Sunday, June 11, 2006
"I fear that the passion, the drive, the sheer force of will to do great things has passed into history. Today we are focused more on making a quick buck and what Brittney Spears is doing with her kid than on Great Things. Are there truly momentous adventures left to us? And do we have the will - both personal and societal - to pursue them?"While I agree that there is something to this all societies have said that the past was a Golden Age & replied
I'm not sure that that empires are built by people who have the will to do great things. They may be maintained by them. The British Empire was built up in the pre-Victorian era & most of the builders were a bunch of freebooters - not unlike the robber barons who built up American capitalism.I was thinking about people like Clive of India & Raffles of Singapore or indeed Sir Francis Drake & Sir Harry Flashman. The Kiplings & respectable heroes of empire came later after it had been established. In the American case just look at the names of their most respectable families & they were virtually all started by 19thC thugs.
This, in turn brought up a response considerably more detailed, lyrical & better than mine.
Truly momentous adventures? Does anyone who has ever read your works need to ask, Jerry? Sure, there are great things left to do – and the will to do them is being hijacked by bean-counters and bureaucratic empire-builders.
I refer of course to the Great Leap Outwards. I don’t have any kids and never will, but I would like to think that one of my sister’s grandchildren or great-grandchildren will have a chance to walk the snows of Enceladus, or wrestle a drill on some nameless asteroid loaded with stuff more valuable than gold, or sail a boat on the lake in the first L5 colony, or…
Apart from being a good thing to do for reasons few reading this will dispute (I hope), I submit that this would also help to heal the ills of our society. A thought I have often seen stated: One of the chief causes of our society’s problems is the lack of a frontier; a lack of somewhere for our troublesome young men to risk getting themselves killed in, a lack of somewhere to think that you might actually be helping to build something worth building.
And one way the Great Black Yonder is better than earlier frontiers; there are no troublesome native inhabitants that anyone will have to kill, suppress or enslave in order to do it.
As for treasure, well, there is enough and to spare to make everyone currently living a trillionaire many times over. Not that this is the way things would turn out; instead, after a couple of hundred years, if we wished, there would be enough for a trillion people (at least!) to live in comfort.
Disband NASA, and let’s get started! We have wasted a generation already!
Hurrah!(said Jerry, to which I fully agree))