets and The Republic of Mars and the Republic of Venus its junior partners, but the sovereign independence of each of these worlds has come to pass.

This post now relates events happening after that, as the species now prepares to look beyond, to it's future as a whole. In a time when people no longer see Earth as being the sole home of man, merely it's cradle. When people see the star Sol as being home to the human race.

It is Sol, the star system, that man now sees as his domain, not just one of it's rocks.

Timesonline, Thursday Week Seven, Quarter Two, 2238.

Today will certainly rank in history as a day when humanity entered a new era. For at noon today, in the Schiaparelli Building, Lowell, was signed the articles of federation of the United Planets Organisation.

Today also was approved the founding deliberations of it's first, three week session.

It has been a day a long time coming, a day so many have looked forward to for so long.
It is almost three hundred years since delegates assembled on Earth in New York City to approve the United Nations. Over time that organisation grew to bring the disparate peoples of Earth together, till now it has united that world into the United States of Earth and it's nine member states. Today, the three sovereign planets of Sol take a similar step, setting up an interplanetary organisation capable of uniting the members of the human species of their different worlds together to agree on common aims, strategically plan how to best use the resources at their disposal and plan ahead on the best way forward for the species.

It is probable that the high debates taking place in Lowell have largely been ignored by the public at large. After all, the issues discussed have little relevance, perhaps, to their day to day lives.
The decision to choose Lowell as the seat of the organisation was based on several points.
A planetary capital, such as New York, Viking, or Parvati would always lead to the suspicion such an organisation was essentially the tool of the government of the planet in question. A long term aim of the organisation that has been approved at this session is where to find a permanent home, for even Lowell, situated as it is on Martian soil, is still not true neutral ground. But for now, Lowell has all the right attributes to symbolise the common aims of humanity.

For Mars occupies a mid point in two ways. First, of the three Worlds, it represents the middle ground. It represents the norm of the future, and neither Earth nor Venus do that. Because every new home the human race finds can only really look to Mars as it's model. Every new home the human race takes on can be aspire to be Mars. Only Earth can claim to be the cradle, with it's thousands of years of human history. These will always be unique characteristics of Earth, and they mean one day living on a planet which can claim even half a millennium of human history, is a minority viewpoint. It is a minority viewpoint amongst the three planets now, and as the human race truly does expand to fill this star system, it will be even more the minority view.
But Venus isn't yet there. Venus is still a developing world. Only Mars today, represents what might be considered to represent a standard human culture- away from the world that gave it birth, yet developed and functioning as a successful human culture.

And Mars is a midpoint in another way. Because today, the real frontier of humanity is Jupiter, the satellites of which are home now, not just to the technicians responsible for controlling the extraction of energy from what is now the powerhouse of the human race, but to a slow trickle of true colonists.

The outer planets, the Gas Giants, which only fifty years ago were seen merely as almost unlimited sources of energy which can and will serve human needs millenia into the future, are now proving that they too, are incipient homes where human beings will live and create societies.

The first session of the United Planets Organisation, showed the issues at hand and it's worth looking at them. The delegates present, ultimately chosen by the people of themselves, represent the two thousand greatest minds alive today. Scientists, philosophers and thinkers of the highest order.

The first points to be established were to realise that the human race no longer has the same dynamics of any species that ever existed before. It was pointed out at on the first day of this session, that the United Nations was set up three hundred years ago, partly in response to the threat of the enormous power at the disposal of mankind related to the splitting of the atom.

That power now means that the species can literally create any element from any other. As long as mankind has access to enough energy, any barren rock can be turned into an infrastructure capable of feeding and housing human life. The only limit, is physical space. With a population of 250 Billion, Earth already pushes that limit. The opinion of the session was that Earth itself cannot realistically support more than twice that number, no matter what the technological advance. Mars and Venus both still have ample room to take on more human lives for now- but that does not leave room for complacency.

The key points in the here and now, were in some ways positive. The human race can guarantee it can always feed its existing population and can continue to not only maintain, but continually improve living standards and quality of life for every human being that comes into existence. In a very real sense, the human race has eliminated the four horseman of the apocalypse that bedevilled our ancestors. We have no war, no poverty, no disease, no starvation.

People only die now, when the cost in energy to maintain them as fully healthy functioning human beings is no longer sustainable, and nature must be allowed to take its course.

It was commented that the human race need no longer fear blowing itself up, as once it did. Not only is there nothing really to fight over, but it is almost impossible to do so. Each planet possess weapons of mass destruction, but it would be almost impossible for them to fire them at another, without that planet stopping such missiles. A planet would have to be highly duplicitous and dedicated in its plans to engineer something of that scale and the circumstances which might cause it do so are, it was agreed, lacking in today's climate.

Indeed, it was agreed that Today is not the issue. It is planning for a future in which those four horseman never return. And the opinion of the session was that this entails the human race starting to plan, not just for tomorrow, but for the centuries to come.

The main point about human life today is that in the laws of nature. Having defeated the four horsemen, the human population now continues to grow unchecked. Every century, the human population now quadruples.
It was briefly discussed whether a return to twentieth century birth control ideas was a possible solution, but this was outrightly rejected.

The current set up, whereby natural selection is allowed free rein, society as a whole taking responsibility for all offspring produced, means that ultimately, reproduction is as natural as it can be in a world where life is no longer red and tooth and claw. If the human race is to be allowed to develop naturally, then accepting perpetual exponential growth is a feature of that. Society now pretty much allows anyone to have consensual sex with whomever they want and guarantees to equally provide opportunity for all children, with a fairly minimal burden of responsibility on the parent. It was this approach, coupled with the ability to find homes for every mouth that needed feeding, which meant that the unsatisfactory solution of birth control could be dispensed with, and now that human pregnancies have largely been reduced to simple medical fertilisation and extraction procedures, human reproduction can be said to accord with basic laws of natural selection, and in fact is improved.

The sole interference of Science has been to remove certain genes from circulation, and the elimination of serial killers and paedophiles from genetic stock, must rank up there with eliminating Smallpox and AIDS as great human medical achievements.

The session agreed on its basic premise. That everything is guaranteed, provided that the human race can sustain its own quadrupling every century. We have obtained existential stability by finding a way to deal with this, but if we as a species are complacent about it, then that very stability will lead to its own collapse.

The challenge humanity faces now, is to guarantee homes for that expansion far into the future.

Short term, the session agreed, that isn't a problem. The three planets alone, can find homes on themselves for the next quadrupling century. But if release valves are not already in place, that will be where it ends.

The outer planets provide a medium term solution.

The satellites of Jupiter between them can probably find homes for twice as many people as the maximum recommended population of Earth. And there are three Gas Giants beyond, all with habitable satellites that offer the same, all orbiting fairly unlimited sources of atomic power.

This means that the current rate of growth can be sustained for just over three centuries, unless a further long term solution is found, and started on, not in three centuries, but today.

The Session debated these points as well as the current arrangements in place within the solar economy and agreed on the following points;

  1. At present, the satellites of the outer planets are largely seen as bases of the inner planets for extracting resources from the Gas Giants. In time, as the colonists of the outer planets grow in number, this will lead to tensions, if maintained. The session recommended that each of the Outer planets be recognised as a United Planetary Organisation Protectorate until infrastructural systems are developed enough on each of these systems for them to be admitted as equal members of the United Planetary Organisation. The session recommended that although Jupiter itself is not a habitation, the fact remains that each of it's satellites depends on the same source of sustenance, and thus when the satellites of Jupiter reach sovereign status, it should be as a federal unit akin to the United States of Earth, the United States of Jupiter would be a planetary system equal in status to the Martian Republic.
  2. The session recommended that from this point on, a fair system of exchange should be maintained whereby the inner planets develop the outer planets in return for access to the energy of the Gas Giants. Ultimately, this would mean that access to the energy of the outer planets is conditional on providing resources to the populations orbiting those planets to create sustainable infrastructures of their own.
  3. The session agreed that in the long term, such infrastructures being in existence, the outer planets had every right to expect exclusive access to the Gas Giants. And in fact, once the inner planets had nothing to offer the outer planets that the outer planets could not themselves provide, the inner planets would have been foolish not to have found an alternative source of energy. The session agreed that technological advances in terms of machinery and insulation meant that it should be possible for the inner planets to consider extracting energy materials directly from the surface of Sol itself. The session recommended that the three inner planets start the necessary research and start investing the resources and planning needed to bring this about.
  4. The session recommended Ceres, the sole realistically habitable of the Planetoids, as a long term home for the United Planetary Organisation. By virtue of its position midway between the orbits of the inner and outer planets, it is ideally suited to be home to a truly neutral interplanetary organisation.
  5. The session have appointed a Commission, headed by the star system's leading scientists and thinkers to produce a report and final recommendations on a long term plan, to start with immediate effect, to commence on the colonisation of other star systems. The session is aware that this is perhaps the most ambitious of the proposals deliberated here at Lowell. The session advised that the scale of this proposal is likely to prove overwhelming to most of the people of Sol, when the details are published, in terms of how it is to be achieved and the long term ramifications in what will turn out to be a vast change in focus, in terms of the surplus energy of the human race and in terms of cultural thinking. The session recommended that a full report be submitted in eight weeks and its proposals be published on the internet and actually voted on the form of a universal referendum.

And so we, the people of Sol now begin the first chapter of a new era. We, the people who live round the star Sol. And we look forward now, to where we the people of Sol go next.

The United Planetary Organisation decided to adopt as it's brief the following statement of one of the four great thinkers of mankind (the other three being Jesus, Charles Darwin and Karl Marx).

"I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughing stock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughing stock or a painful embarrassment..."

The human race has proved at Lowell that if it doesn't last to the end of time, it won't be because it didn't try.

The human race has woken up to the fact that the universe really does belong to it, it just needs to make good it's claim.

(Yes, people, you guessed it. Next Saturday's post will by the Commision's report on how to colonise neighbouring stars.)


Anonymous said...

Seriously dude, where do U get all this from? Interesting though.

although, how come no pics of the future male - you only had pics of the ladies. Beside the first pic that is - then there is someone weird luriking in the shadows

Anonymous said...

fuck ... I have been a sleep a long time and have some serious catching up to do...

Anonymous said...

That was a really long post and I am still confused at the end.
I wonder if people will ever really live their whole lives away from earth.

Anonymous said...

Crashie- I ponder it a lot. :)

I guess you could say it's kind of my faith. :)

Mutley- Don't go to sleep again- once next wek is done, you'll wake up in 2600AD...

Seriously :)

jmb- I think I'm writing this series more for me than anyone else, right now.

Though actually, that isn't strictly true. As a general rule, these long Saturday afternoon posts that bemuse everyone are, in fact, the ones that long term reach a wider audience than just bloggers.

Google 'scientific definition of life' and you'll see what I mean, there on the first page.

These sorts of posts take ages to write and apparently no one really reads them, but the stats tell me they have a long shelf life and do actually get referred around to a wider audience out there.

Yes, they will, I'm sure.

We seem to see ourselves at the end of history. We're not.

When the first Eukaryote symbiosis came into being, it did so on a rock somewhere deep beneath the sea. Now the whole globe belongs to its progeny.

Earth is a bit like that rock.