Friday, 13 June 2008


"i am myself uninterested in space exploration, inasmuch as i assume human
beings and Earth were created with each other in mind... Those who believe that
the light comes from the north might, however, find Selena’s conclusion of
interest. It might be that ancient reservoirs of energy & purpose might be
discovered and allow us to renew the human spirit; and without such a renewal,
the human race will perish."

There is only one thing, in my opinion, which can satisfy the necessary conditions for the continuity of a major technological species: the Conquest of Space. Unfortunately, our idea of space travel as well as our idea of cosmic information exchange are very closely related to contemporary scientific conceptions. Naively, we have a tendency to see extraterrestrial life only in terms of the dominant technology of the day. But more particularly, a spacecraft capable of travelling a million miles per hour - one that could fly from Earth to Mars in less than two days - would take nearly three thousand years to reach Alpha Centaury, the nearest star.

There is, I think, a total misconception here, because sooner or later we would be sending out better craft to overtake the lesser ones, or even devise methods whereby subsequent travellers would be able to reach Alpha Centauri long before the original landing party could possibly arrive. And there is nothing within the range of our present capability that leads me to think that an itinerant extraterrestrial civilization could do it in less. The speed of light is a conceptual absolute! Full stop. While expanding solar system civilizations might well establish planetary colonies, the very idea of the technological conquest of intergalactic space is nothing but a cultural preconception of our age. More precisely, the notion of the physical conquest of space was a phenomenon as historically inevitable in the mid-to-late nineteenth century as will be its passing some two hundred years or so later.

Forget Starship Enterprise - think of The Matrix!

Intergalactic space travel, in the conventional sense, will never be possible. Regardless of what Michio Kaku tells you. Indeed, I have generally found that physicists have a rather poor understanding of their own science. And if your own objection is that technically advanced civilizations are prevalent throughout the universe, and that some of them ought to be able to migrate to other star systems, colonizing new planets as they progress, my reservation would be that the kind of sophistication and expertise required to make such quantum leaps possible, would entail nothing less than a method capable of mutating the very properties of space and time. The idea of space travel, in other words, will undergo substantial mutations as knowledge of the conceptual machinery is expanded and new cosmic processes are brought into play. The priority given to some considerable technological achievements often makes us forget that physics, not technology, holds the answer to the problem of the conquest of space, and that what constitutes a scientific topic is not its subject matter but the way it is treated.

In the same sense that genetic engineering may replace biological evolution and completely redesign the human DNA, the modification of spacetime in a mutating universe is not the mutation of matter but of the perception of matter. Nor is the exploration of space a purely scientific issue. It is a question of our cultural, social, economic, spiritual and philosophical survival. And the fact is that we are getting bored. For what may have begun as a quest for space, devised primarily for the benefit of human astronauts, is bound to uncover an evolutionary paradigm. And if my intuition is right, the burden of transforming it into a dynamic and as yet unimagined paradigmatic shift to suit the future shape of a fundamentally re-appraised and renewed cosmology, will fall on a revision of the definition of reality rather than upon the technological conquest of space

We’ve passed through an extraordinary period of innovation in science, living closely with physicists, biologists, chemists, mathematicians, astronomers and philosophers. The great conceptualists of science, notably Schrödinger, Heisenberg and Dirac, discovered new concepts in the association, nature and inherent perception of intelligent matter - concepts framed from an awareness of being which is inherently anthropic. Indeed, the invention of a new cosmological hypothesis rests, notably among others, on the idea of physical indeterminacy. The irresolvable quantum uncertainty of the atom tells us that knowledge is a form of conception. And that, like all forms of conceptions, if it claims to be based on science it is, nevertheless, the expression of a profoundly numinous and spiritualistic view of the world. For nothing that has been said so far about the conceptual function of knowledge as a materializing force specifically maintains that as a result of such a function, it may not also create not only ideally, but substantially, as do the thoughts of God.

Creationism argues, via the book of Genesis, that God made the universe. But that’s Monty Python’s idea of God! The result, indeed, not of a lack of belief in God but of a lack of belief in Man. For what else is human genius, if not divine?



paul maurice martin said...

Creationism is very silly, and on more than one level. Silly "science," silly way to understand those passages, silly to be upset over evolution as if that's somehow incompatible between it and the passages.

Richard Madeley said...

"Forget Starship Enterprise - think of The Matrix!"

I say forget The Matrix and think of the Starship Enterprise. We clearly need to populate the cosmos with out kind, Selena.

I suggest a rocket ship containing my neighbour's daughter,a few of her lager swilling boyfriends, a supply of Budweiser and dodgy contraceptives? They are doing a fine job in overpopulating our neighbourhood and I think they would do a fine job in the wide expanse of outer space.

Selena Dreamy said...

...a sort of Australian cosmos, then, you're thinking of, Richard, with lager swilling convicts on the loose and Budweiser only twenty-five pence a can!