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View Diary: Carl Sagan: Spaceflight is subversive -- PVSE #2 (90 comments)

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  •  have you noticed how very personally you (0+ / 0-)

    are taking this conversation? and yet, you imply that I am the one concerned only with myself.

    of course i'm concerned with the future.

    statements like, "Long-term sustainability entails transplanting that life to other planets," are built on a vast foundation of assumptions, judgments, values, and inferential leaps, many of which i simply do not share with you. i doubt we could even agree on the meaning of several of those words in that context.

    statements like, "they will have been slaughtered long before a single human ever sets foot etc. etc.," are built on a rather small foundation of presumptions. you certainly can't know that this is true, and in my own studies of history, i see no patterns that suggest it to be a likely outcome. however, there are far too many variables for us to be able to predict such things about our future social structures. nonetheless, i will contribute this hypothesis: if we have "slaughtered" (or, more hopefully, simply obsoleted) the vain, selfish plutocrats, we will likely have no need of leaving the planet. or alternatively, we'll be living in some sort of barbarous post-technological state that would preclude spacefaring.

    eventually the universe will wind down, and all human life (and other life, for that matter) and knowledge and wisdom and everything else will be gone. the pursuit of immortality rests inevitably on denial and vanity.

    just yesterday, i happened upon an online photograph of a woman i knew in high school. today, she looks rather like any other middle-aged professional woman: too heavy, somewhat overly-madeup, well dressed. her smile -- a bit overstretched, though reasonably sincere -- betrays crooked teeth back to her molars. she is not hideous by any means, but no one other than her husband probably sees her as physically beautiful in the way that men have talked about Sarah Palin (who is one year younger than her).

    i happen to have another photograph of this same woman, that was taken on the first day of 10th grade and found its way into our yearbook. she is, to put it mildly, attractive. and adorable. she is wearing a t-shirt that dramatizes her ample, youthful assets. her eyes mock the camera -- and by the way, it is in her smiling eyes that she is wholly recognizable between the two photos. as i remember -- i did not know her well -- the slightly crooked teeth (the front ones, anyway) simply made her more adorable. she was, without question, at 15 years old, one of the half-dozen most beautiful human females i have met in the ensuing 30 years.

    the thing is, that unbearably lovely young woman is gone. her loveliness was, and now it is no more. her current incarnation, from what i read, has its own virtues. and they too will be gone, 60 years hence.

    every beautiful thing in the universe is doomed. every thing that you love, admire, desire, and exalt will fail eventually. this doesn't mean that there is no value in extending the lifespan of such things. but it does mean that it is vanity to suppose that they can be preserved forever, and to place an enormous value on desperately trying to preserve them. they cannot be preserved. you want to sustain Earth's life by moving it elsewhere, dismissing our universal home as "this rock". i wonder how Meteor Blades, or any other person steeped in native american tradition, would view your casual dismissal of "this rock". but i also wonder why: why it is so important to you to preserve some minuscule chunk of our experience beyond what someone else (me, for example) might perceive as the natural lifespan of the experience itself.

    my values, my experience, my aesthetics, my philosophy are different from yours, but contrary to your insults, they are not shallow and self-absorbed. here is an idea for you to consider: There is no such thing as a wolf in a zoo. if you give that statement some serious thought, you will attain some insight into my perspective -- an insight that might permit you to treat my other opinions with a decent respect.

    I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:31:41 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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