#97 July 1996
Section 184.108.40.206.097.of the Artemis Data Book
by Peter Kokh
MMM#97 - July, 1996
WARNING: this article reflects the writer's personal spirituality and may be offensive or troubling to some personal sensitivities. Please do feel free to skip it.
For the first time in human memory, there will now be two settled worlds - for a start. For the first time in history, that means "worlds", not "world". Yes, both / all, human (and Gaian worlds. But the crossing of this epochal threshold will tend to reinforce, I think, the widespread expectation that the universe holds others, worlds neither human nor Gaian, in its enormous multi-galactic reaches, and throughout its already long lifetime.
Out in space where there are no clouds, haze, or city lights to damp out of everyday awareness the presence of the star-spangled heavens, our wonder upon looking upward and outward will reach unprecedented highs, remaining much closer to the forefront of consciousness, well beyond that which may have existed in pre-technological times of our own prehistory.
More capable instruments of S.E.T.I. - the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, will be placed in deep lunar farside. There they will listen to the whispers of the universe, sheltered from electronic noise not only from Earth but also from potential suborban communities in the L4 and L5 lagrangian coorbital fields 60 degrees in advance of, and behind the Moon respectively in its orbit around Earth. Civilizations remaining within their home planet atmospheres might be considered puppy civilizations. Why would advanced peoples choose wavelengths for communication that could be heard by pups?
There are legends and books about "ancient astronauts" or ancient visitors to Earth from out beyond. Here, by ancient we are going back only a few thousand years. That's a moment ago on the time scale of the galaxy. On the Moon, where the landscape is billions of years old, not millions, let alone mere thousands, we will see the sweep of time in better perspective. On the Moon, truly ancient traces of past visits would not so easily be erased. That visitors may have come our way once every few hundred million years is a far easier expectation to justify than that they just happened to come along at this particular moment when we are first beginning to wag our tails. Again, since the lunar environment is so preservative, the earnest search for such possible traces and relics would be much more respectable. Either finding sapient relics or catching the sound of sapient whispers from out in the night of space time, would forever change our view of ourselves. We would remain special, even unique, but no longer alone.
On the lunar and space frontier, those interested could expect a quantum level increase in the job opportunities to pursue this wonder in more than meditative and mystical fashion. The expectation of success may begin our transformation in advance of any detection event.
Jews, Christians, and Muslims have all had their "mystical" periods. The presence of whole, sizable communities beyond Earth will sooner or later give birth to a renewed mysticism. For in truth we need not wait for electronic signals to establish "contact". We can each, inside, look out into the depths of the universe and say "Hi, I know you are out there." And we'll know that out there in many places and in many times, others like us are looking out and saying hi as well. Mystically, we can look into each other's souls and smile. To some that will seem like nothing. But in truth it is a lot. There can be a mystical bond of fellowship based on our common "creatural condition" - we all know "how it is". No amount of biological, social, historical, or technological difference can change that. The golden key to the Cosmic Club may be a mystical one. Together we can sense the awe, beauty, and wonder of it all, together in a cosmic church.
Recall the fable of the Cheshire cat which vanished except for its smile or grin. Perhaps this is an apt metaphor for mystical C.E.T.I. - [mystical] communication with extra terrestrial intelligence. For there is here no transmission of data. As fellow creatures, we fully share the creatural condition. We are born, we live, and we die, and against many hurdles we are called upon to make personal sense of it all. Life will have its joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains, triumphs and tragedies. These things are transcendental the character of being a creature in a universe - no differences in biology, culture, technology, or economics can touch that. And since these are the only significant things when all is said and done, that leaves us an enormous amount to commune about, to feel kinship through, with which to exchange Cheshire smiles. Alike we share the reproductive vocation of the life stream of our cradle worlds, alike we strive to transcend individual and communal death. In comparison with this, all the data we might hope to learn from radio communication or actual contact with alien species becomes trivia. Here on the Cheshire plane we are mutual siblings of Creation, not mutual aliens. We may have different Mother Natures (in the sense of womb-world life streams), but share one and the same Father Sky, the tidal force of all the universe and of everything within it through all the ages towards a Beatific Vision. Everything really significant to commune about is right here.
Each man is an end unto himself, says Ayn Rand. Yet nothing is more true than that the self-involved never find themselves nor learn who they are. Identities are not given; they cannot be found looking inward. Identities can only be forged in finding a role to play in community with others. Yes, we must develop our own talents, but they will find fruition only in the context of others. The hermit will be forever lost and "no one".
On the lunar and space frontiers, the need of everyone to play a part against the tremendous odds will be more keenly felt. Despite the hardships of the frontier, the incessant sacrifices, the dangers and the pressures, the ratio of those who have come to learn who they are in comparison to those who haven't a clue, will be high. Tanstaafl ("There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" - Robert A. Heinlein in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) will become a mark of the Lunan soul.
It will be characteristic of the Lunar frontier, as of all frontiers before it, that there are too many things needing to be done by too few people. For the young, this will bring a total and most healthy turnaround from the depressing situation of today's world in which it is in contrast stubbornly ever more difficult to maintain the belief that one can make a difference. It is much easier to make a mark in a community starting fresh. Getting in on the ground floor, it is called. The opportunities for all, and the young especially, will be significant. For us, in our age here on Earth, the most many of us can hope to achieve is to "tweak" something trivial. In terms of personal satisfaction in the face of death, there can be no better place to have lived than on a real frontier.
Here too, those with innate undeveloped artistic and craftsman abilities and aptitudes will be much more likely to be motivated to develop them, alongside other talents that on Earth we'd be more likely to consider economically irrelevant. The need for variety, for the personally custom, will provide an insatiable market for the one-of-a-kind creations of the artist and craftsman. This will usher in a veritable renaissance.
In practice this does not mean a higher ratio of artists to engineers, for example, but rather a higher incidence of those who are engineers, mechanics, repairmen, construction workers, agricultural workers, mining and manufacturing workers, managers, and teachers, and on and on who are also, in their off time, blooming artists and craftsmen and musicians and so on. This means a higher percentage of citizens with more fulfilling lives, with greater sense of creativity and accomplishment, with more for which to thank the Lord, and with more ways to express that gratitude.
On Earth, with a little resourcefulness and some carefully chosen tools one can survive on one's own - thanks to our generous biosphere. Of course, it is less of a challenge to do so in some climes than in others. Here it is comparatively easy to be a loner, a recluse, a hermit.
On the Moon that will be much more difficult and certainly less rewarding. For one thing, on Earth one leaves the city and the town for rural and rustic areas to "get closer to Nature". On the Moon, Nature as life will exist only within farm town biospheres. The larger the urban population, the greater, more luxuriant and diverse its biosphere is likely to be. This turns all terrestrial experience on its head, and the cultural-spiritual implications will be profound. The larger the "xity" [a community contained within its own biosphere], the greater the numbers of opportunities to find rewarding work in agricultural, pastoral, even "wild" settings. On the Moon we will learn that we can "commune" with Nature with more depth if we do so alongside our fellows, not apart from them.
Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto