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InvisibleUlysees
Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
The Sad State of Affairs
    #470763 - 11/27/01 02:25 AM (15 years, 6 months ago)

We are, without a doubt, destroying the earth, correct? And the end seems to be nowhere in sight.
We have become parasites. We no longer live in symbiotic unity with the earth, but we are sucking her blood in obscene quantities, and in return, feeding her the poisonous shit that we have produced. Is that a lie? Look at the way things are run, especially here in North America. Look at the smog, the toxic waste... this is all the result of something we have taken from nature, consumed, and shit back into her, poisonous and vile.
On a planetary level, we truely are feeding her our shit. She could handle it for awhile, but now she's gagging and it's building up. The landfills are in fact full. The atmosphere is plagued with smog. The water is contaminated... God Bless us, everyone!

Hence, we have truly become parasitic. One can only hope it is temporary, but due to Bush's recent rejection of the Kyoto treaty, I fear it is not... Is our obscene wealth worth the cost? I hope so...

Could it be that this is the hell that we will endure before the reward comes? Here's what I mean:
If all of this shit results in some huge developments, it will all be worth it. I'm thinking of one in particular: space travel.
If we aquire the means to leave this planet and inhabit others, it truely will be worth it. By the time we get that far, perhaps we will have the ability to do things in a cleaner manner.
A man can live in the woods peacefully every day, but the winters will be hard to endure. One day, when he is older and weak, the cold will be too much for him and he will die. However, if that man spends a year or so of his life going through absolute hell building a house, his future will be the better for it. With a house he will be protected from the elements and he can live much longer, and much more comfortably. That is assuming he doesn't die in the process, which for us is a very real possibility. If the winter rolls around and our house isn't built, and we've used up all our resources on that useless house, we're in big trouble...
Can todays extreme greed be likened to that hell? Is it perhaps the payment that fuels the development of what will be our salvation? Humanity cannot live forever on Earth, and Earth will not last forever. Nor will the sun that gives us life.

Still, through all the hell, there must be balance. Even in a war there must be those who make sure that injustices are kept to a minimum. So, the fight to protect the earth, and stop whaling and poaching... are all necessary and worthy battles.

So, if you have to claw at your mothers insides to get out of the womb, it is justifiable. But you'd better make amends. I think it's time to focus our energies on development, let's get it over with people...


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InvisibleIshmael
enthusiast

Registered: 10/29/99
Posts: 224
Re: The Sad State of Affairs [Re: Ulysees]
    #471353 - 11/27/01 07:12 PM (15 years, 6 months ago)

A couple of points which I've made before and will do so again...

If we assume strictly ideal cercumstances for space colonization (every star in the universe has at least one planet which can either be terraformed or outright inhabitable from the get go, we develope some sort of space travel that allows us to get from planet to planet nearly instantaneously, and we have unrestricted access to every one of these planets) our situation is actually not much improved. At the present rate of population growth (and let's be clear, it's not that we've been polluting the world for a long time that's the problem, more that there are so /many/ people polluting the earth and aspiring to pollute the earth; population is the problem, the earth can handle a small population of humans living in a harmful, wasteful way...just not 6 billion)...at the present rate of growth, if we were to be able to colonize under these ideal cercumstances, we would turn every planet in the universe (note: THE UNIVERSE) into just as large a cesspit as we've turned earth into... in a little over 300 years (if my memory serves). It's called an exponential growth equation, you can do the mathematics yourself. Now that the population of the earth has reached 6 billion, if we maintain our ability to continue producing food for ourselves at our present rate, in about 32 years the population should be somehwere around /12 billion/ (some would argue that because 'Industrialized' nations show slight declines in population growth that all we need do is turn all 3rd worlds into 1st worlds and population will stop exploding - they never talk about how this is impossible in Civilization where the situation is /always/ without exception where the many languish in poverty while the few become excessively decadent). If we take that 12 billion and /split/ it, sending half to another world in order to maintain our present 'equilibrium', in another 32 years, both Earth and Expansion Planet I will have doubled yet again - neccesitating yet ANOTHER splitting and colonizing outwards. Now we have 4 planets with six billion people apiece. Next colonization cycle, it doubles - they all double and everything starts over - VERY QUICKLY spiraliing out of control /just as it has here/.

Granted, this is a severely simplified illustration - there would all sorts of 'real stress factors' that would impede our movements outwards - limitations in technology, the speed of light, infrequency of habitable worlds, navigation ect ect. But it illustrates that it doesn't /solve the problem/. It just moves the problem into a larger arena. The problem isn't one of limited resources or not enough space - the problem is the way we think...our beliefs. And those get passed down and carried along with any and every colony ship heading off into the void. Our ideals and beliefs are what make humanity a destructive creature - a 'parasite' as it was put before. To borrow the the previous analogy...if building a house to protect one from the elements is akin to our advancment in space travel...then the house we are building and intend to build is one that will fall down atop us and kill us anyway when the first snow falls.

Ish


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InvisibleUlysees
Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
Re: The Sad State of Affairs [Re: Ishmael]
    #471424 - 11/27/01 08:08 PM (15 years, 6 months ago)

Ishmael, some of this is already a reality, there are serious plans to develop mar by, or around 2032. The human growth rate you alluded to is a popular notion, but it has been more or less prven that it will not continue in such an astronomical fashion, and since we aren't going to have instantaneous travel from inhabitable planet to inhabitable planet anytime soon (most likely) then none of those problems will factor in. When people moved from Europe to North America, once they got a foot hold, they quickly pillaged the land. This will not be so in space. Perhaps if we found a perfect planet, a replica of Earth, but us finding it and being able to get there are two very big ifs. Maybe if we discover how to create a wormhole that leads exactly where we want it to (or something along these lines) will your theories come into play, but that is likely a long way off.
And, really, so what if we do spread through the universe? So what if we do multiply like rabbits and inhabit a bunch of planets? It's not like they're going to better use. And I doubt that our technology will be so crude that it will turn every planet we came across into a cesspool. Any technology that we'll be using for most any purpose will most likely be highly refined and extrememly efficient, or else we wouldn't be going anywhere. We wouldn't be burning across the Galaxy running fossil fuel engines, because they simply wouldn't get us there...
Food is the big issue. Would there be food? Where could we get it? If we do develop mars and inhabit it, we will have to secure a food source there, and before that we will have to ship large amounts of food from Earth (unless we can somehow synthesize food from little or nothing...). This automatically limits development. Populations wouldn't explode on new planets because it would take a hell of a long time to develop the means to support a small population. But once they did develop it, why shouldn't they populate it?

And about us sending our destructive ideals out on every ship... Once groups of humans begin getting isolated from the rest, they will develop new ideals and whatnot on their own. Sure there'll be some people who are destructive and whatnot, there always will be. Are we then supposed to scrap the whole idea and wait here until another meteor comes or we nuke ourselves?
If things are a little rough, or aren't quite to your likings, would you rather wipe the board clean?

You made some good points about the possible dangers, but how do you justify those points? And how do you like the alterenative?

"Granted, this is a severely simplified illustration - there would all sorts of 'real stress factors' that would impede our movements outwards - limitations in technology, the speed of light, infrequency of habitable worlds, navigation ect ect. But it illustrates that it doesn't /solve the problem/. It just moves the problem into a larger arena. The problem isn't one of limited resources or not enough space - the problem is the way we think...our beliefs."

I didn't go into any of the technical aspects of technology or how they plan to do it... I don't know all those things, but I assure you it's in the works, and we don't need lightspeed to get off of earth... What would solve the problem Ishmael? If developing better technologies and branching out won't solve the problem, what will? Mass suicide? Youve got to move forwars Ishmael, are you afraid? Be the balance, make sure too many evils aren't commited on the path, but what sense is there in fighting the path? It seems like the best option we've got.


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InvisibleIshmael
enthusiast

Registered: 10/29/99
Posts: 224
Re: The Sad State of Affairs [Re: Ulysees]
    #471755 - 11/27/01 11:49 PM (15 years, 6 months ago)

It's a popular opinion that there is some sort of 'manifest destiny' of mankind which each one of us has some great requisite role within - that we have to move 'forward'. That phrase: "We have to move Forward" is tricky because it has two meanings - a literal one and a figurative one which are both almost mutually exclusive.

When you say it (and when most people in our culture say it), Ulysees, when you say: We have to move forward; you're essentially saying "We have to keep walking the path that has been laid down for us because there is no other path." Again, I say that this notion is like the manifest destiny of our culture - our domination and anemic attempt to flee our mess is our /DESTINY/. Don't fight it, there is no point resisting - this has been our path from the beginning (whenever that was) and stopping at this point is silly! It's counter-productive (to your cause)! It's insubordination (to obvious authority)! We've come all this way - we just have to keep moving forward - the promised land is over this last hill of shit and garbage! Or perhaps just beyond that solar system or nebula or binary star cluster (you may be adept to notice that this is the same promise that the powerful have been handing down to the weak for the entire period of civilized human history. Ignore the current situation, maintain the status quo, and live for the future that we (the learned shepherds of men) have divined will occur. )

Now, when I say and agree that we have to keep moving forward, I don't mean any of the above. It is merely me acknowledging that we cannot live in the past, we can't expect things to 'go back to the way they were' (if that is even desirable), but we have to keep placing our feet, one in front of the next. In my eyes though, we have no destiny to fulfill, we don't /have/ to keep walking down the long swath of pavement with desolation growing in little mushroom clouds and toppled buildings at our heels. That doesn't have to be the punctuation on our story unless we /choose/ it to be. Conforming to the wishes of others blindly because we conceive and believe that they 'know best' is the surest way to propel our collective situation forward to an untimely end - to set our destiny in stone. I believe we can change...though...it will be a helluva lot harder to do than just keep your mouth shut, eyes forward and your feet marching in single file.

As for your refutations of my statements...all I was pointing out with my idealized colonization scenario is that in all likelihood...'colonization' will likely just be an easy way for us to dispose of our 'unwanted-undesirables'...much like Australia was back in the 1800s. Even when the situation is idealized the results are still quite depressing - why would it be otherwise when the ideal gets pulled down to the real world? Considering the hazards and perils of space travel, 'colonization' will likely just be a clever medium for mass euthanasia. "Oh, we lost another rickety starship full of malcontents? Pity. This brandy sure is dandy, pass me another glass."

And while I have already brought up the topic of Australia, i'll continue on with it as the best real-world example of colonization determinance we have available. We dumped a bunch of malcontents off in the Outback and what do we get? Even though Australia was functionally cut off from 'modern' influence, it didn't diverge vastly off course and create something unique - the people did what any good modern people who grew up in Civilization /would/ do - they re-created civilization. The modern result is a country that is more or less America's quaint little brother (I appologize for to any Australians in advance, I like people, not countries). One that?s dealing with all sorts of ecological disasters caused by stupid agricultural mistakes - saline upwellings, livestock overgrazing, depopulation of native species...all of the same old colors and shades of modern living.

What makes you believe just because we have the technology to controlled-explode (a rocket) to Mars that we also have either the will or mental capacity to cause anything but mischief once we get there? Australia in here on EARTH! Science has been studying the ecosystems and the biosphere of Earth since as long as Science /has been/ and yet, we fuck up ALL THE TIME. Sub-saharan Africa is a good example, our supposedly 'scientific' farming methods have caused the desert to expand southwards due to the erosion of natural ecosystems. Our explaination? "Oops." I doubt that terraforming a planet is going to be as easy as farming here on earth, mostly because we'll have to import all of the necessary requisite material a couple hundred million miles. You can't get crops to grow in just water, some random dirt and any old sunlight. Earth-based plants evolved on earth, the frequencies of light they utilize are dependent upon the sorts of light that filter through our atmosphere. Not only that, but plant roots are symbiotically connected to earth-based bacteria within the soil itself (bacteria being the largest source of biomass on the planet). Now put a group of colonists on mars where it takes about nine-months to get a ration-supply shuttle to and you fuck up an ecological experiment concerning terraforming and you don?t have the opportunity to say ?oops??you just die. The threshold for failure on some distant planet is a bit sharper than here on earth (a planet that promotes life of our type as oppose to one that does not naturally do so, like Mars).

It is far more complicated to Terraform a planet than popularly depicted in cinema - so much so that simple wishful thinking and blind idolitry to progress will only likely lead to a lot of news casts talking about 'another failed colonization effort'...meanwhile, as the space-groupies muck about with trial and error on Mars, our populations swell (minus of course the scientists and other specialized types who go offworld constantly to replace those that died heroically for the cause of human expansion). Which doesn't really solve any problems at all. It has us futilely wasting resources off on a dust ball that /could/ theoretically support life (even though it hasn't for billions of years at the very least); mental resources as well as physical ones. BOTH of which would be much better spent conceiving and creating a sustainable situation on Earth.

And that is my biggest qualm with the version of ?Moving Forward? that you propose, Ulysses. Not that I blame you for the inception of that version, that would be a bit like blaming a child for being born. My qualm is with the idea that we neglect what is here now for the glittering chrome fa?ade of the future. If we had every brilliant mind that is right now trying to figure out how to terraform a planet trying to figure out a manner by which we could convert civilization into an entity as benign as a tribe of Kalahari Bushmen, a pack of Wolves, a Pride of Lions, a Hive of Bees or Pod of dolphins?not only would we negate the need to flex our ?abandon ship? muscle outright, but we?d also assure that if we did want to colonize another planet that we wouldn?t be predestined to simply create a shadow-earth dying and decaying because of our ignorance.

And that is all that will occur from planetary colonization at this point in human history. If we carry civilization in its present form with us as we speed off into the stars, then we carry a very nifty bomb dressed in tool?s clothing.

Now, I havn?t touched on the subject of what would occur if and when we eventually met up with living ?aliens? who don?t appreciate us trashing the fuck out of their backyard with our stupidity?I was hoping someone who has more knowledge on the subject like Shroomism might simply alleviate that responsibility from my shoulders. If not, there are lots of good Science Fiction authors who have devoted entire volumes of theoretical work to the subject. In any case...Enjoy your one way rocket-ship, my brandy is getting a bit warm.

Ish


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InvisibleUlysees
Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
Re: The Sad State of Affairs [Re: Ishmael]
    #471880 - 11/28/01 01:39 AM (15 years, 6 months ago)

Oh shit... that was just way to long to interact with normally... (I'm not complaining, that was actually pretty good.)

So, here goes: I can also see the problems you're talking about. I'm not a little sci-fi fan who wants to see the stars. Nor am I a fan of society at all... (In fact, I might let you in on a secret, a secret so cleverly hidden that no-one could ever see... A secret that may give me a little more credibility in your eyes anyhow. If you're curious, let me know.)
Alright, that said, here goes nothing again: If you hadn't noticed, I am also repulsed by the way things are going and am no stranger to whatever it was you were talking about. However, such depressed thinking was leading me nowhere except towards a suicide bombing. I decided that: I can't bring down the current system. So, instead of crying about it, I thought I would lend some balance. I we all got off our asses and did something practical (and I don't mean "working from the inside" or anything like that, by any means) then we could perhaps bend things in the right direction.
Blah blah blah. That's a whole different story, and that's npt what this is about. Ishmael, if it will help to make this conversation more productive, just assume that you don't have to educate me about the evils of society, cause I know better than most buddy. ;) (I know, you're rolling your eyes. Well, think of the secret... which of course may prove nothing.)

Alright, so you don't think people should go to space? Why? Because they're fucked up. Well, let's work on that then, because if we don't all kill ourselves first, you and I and the rest of the insubordinates are going to get left behind. Seriously. The time for our action is now, or never. (of course never is a strong word, but there's no time like the present.) But again, this isn't about that, it's about space. Space, where hopefully people like you and I will have some say, and people like George W. will be left in the background. If we ever met those aliens, assuming that they aren't just a bunch of blood thirsty rapists nor all loving perfect people, we're going to need more people like you and I with some leverage.

"Ulysees, when you say: We have to move forward; you're essentially saying "We have to keep walking the path that has been laid down for us because there is no other path." Again, I say that this notion is like the manifest destiny of our culture - our domination and anemic attempt to flee our mess is our /DESTINY/."

That is NOT what I'm saying at all. Not even a little. You assume that I am blind and weak, when in fact I am not. So, I've become enlightned or whatever you want to call it, well, I feel like lending it to some practical issues of the future. I could go sit on a hill with all the other enlightned folks, and in fact I will, but sometimes I feel like I should maybe do my part to STOP THE INSANTIY, if you will.
And I'm not talking about the manifest destiny either. Sheesh, you've got no faith in me buddy! How come nobody ever assumes good things about people, its always bad. I hope I'm not assuming too much on your part Ishmael, if I am, let me know, because you're not worth my time (if I am giving you too much credit.) (that wasn't meant as a slight, honestly. you are one of the most intelligent, interesting people I've come across.)

Alright Ishmael, we have to move forward, but forward can involve change, can't it? Well, let's work on that. If all this crap we're doing is for nothing, then that will be too bad. However, though the train is getting out of control, we can still catch it... but it's going to take people who can see that it's out of control.


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InvisibleUlysees
Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
Re: The Sad State of Affairs [Re: Ulysees]
    #471888 - 11/28/01 01:50 AM (15 years, 6 months ago)

Oh ya. Notice that the thread is called "The sad state of affairs." It was supposed to be just another rant, you might have even been proud. But partway through, I started getting some positive ideas and I thought, "I'm gonna ride this disease riddled swine and do my part to steer it in the right direction..." Instead of just sitting back whining while the swine blasted off without me.
There, that sums it up nicely.


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General Interest >> Philosophy, Sociology & Psychology

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