Humanity, how do we ensure the survival of our species?

It’s to dangerous to keep the consciousness of the universe on only one planet, it could be wiped out… Sax Russell, from Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Red Mars

Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap vi...

Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap visible on the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy is top of my “Recommended Reads” list and I am featuring it and an authorial review on day M of the A to Z April Challenge (14 April).

In the first volume, Red Mars, Sax Russell, a scientist and one of the first 100 people on Mars has a long and thought-provoking monologue that I found life changing. I’ve included just an excerpt of it in this post; it was in response to Anne Clayborne’s case for leaving Mars as it is – too beautiful to risk loosing.

The beauty of Mars exists in the Human mind , … Without the human presence it is just a concentration of atoms, no different from any other random speck of matter in the universe.

It’s we who understand it, and we who give it meaning…

But science is more than that. Science is part of a larger human enterprise, and that enterprise includes going to the stars, adapting to other planets, adapting them to us. Science is creation. The lack of life here [on Mars] and th lack of any findings in 50 years of SETI indicates that life is rare, and intelligent life even rarer.

And yet the whole meaning of the universe, its beauty, is contained in the consciousness of intelligent life. We are the consciousness of the universe, and our job is to spread tha around, to go look at things, to live everywhere we can. It’s too dangerous to keep the consciousness of the universe on only one planet, it could be wiped out…

We can transform Mars and build a cathedral,  as a monument to humanity and the universe both!

This is more “one hand clapping” stuff I know but read in its entirety, and using the terraforming of Mars as a literary example, it makes a compelling argument, and one wonders why this argument is brushed aside by our nations’ leaders.

“H” is for Humanity

12 thoughts on “Humanity, how do we ensure the survival of our species?

  1. Pingback: Who would take a one-way journey to Mars? | A Fettered Mind

  2. Pingback: A to Z Challenge – a retrospective « A Fettered Mind

  3. “One nation under God”

    Visit each state and see how far from being one nation we really are. Before mars lets think how our leaders arent permament leaders so knowing that their term over, they may start out caring but to want change in our society means everyone will start hating then President will start not caring and will focus on money making, so they can use miltary for their future earnings when there done leading. Ironically people depend on the representitives to do all the working and desicion making and thats what really needs fixing but impossible since media is keeps you distracted from things of real meaning. Space is another way to cloud peoples thinking thats just my personal opinion though.

  4. I don’t know man… I agree that human existence is about consciousness. But that it’s “dangerous” to keep it on one planet therefore implying we should move to Mars sometime soon? I think that’s a little much. Maybe we should work on being at peace with Earth right NOW rather than trying to spread our “intelligence” elsewhere. What is the fear here? Being “wiped out”? If we get wiped out soon it will be because of our own silly “intelligence” that’s destroying this beautiful planet bit by bit.
    Interesting post, but I’d have to say I disagree!

    • Hi DanyLion. I agree there is a lot we can do on earth now too, but to use an overused analogy it’s is silly to leave all our eggs in one basket, when the first step to other settling other planets is technologically and feasible and affordable, especially when compared to the amount currently spent of military budgets throughout the world. Wonderful to have a dialog about this!

    • I don’t think we will ever achieve peace on earth until we grow beyond it. Family means nothing without other families. Communities have no reason to unite unless there are other communities. Countries have no patriotism without the existance of other countries. My point is that there will always be conflict within a system, but it will never truly unite until it starts to look outside inside of within.

      • But that makes no sense. That’s like saying, “This isn’t working, we’re destroying our planet and everything that inhabits it, so let’s go to another planet and maybe it’ll get better.” We can’t even take care of one planet, we’re too messed up as a species. How could we possibly go somewhere else?
        I think the main reason for all of our problems is that we look “outside”. We’re obsessed with it. We can’t make anything work as it should because we always want everything to come simpler, easier to us. Earth is the only planet that can support such a vast variety of life and frankly, the only reason for it’s failure is man’s obsession with trying to change the natural cycle of things.
        All I’m saying is that we CAN live in harmony with the Earth if we work a little harder. All we have here is a case of a system being overworked because of our own selfish desires.
        If we can’t find peace within the present moment and situation, we will never find it by going “beyond” it.

      • I understand your point but consider this. It’s not that we’re messed up, we are just extremely diverse. What you suggest would certainly be a wonderful thing and it should certainly be our goal and focus. But the reality is that we are all so different with different beliefs and cultures it is going to be a long time before it ever happens. Evolving beyond hatred and mistrust are slow long processes that take generations if not longer. And as that time goes by our population gets larger and larger. The earth can only support so many people; that is reality. Going beyond (or even just knowing we have the ability to when the need arises) would give us the time and space to explore our differences and start to find peace and understanding without being crammed into a box with no room to breathe, only so much air, and the walls closing in.

So what do you think?

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