ULTIMATELY, THE SALVATION OF OUR SPECIES HINGES ON MASTERING EXTRATERRESTRIAL SURVIVAL.
Up The Gravity Well
Overcoming Gravity And Fulfilling Our Potential
We reach for the stars and yearn to seize that great expanse they swim in; yet the solution to world hunger continues to evade us. Whether a product of ignorance, arrogance, or hubris; to covet dominion over the cosmos when our self-appointed stewardship of our own planet has been an abject failure, is to provoke a perfectly tailored incubator for catastrophe.
The probability that humanity meets an unseemly demise radically increases with each passing century that we have not developed an open, readily available, class agnostic technology for interstellar travel.
As alarmist as that might sound, consider the fact that even if our species somehow manages to survive without ever establishing a stable, self-sufficient collective anywhere else, our sun will run out of fusile material in approximately 5 billion years. When this happens, Sol (our star) will enter its red-giant life-cycle which will increase its radius by about 1 astronomical unit. It’s not clear whether or not it will engulf the earth. Either way, at that point not even artificial life will be possible. Some theories are even more bleak, giving us only 1 billion years before oxygen levels plummet below life-sustaining levels.
Since life stepped onto the scene, our planet has witnessed at least 17 major cataclysms, five of which were extinction-level events. Fortunately our solar system has settled down quite a lot since then; dramatically decreasing the probability of asteroid impacts. All the same, the probability that humanity will even last another 1 billion years anchored to Earth is infinitesimally small. Not to rub salt in a wound, but we haven’t even touched on humanity’s own designer-threats like nuclear weapons and global pandemics fueled by world-wide travelling capabilities.
Hopeful Visions of Humanity
I absolutely love humanity. I believe we have what it takes to get up the gravity well, trek through the cosmos, and ensure humanity’s continued existence by seeding human colonies throughout the galaxy.
Let us stand back for a moment and consider this from the outside — from a more objective point of view. We still struggle with war, disease, famine, hunger, homelessness, and corruption; to name a simple few. Our world is drenched in terrible ideas and notions of power and greed. Who are we to decide to pepper the galaxy with such things?
Suppose we did get up the gravity well and suppose we were to make contact with other sentient races; what is the likelihood that some group of radicals decide that our new friends fit the description to some ancient references to demonic entities?
Suppose a scientific survey mission is sent out by an intergalactic super-corporation and they discover a primitive proto-humanoid species. Suppose that this super-corp is lacking sufficient man power in their mining efforts on another planet. What are the chances that these primitive humanoids are exploited or even enslaved?
I would like to think that making that epic climb up the gravity well and becoming a spacefaring civilization marks a specific graduation in the social and psychological evolution of a species; that traversing the universe is a right of passage. I would like to believe that such an accomplishment says, “We did it! We overcame our differences, expanded our horizons, and unified as the Human Supraorganism Optima! We are ready to reach out as we have already conquered ourselves inwardly. We have bested disease and sickness, we have vanquished hunger and war, and we are ready to take our first step out of infancy and into galactic-adulthood.”
It would be nice if that were true. Alas, I would be remiss to allow myself to folly with such thoughts.
Consider a world in which corruption, crime (and criminal propensities), and hunger have been conquered. Imagine that the inhabitants of this world found a way to replace the drives for wealth and power with that of health, happiness, and fulfillment; a world where its inhabitants move in collective harmony yet also value the individual.
Is this not the impossible dream? The ultimate social ideal? Who among us is not haunted by the notion that such dreams are but fantasies – impossibilities?
Even if such a state is impossible, is there not some closest theoretical state?
The Problems With Taking To The Stars As Things Currently Stand
Recently, both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos opened the floodgates for commercializing space; branded as a new economic age of near-Earth space-commerce.
Rightly so, a rising chorus of concerned citizens who worry that this will further separate the already well-spaced economic classes, believe that this ‘milestone’ (if you can call it that) may very well be the start of an Elysium-esque divide.
While these concerned citizens have based their conclusion on mental extrapolations of past experience, I have based my conclusions on a more rigorous analysis of the situation. In fact, this is at the core of what has been my research for the past four years.
The true problem with the commercialization of space is much more sinister. The remainder of this article will reveal some of my own research and analyses.
At this point I will expressly warn the reader that my work is far from complete; to say nothing of replicated studies or peer reviews. The information I present should be taken as it is given, as an incomplete analysis from a research project that may very well continue for another decade or longer. This information is not verified fact; this is simply what I have uncovered thus far.
The Surface-Etched Symptoms
Allow me to quickly recite humanity’s current ills. Whether these are intentional acts of malice or results of negligent leaders, the fact is that these ills remain in full force today.
Crimes of passion
Publication of bad science as a result of coercion
Impeded technological evolution as a result of mounting bad science
Poor public education
Energetic and material waste due to unwanted ads, spam, planned obsolescence, poor quality products that give rise to entire business sectors just to handle the failures of other businesses, need I go on?
Slow governmental reactions to emergencies and other major environmental changes
etc. etc. etc.
The list can obviously go on for quite some time. My point in displaying this is to get us to think about the incredible amounts of wasted time, energy, material, people-power, and other wasted resources that are utterly lost to the unnecessary and nonsensical oblivion of bad decisions.
I make this point to accentuate the incredible feats we have the means to accomplish yet we don’t because we have diverted resources to patch up the holes made by foolish actions and greed-driven decisions.
The Underlying Disease
As I mentioned previously, I have only been researching this full-time for about four years; but I have been studying, wondering, and gathering data for the ten years before that. I could not bring myself to take this on as a full-time research project unless I was absolutely positive as to the core causes and I had a fairly solid framework for a solution.
As it turns out, the fundamental issue is a two-part linchpin; partly based in the thermodynamics of our socioeconomic system and partly based in psychology — specifically in the psychology of what motivates us (the Self-Determination Theory of Motivation).
The solution, as it turns out, is far simpler than one might expect. Be that as it is, the implementation of the solution is a fair bit more complicated than the solution itself.
The underlying disease as it were, orients itself around our use of money. This is actually a very interesting problem because as it turns out, the economist-touted ‘Three Functions of Money’ are the culprits — not so much money itself.
Two of the three functions of money fly directly in the face of three of the four laws of thermodynamics. So much so, that nearly 80% of all labor and work performed is lost to an accelerated rate of entropy, simply because of the use of money.
Let me repeat that because this is well worth pointing out:
Nearly 80% of all labor and work performed is lost to an accelerated rate of entropy, simply because of the use of money.
Now that is something to stop and think about, considering how much we claim we cannot achieve because we “don’t have the funding”; wouldn’t you say?
Money’s three functions are:
A store of value : Directly violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
A unit of account: (No direct violation; but may violate depending on the methods and use of unit accounting)
A medium of exchange: Violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
The other linchpin is psychological, but it’s reared its head because of the effects of money having attempted to sidestep the unavoidable laws of thermodynamics. This boils down to an incredible lack of self-actualizing individuals.
The Proposed Solution (pending necessary research)
Let me make this very clear; my proposal thus far is NOT a silver bullet. In fact, I don’t believe such a thing exists. My proposal merely reverses the incredible damage perpetrated by the three hailed functions of money and maximizes each individual’s chances to become a self-actualizing individual.
I will not spell it out here because I cannot. My solution is a robust, yet intricate interweaving of psychology, economics, sociology, thermodynamics, and machine learning. Even at that, I have many years of simulations to finish to even begin to feel confident in my theory’s potential.
What I can say is, imagine a world where:
Corruption is literally impossible. The entire motive force behind it doesn’t even exist.
Crime is reduced by 98% across the board (my analysis of the FBI’s crime statistics indicates that over 98% of all crime is financially motivated — go figure)
Companies are no longer pressured by investors to cut corners and release their product early because such pressures would not exist.
Bad science would still happen, but it would be few and far between. This alone is capable of accelerating our technological advancements by orders of magnitude.
Self-actualizing individuals would begin to pepper the globe; theoretically increasing productivity, harmony, social cohesion, product quality, happiness, and a sense of collective purpose.
Education would become an unrecognizable god. With educators who feel fulfilled and valued and with the amplified stream of information from education researchers directly to the educators themselves; our college graduates would put today’s Ivy-League valedictorians to shame.
Self-actualizing individuals are more conscientious, more loving, more willing to help others, emotionally intelligent, highly intrinsically motivated, and have a sense of wanting to give back to society. Now imagine if even every third human was like this.
All willing and able give back to society in the manner that is most fulfilling for them personally (yes, “dirty jobs” will still exist and yes, there are people that absolutely love doing them).
The amount of resources and labor that is saved can be diverted and redirected to massive projects (often called mega-structures in science fiction) including generation ships and extraterrestrial colony construction.
Again, the list literally goes on and will continue to be added to.
Becoming A Spacefaring Civilization And What It Should Mean To Us
Without a doubt, I would absolutely love to stand on the bridge of humanity’s first generation ship; but for me, that’s not what it means to become a spacefaring civilization.
To even dabble in the idea when we are scratching our heads trying to figure out why we produce enough food for every human, yet we can’t seem to manage accomplishing it is a testament to just how badly our social motivational foci have been completely scrambled.
Becoming spacefaring should (and does for me) mean that we have conquered ourselves. We have come together as siblings, put our differences aside, and found a way to love humanity itself as a single, functioning, life-form.
Taking our first journey to the next closest star system shouldn’t be about corporate interests or expanding The Human Empire; it should be about humanity coming into its own, discovering its vast potential, and becoming the newly maturing member of a greater galactic community. It should be about exploration and unity — not about money.
In becoming a proper spacefaring species, we will have proven to ourselves that we can work together peacefully in the great race against the silent count-down to the next extinction-level event.
In the act of finally rising up and out of Earth’s own gravity well to embark on the great galactic search for other planets suitable for human life, we claim our right to existence and furnish the proof that we deserve it.