Friday, 7 September 2012

Deep thought Friday

With a recent reminder of the Apollo programme and the clear contrast with Curiosity, it's natural there's been a lot of talk about how things stand.

So when we say a given entity was ahead of its time, could we in fact be a) recognising that we ourselves are behind our own time, b) admitting that we've allowed ourselves to become trapped in a future the given entity helped create, and/or c) accepting the entity as a creator and in doing so exonerating ourselves of failure to do better?


Christian Walker said...

In regards to space travel and your thoughts on complacency, I am reminded of an article I once read. The author suggested that we may very well go extinct as a species because it's easier to make movies about space travel than it is to actually invest in space exploration. Studying physics is hard. Going to movies is easy. ;)

Porky said...

He or she is being too easy on us I think. Maybe we shouldn't go - and personally I'm not convinced we should - but surely we should at least be discussing the possibilities properly. Maybe the fiction we're watching, playing etc. helps us do that. Maybe. Maybe the imagination the fiction helps develop is a roundabout way of getting there. Possibly it is, but the physics could be a more useful approach, or even a more useful fiction, and working on them harder in conjunction might not hurt.

That point about imagination, and the idea of energy being key, reminds me of this post at The Secret Sun, and specifically the idea that other as yet unknown forms of travel may be easier than making journeys across the huge distances between the stars. If other dimensions really are wrapped up tight all around us, and who knows what else, could they or something like them be involved in the first big crossings we make? If you have a read through that blog as a whole, there's a suggestion the crossings might already be going on, and that could be a reassuring thought.

Dave G said...

Throughout history, talented individuals rise with new ideas and the ability/drive to apply/create them. I wouldn't say it suggests that we're behind the times. It takes these people and their ideas to push in to new eras.

Porky said...

I'm not sure we can count on these individuals to step up, or even to be the best candidates if they do, but encouraging each and every person to contribute what they can in that same spirit does seem a way forward.

To put that idea of a good candidate in context, part of the thinking in the post is that looking to any given individual or group may be a narrow path down which we're diverted, and maybe unknowingly at the critical moments, and that later we see that diversion as an inevitability and raise it to the status almost of a historical necessity. If ideas and the ability / drive to get them realised are both needed to make the breakthrough, it may be that better ideas unallied to the ability / drive are held back.

History seems to remember well individual names or distinct groups, and maybe the colourful sparks that set the thinking off, possibly even parts of a biography if there's enough juice in there by the standards of the time, but this fact could underplay or overlook the essential support structures that person or group enjoyed, and the broader influences that fed the ideas or helped see them followed up.

If encouraging the contribution each person can manage is seen as important, or we feel there may be ideas not getting heard because of that lack of ability to follow up, looking to build this kind of support structure and helping stimulate new thinking and bring ideas and people together could be key.