Great Ambitions

March 22, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

A few years before the great man died – and I think he died of deciding to – Stephen Hawkins declared that humans had to get off this planet and go and live somewhere else. The only way for the human species to survive, he told us definitely, is to move to another planet because we have destroyed Earth and we cannot survive here. Actually, as I remember it, that is what I thought he said and it makes sense considering Dr. Hawkins’ usual habit to speak bluntly. Instead, once he jollied us up, saying that he had no doubt of our ability to find a way to get Proxima B, the planet most likely able to suit our needs. “It may have water on the surface,” says a commentator. 

Unfortunately, at our current rate of space travel speed, no matter Elon’s efforts so far, it would take us 1,000 years to reach Proxima B, a planet orbiting at a suitable distance around a red dwarf star we’ve named Proxima Centauri nearby, in space terms.

Please note that all the discussion of humans moving to other planets, every time, it talks about “colonizing.” 

Like we have never learned a single thing about our earthling mistakes.

Imagine it: a rumbling space vessel, patched together finally at a cost of so many zeros after the 1, we stopped trying to count them and after nearly 100 years – the maximum time Dr. Hawking gave us to get off the planet – of arguing and politics – being launched to great hurrahs by the poor slobs left behind to face the inevitable.

Clinging to the faint hope of a new world and a new place to exist 100 people are on board the space vessel. They are the 45 breeding couples it will take to produce enough generations for there to be any people living, once the vessel arrives at its destination after 1,000 years of hope and storytelling.

Inbreeding, radiation’s influence on newly borns and ever after; on board diseases, some brand new; and, naturally, the multiple mini-civil wars fought by the fore-finders and their troubled and very divided descendants.

Just to picture the documents that were sent with them, setting out laws of behaviour, rules of conduct and details of justice and punishment. Within mere decades, given how strange time would be in these circumstances – the big screen across the head of the ship counting the time left to land on Proxima B, in seconds, minutes, hours, days, years…

Yes, given not much ability to tolerate the pace, there will be questions about veracity, legal authority and interpretation of the ruling documents by subsequent offspring. By the time any of them achieve the all-knowing age of 16, authority will be questioned; secrets will be rife and unauthorized pregnancies will pop.

It is such a great picture. Let’s pretend they actually make a soft landing on Proxima B, enough not to kill them all off and that, of the original 100 and their one thousand years of breeding, 300 survive.

To a paradise. Maybe the colours are not what the stories about earth had led them to expect. 

What grows on Proxima B might be fuchsia, but there is life and for all those thousand years, one word that came out of the stories was “colonizing” and how to do it. Energy- how to drill for it. Commerce – how to excel and repress for it.

Differences among themselves and whoever already lives on Proxima B – how to despise and subjugate them.

All our strengths, our traditions, our opposing thumbs: ready for colonizing, to build destructively; gobble up whatever there is of use or value as we see it, by military means.

Before too many generations have come and gone, why, Proxima B might be just like Earth. 

Stephen Hawking did certainly express real concern about Earth’s climate crisis and hence, urged the development of space travel escape from Earth, due to the harm we have done, are continuing to do with the likes of the very many dangerous leaders like Putin and Trump, who distain the climate crisis and intend with all vigour to drill and warmonger.

Dr. Hawking was also deeply concerned about the speed at which Artificial Intelligence is being pressed ahead, saving industry millions of dollars while thousands are put out of work but dismissing the well documented risk of AI achieving self-awareness.

Then, “the carbon-based units could be eliminated.” That’s us.

The problem overall is simple: acquisition of gain: no matter how much wealth the wealthy have, they live in fear of loosing it; it is never enough wealth. 

Truth is, that is the main directive which was never more obvious than now. No matter what the evidence to the contrary is, the wealthy need there to be poor people, in order to assure their own status.

Stephen Hawking talked about the risk of meteors hitting Earth, altering, perhaps ruining the planet. 

Last time, it killed off all the dinosaurs….maybe that’s us too.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.