Papilleau (papilleau) wrote,

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...second star to the right..

You all know that I'm a sci-fi fan, so I want to acknowledge the passing of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary and a giant of the field. I read his stories growing up, and like Sir Arthur, I was convinced that our best days were in a future close at hand, just waiting for us to create it. Time has not been so kind to the technological optimism embodied by Clarke. If I were to be honest, I fear that our future is more likely to resemble dystopian scenarios of post-civilization, our descendants scrabbling for survival among our ruins, than it is to be anything like the space dreams of Clarke or Roddenberry. Was it foolish to think that we could transcend our short-sightedness, our tribalism, and our absorption in material consumption, that we could soar above it all and transfer our dirty industry and power generation to the vacuum of space, and thereby spare the planet? Could the Earth ever return to its garden state save by the obliteration of our kind, conscious yet clueless, by rights the eyes, ears and voice of all Earth, spokesman for all living things, yet instead comporting ourselves like a cancer? It needn't be that way, but it will be if enough of us don't wake up. Sir Arthur was a voice in the wilds of a brutal century. His hope, writing in the 1960's, was that by the 21st century we would have been well on our way out of our long childhood, taking our first steps into civilizational adolescence. Instead we seem to have not learned a thing. I can only take comfort that we humans are not a monolithic entity. Though on this side of the pond we may be steadily sinking under our own failures of imagination, stampeded by fear, our economy in freefall, morphing into a fenced-in fortress state, yet there remain other peoples, less jaded, and still with the energy and belief in their abilities to grow in civic maturity, with a humane vision that challenges us to live to our highest potential.
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