THE FINAL FRONTIER
By James Strauss
Human life and its pursuit, according to Emmanuel Kant and Joseph Campbell, have little or nothing to do with the real world when it comes to the direction and control of its fate, while it’s on or off the planet earth.
Kant threw a fastball right into the mitt of the human condition when he quite accurately judged all human sensory perception to be the reception and interpretation of vibrations. Vibrations of visual, auditory, gas, chemical and even atomic interactions are all perceived and interpreted by human brains to become sight, hearing, smell, taste and feeling. We all interpret these vibrations, but all humans don’t interpret them alike. Joe Campbell came along later on and brought forth the radical truth that humans depend almost entirely on made up mythical stories for their psychological survival.
What can we deduce from these two philosophical conclusions in terms of daily survival and attempting to experience any comfort and bliss?
Survival is not a purpose.
Survival is the result of applied belief. No survivor of a sinking ship has managed to live through such terrible circumstance and pain, without wanting to live. That wanting to live is based upon a belief, even if that belief is simply that continuing to experience life itself is good. Most human survival is tied to more complicated belief systems, though, more complex than just getting from one day to another. Infrequently, following a sort of truncated belief system can even lead to self-termination. Humans must believe in something more.
What is it that all men, women and children seek?
What genetically driven force has powered mankind’s evolution from a simple survival based species, to one that has literally taken over a planet?
Only a few thousand years ago the complaint of man might have been summed up by the phrase “planet earth is killing me.”
Today we have created a world where mankind constantly asks itself ‘how can we keep from destroying the planet?’
From somewhere deep inside mankind’s genetic structure, evolving naturally, or inserted by some ephemeral god or alien species, a need to understand, to explore, emerged in the core of our species’ identity. Deep inside every human being is a need to change, to improve, to discover, and move on. This force’s effect is culturally called progress or civilization, and individually recognized as evolution or human development. It occurs in groups as universally as it occurs inside individuals. Individuals within all cultures who exhibit tendencies to abandon everything in search of what we call adventurers, are often lauded as heroes, explorers, ground breakers, and placed in positions of honor and reward. Despite the incredible advances in our knowledge, there still remains much more that is unknown. Which is fortunate, as there has been no diminishment of the adventure seeking drive coded into the very being of every man, woman and child. If you are in doubt about the existence of that coding, then you haven’t been raised in a family with small children that have run off.
All small children, at some point, run off, and it’s usually not to get away from other family members. Those children are obeying the exact same imperative etched so deeply into your own genetic code. They are seeking adventure, just as you continue to seek adventure, and new experience, no matter how old of an adult you may be. Cultural and societal mores and rules have established boundaries to try and contain this powerful drive. But it remains ever present, whether right on the edge of consciousness, or in the proverbial back of the human mind.
Adventure presupposes new experience within its very definition. Adventure is doing something risky, and possibly dangerous, that has a happy ending. You cannot do the same old thing, and go to the same old, well-worn places, and experience any sense of adventure. The term adventure is often accompanied by the concepts of ‘New’ and ‘Unknown.’ Space has been called the final frontier. Actually, the word space is merely a dramatic word intended to cover the absence of things. For astronomical purposes, saying “everything else in the universe” would be more accurate.
Earth is a small place. It’s so small, relative to what we now know is out there, that comparing it to a single grain of sand among all of earth’s beaches does not come close to describing how insignificant in size it truly is. Earth’s seemingly huge sun, at 1,330,000 times larger than the earth, is a tiny sun. The largest sun discovered (so far) in that ‘everything else of a universe’, is a trillion times larger than what we call Sol, located at the center of our small system. With every scrap of knowledge we acquire, our planet, our universe seems to shrink. Our urge to “GO” further, farther, somewhere new, is quite literal.
Where will the next generation of adventurers go?
Adventure demands room, it demands SPACE – in all it’s meanings.
Mankind must go to the stars, because there is no other place to go. Mankind cannot stay where it is, and live, as mankind. Having a space exploration program, and building machines that allow mankind to explore, discover, conquer the universe is discussable, just as breathing air is discussable. Say what you want, but you still have to breath. Breathing is not an option because breathing is a biological necessity, a manifestation of our genetic coding. Those humans who fail to practice breathing, for any period of time, die. The non-breather’s won’t reproduce and voila! Mankind will go out into space or it will die. It will fail to reproduce if it turns only inward, and continues to feed upon itself and the rather small supplies contained within the sphere it was spawned upon.
Fighting genetic limitations is as much a part of genetics, as understanding the impact of genetics to begin with. Survival, being the result of belief driven behavior, can draw upon differing beliefs, all of which do not not necessarily ensure the survival of all individuals, equally. Since the 1970’s an extremely powerful segment of mankind has been committed to focusing the dominant human belief systems solely toward improving life on earth. Simultaneously, they are ignoring, or opposing, any efforts to develop the means and technology to leave the earth and explore other planets within our solar system, or beyond. This survival strategy puts the needs of a very few, over the remainder of mankind. These few have been able to harness and modify their own adventure drive to replace travel and new experience, with conquest of their fellow humans. However, that belief system cannot sustain itself for long.
A planet-wide revolution will eventually sweep all such limiting belief systems by the boards, and mankind will go to the stars. It has no choice. It is written into every human’s very being.
Take your children or grand children to the shopping mall.
Let them go.
You will find that they spend just the fewest of moments staying close to the human’s they love, and owe their very survival to. You will see them run off in all directions, seeking adventure, just as all humans are required to.
We are born to reach out, to discover what is around the next barrier, to pursue the final frontier.