Of cabbages–and kings–and space

I know it’s a little late, but I hope all the mothers out there had a lovely Mother’s Day.  Mine was quiet, for the most part, which was what I needed.  For a while now my allergies and asthma have kicked up a notch with all the flowering trees and bushes and, well, flowers, bursting out.  So for Mother’s Day, my family made a beautiful breakfast, then, my husband took our oldest with him to run errands, so the youngest stayed home with me and we read quietly, snuggled into bed.  Later, we ordered  Avatar, which I think everyone except us has seen already.  Considering my previous post, the movie definitely started the ‘ol grey matter workin’ it’s way out of an antihistimine fog… 

…well, AND the fact that I just finished re-reading my favorite Robert Heinlein novel, To Sail Beyond the Sunset.  The combination of all three things seemed to simmer for a couple days in my subconscious and then worked their way out when I was doing some free writing. Oh!  I love that feeling, when things just seem to click!

For those of you who have not read Heinlein at all or this book in particular, I highly recommend him and it.  Some of his earlier stuff has dated-sounding dialogue, but his spot-on characterizations and clear (if a bit jaundiced) eye for social and political movements make up for it.  He was a true out-of-the-box or sideways thinker, and some of his ideas were beyond a lot of people’s comfort zones, particularly regarding sex and families.  But it’s obvious to me he thoughtfully considered the “why?” and the “how?” and the “what consequence?” of his ideas.  He played with the idea of time itself and the limits (or not) of human biology and imagined, in a practical sense, how humans would get out into space and what they would do after that.  And he knew how to write a damn fine story.

Avatar.  I really, really, really wanted to love this movie.  There is no doubt, it was absolutely a visual banquet, and we didn’t even see it in 3D.  The playful bright colors and unusual plants and animals on Pandora, the digital computer animation of the Na’vi and all the technical gadgets, weapons, and vehicles were amazing.  Visually, Avatar blows away any other movie I’ve ever seen.   But, that darn critical-thinking portion of my brain seems to notice things.  It doesn’t exactly spoil a movie, but I don’t enjoy them the way I used to.  (On a side note: wouldn’t it be great if filmmakers didn’t take us for a bunch of idiots?)  The story-line was soooo boring.  I think most everybody knew about a half hour into the movie what was going to happen, every single step of the way.  And talk about getting hit over the head with the moral!  Of course, that’s what blockbuster movies do.  I liked Avatar, but I didn’t love it.

It did get me thinking, however.  Avatar is about the big, bad technological corporation versus the bow-and-arrow indigenous people because of a natural resource the latter have and the former want, or, in other words, greed, corporate greed specifically.  I made the comment in my last post that I think space exploration in the future will mostly be attempted by private institutions or corporations.  So, here I had in front of me one possible scenario for what could happen if corporations lead the way into space.  However, governments are not immune to this type of greed, either.  What happened in all the colonial outposts around the world regardless of which country claimed it?   That was a long time ago, I know, but basic human nature hasn’t changed.  “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. ”  It’s simply the way we are. 

If we know that humans have this tendency, why can’t we plan for it?  Perhaps a treaty or agreement of some sort?  Perhaps an incentive – space vacations and merchandising and mining asteroids and whatever else we can come up with to provide enough money to explore so we wouldn’t become space-faring locusts?  Idealism tempered by intelligence and practicality and common sense is what’s needed.  What do you think?  Is it possible?


2 comments on “Of cabbages–and kings–and space

  1. Diane says:

    Lovely idea, but not likely to happen. Too many humans like the thrill of power, whether gained by wealth or position.


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