When we talk about travelling to the stars, we often talk in terms of technological development and pushing past the current limits bounding the horizons of space science. However, one thing a space-bound race will always have a hard time hurdling are the strictures on their own understanding of themselves and their culture.
Terrestrial earthlings and space travelers must be categorically different entities even if they’re part of the same species. The courage to traverse the stars must mirror the boundlessness of space itself — how can one cross that void without becoming a void and emptying oneself of earthbound prejudices, expectations, superstitions and beliefs? It’s the only way.
When people ask why we’ve never gone back to the Moon or why we’ve never put a man on Mars, tell them to look at the small mindedness that surrounded the Pioneer plaque and then look no further. It turns out that there is more than gravity keeping humanity’s feet on the ground: self-loathing, prudishness, war paranoia and the fear of sex.… Read the rest