Saturday, July 23, 2011

As space shuttle touched down on earth for the final time, the US Space Age came to a close.  And this country's last semblance of a forward-looking vision closed.  The robots will still go out, though for how long is anybody's guess.

It may be that the manned space flight, with it's implicit promises of exploration and colonization was never anything but a chimera and an impractical daydream.  But it may be that it wasn't -- could movement off planet could have been a reality?  I think we'll never know.  But now, is anyone imagining a future beyond iPhone 8 or Jersey Shore 2015 in hologram?  Or the latest, faddish post-apocalypta?

Meanwhile, the percentage of the population looking for jobs and not finding them ticked upward again toward 10% - though the actual number of people idle in the current economy is closer to 20%, or one fifth of the population.

The oddness of this is maddening.  Extinction-quality challenges are coming down the pipeline toward us.  The destabilization of the climate; the destruction and acidification of the oceans; the impending decline of cheap energy; the dangerous challenge of providing material for 9 billion human souls - all leading to an erosion of too many global life support systems.

But not only are we not mobilizing for any of these challenges, we are idling people - a vast reservoir of human capacity that is being given no resources, no task, no vision beyond someday getting themselves back into the suicide pact of consumption-work.

Is the humanity-beast just averting its eyes from a future it doesn't want to face?