Space, the final frontier. So begins Gene Roddenberry’s paean to the better nature of humankind. To seek out new worlds and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before. It gives life to the realizations, as were quoted from Carl Sagan and others, that humans were not meant to be cubicle dwellers and naked mole rats scurrying from one tunnel of steel to another in tasks that are inherently fruitless and meaningless. If you ever worked in a cube farm…You know what I mean. To know the cosmos is to know a little more about yourself.
Before engaging in a short analysis of the ultimate goal of space civilization I would like to quote Carl Sagan,
“For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance…”
This appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game—none of them lasts forever. It is beyond our powers to predict the future. Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware. Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.
Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas…”
Maybe it’s a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds— promising untold opportunities—beckon us into the Cosmos.
As Mr. Sagan says, the urge of man to go to space, to explore the final frontier, is not a random manifestation of evolution, but an integral part of our species’ survival.
The ultimate goal of space exploration is neither the advancement of capitalism and domination to better enslave our lives on Earth. It is not to bring the worst of us to new markets to exploit. That kind of primitive thing must stop here and now.
It is all about survival.
Life on Earth will not last forever. Resources will run out and environmental degradation may render life on our planet impossible in due time. It is our responsibility as species to endeavor to protect our existence.
The only road to survival is through space. We need to turn our gaze to the stars and choose to become a space-faring civilization.
I believe the final goal for a space civilization should be to master science. Religion is arguably the most debated topic in all of history, and mastering science would give us answers to our questions about the heavens. Additionally, mastering science would create numerous tangible benefits as we could create more technology based off of the science we have learned. Technology that should rightfully be used to make sure no one ever goes to sleep hungry or can access medical attention whenever needed, and to make human need and suffering a thing of the past. Which is the right of all us on the planet earth, or at least it should be when science is given a chance to reach its full potential?
Of course, this is a dream and a set of assumptions from a very human perspective. But what about from a totally alien one.
Assuming there are intellects in this universe perhaps even vastly superior to our own, I think it’s impossible, even in principle, to even guess what their motives might be. How could a mouse understand the motives of a human, for instance? It may be that the motives of intellectually superior beings are just as impossible for us to guess at. Perhaps the most naive guess is that they’d regard us with, at best, a sense of aloof amusement, or total indifference if we’re so intellectually inconsequential to them.
In any case, considering a truly advanced race they would not need anything from us. They would not need our women, our water, or our flesh for food. I believe (I can’t know for sure) that they would inherently understand the value of life, hopefully, all life. There would be no reason to hurt us or enslave us. We humans never annex an anthill for its resources. Why would they annex us? Pop culture and unenlightened science fiction have tainted our collective zeitgeist of what aliens may want. These poor examples are just projections of our fears and unimaginative assertions. They are NOT humans from another planet.
The fact that we are still here and not slaves for invading aliens, that we are still arguing the hypothesis if they exist or not. Shows, in my opinion, some credence to the advanced benevolence or at least vast indifference to us which they may have.
In time this argument will turn from a hypothesis to a theory and then eventually to a recognized fact. Life abounds in the Universe lets go introduce ourselves.
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