INTRODUCTION TO THESE ESSAYS
A Contemporary Essay
By Rick Doble
I recently read Michio Kaku' book Visions. After interviewing about 150 scientists, Professor Kaku came to the conclusion that we now have "the potential for the first time to manipulate and mold these forces of Nature to our wishes."
Robert Zubrin, the well respected engineer formerly of Lockheed Martin and whose humans-to-Mars plan has been adopted by NASA, writes in his book Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization that with known technology humans can now engineer the solar system to create non-polluting energy sources and mine the planets and asteroids.
If these two statements had not come from such respected scientists, the ideas might seem far-fetched. Instead both men are quite practical and knowledgeable. The conclusion is obvious. Humans can now control their own destiny, engineer the entire planet of Earth, the solar system and beyond. In short we are entering a completely unprecedented age in which we will now take control rather than being at the mercy of natural forces.
So these two books and the numerous recent findings in cosmology and astronomy got me thinking.
When I was very young my father read me the books, The Stars for Sam and The Earth for Sam: The Story of Mountains, Rivers, Dinosaurs, and Man. And after that he read me the H.G. Wells, A Short History of the World.
At the age of eleven I bought a telescope and made a model of the solar system for a school project. When I was thirteen I read George Gamow's book One, Two, Three... Infinity and as much as I could understand about Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
In short this speculation is part of my blood. I am delighted to live in an era when we are beginning to unravel the basic questions of the Universe. In my own small way I want to add to this conversation as an interested observer who has watched the game from the stands and who does have a good layman's understanding of the rules.
I started out this series writing an essay on how we humans are an integral part of the Universe. It always seemed odd to me that humans have seen themselves as apart from this incredible process. But we are a part and perhaps a very important part.
THE NATURE OF LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE: The future of life and human civilization.
Then I got to thinking about the unique characteristics that humans have which are thought and symbols and how thought itself is a virtual dimension. I believe that we can understand this better now that computers have made virtual realities easier to understand.
WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS? Thinking, thought, intelligence and the nature of the conscious mind.
Next I was lead to wondering about our immediate situation which is something that I have written about for over 15 years. The Earth and civilization are in a crisis; we just don't know it yet. The environmental consequences of our lifestyle may lead to serious harm.
THE WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS TODAY. Global warming, over population, war, disease.
Last I thought about what could be done; how to create a world point of view. Clearly for a world civilization which would manage the Earth and start to shape the solar system, we needed to start with a concept of a World Culture. So I jotted down some notes about what a World Culture might look like and how it could be promoted.
TOWARD A WORLD CULTURE: How artists and others can promote a global culture.