Thursday, 20 July 2017

MOON-DAY - 48 years ago today, Man landed on the Moon !

The following is the unedited version of an excerpt  featured in the 21st revised edition of Malleus Maleficus The Moonshine Memorandum :

“You will become smaller and smaller, you small people! You will crumble away, you comfortable people! you will perish - through your many small virtues, through your many small omissions, through your many small submissions!" 

Nietzsche, Zarathustra

              “O’Brien  gave no sign of being aware that he had a sympathetic audience. “I cannot conceive how any nation can have brought itself to that pitch of presumption to consider the rights of men before the rights of humanity!”  His face remained impassive and inscrutable. “Remember the Apollo program? Where are those great decisions which encapsulated the inner meaning of an entire culture?  Why has funding for space exploration  been cut to the bone at the time of its greatest achievement?” 
          I found it difficult to meet his gaze; his mood seeming black and almost obsessive. But with unconscious empathy, I too, had an emotion of knowing beyond doubt that the conquest and assimilation of space was not just a subject for scientific imagination but a part of our future life -  an evolutionary given.  A dynamic governing principle, propelled, when all is said and done, by the spirit of creation itself. Above all, it needed the driving force of human imagination to achieve any results at all. Destroy this and the vision would disintegrate, entering an ever-devolving pattern of intellectual dead-ends. The message was extraordinarily blunt. And the issue, it was now clear to me, was that no false humanitarian compromise could exist.
          “One way or another,” O’Brien said, “he who commandeers the planets, rules the world.” His face tightened. “It’s not a military matter. But to turn from this challenge, in view of her ability for meeting it, would be highly detrimental to the power and prestige of America. The United States spent $1 trillion and sacrificed thousands of lives promising a bright new world to Afghanistan, when they could have gone to Mars for less and bequeathed a brave new world to the entire planet. 
Instead, America’s ability to sway the world was diminishing day by day, as its technological dominance faded – and Third World leaders were no longer of the generation that displayed an acute sense of deference. The Moon was but a memory and determining where to  land humans on Mars was a multi-layered process. It was perfectly obvious that, barring a miracle, China would take the leading role in beating America at high-
tech warfare, with space as a prospective battlefield.  There was no mistaking her
intention – for China the only way was up!
           “There is a new, quiet confidence from the people who find themselves looking down from a great height at the world on a plate,” O’Brien continued. Indeed, the irony was, I knew, that what sent the Americans to the Moon in the first place was not Nasa, but the cold war and the same spirit of competition that saw Roald Amundsen and Captain Robert Scott race some 800 miles, through savage polar winds and ferocious temperatures, to complete one of the most remarkable feats of geographic exploration. Indeed,  fifty years after John F. Kennedy launched the space race, America had won the battle to put a man on the moon, only to find that having discovered the means and the motive for the expansion of life beyond the earthly cause, they  now had  to rely on Russian Soyuz launchers to get such life into orbit. An acute,  humiliating  surrender, if anything,  of a nation and an era that had seemed boundlessly progressive.
 “Tragically,” I said, “Apollo was doomed from the beginning!”
John Watts Young (September 24, 1930 – January 5, 2018)

           Again, his face tightened.  “Let’s be clear about it, Malleus, the beleaguered fortress of Western humanity has fulfilled its Faustian compact. It is now a truly bankrupt civilization. The doom that overwhelms the West involves more than its triple-A rating. It marks the end of US ascendancy in Space, for within its social frontiers, former vistas and horizons have been altogether lost. America is a pale shadow of the nation that once flew magnificent rockets to the moon. Nasa's funding has plummeted from a peak of 4% of the US budget in the mid-Sixties to 0.5% today, and that is a problem with a far less definable solution than mere poverty or economic recession.” His  voice slided into a husky whisper. “Hellenisms is the concept from which the highest ideals of the modern, secular West have sprang. But a new people’s revolution is brewing. The imperialist has recanted. The conquered are giving laws to the conquerors. What you are experiencing is Götterdämmerung, my friend, nothing less. The last convulsions of Hellenistic agony, of guilt on an apocalyptic scale.”   


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