Golden Path as philosophy

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A Thing of Eternity
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 01 Mar 2010 14:31

Why consider the continuation of humanity important? Well, this is a human-only universe (or at least as far as they've found so far over many galaxies), so it's the continuation of sentient life.

He's gotta do something with all that time he has, why not take care of humanity? I care about the continuation of all species on earth, and I'm only a member of one of them. :wink:
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 02 Mar 2010 01:26

A Thing of Eternity wrote:Why consider the continuation of humanity important? Well, this is a human-only universe (or at least as far as they've found so far over many galaxies), so it's the continuation of sentient life.

He's gotta do something with all that time he has, why not take care of humanity? I care about the continuation of all species on earth, and I'm only a member of one of them. :wink:

I agree.

Besides, isn't ensuring the survival of ones species one of the most basic instincts of all living things?

Reproduce to ensure ones species lives on?

I flunked on Biology 101 so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby reverendmotherQ. » 02 Mar 2010 11:02

Xenu wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:Why consider the continuation of humanity important? Well, this is a human-only universe (or at least as far as they've found so far over many galaxies), so it's the continuation of sentient life.

He's gotta do something with all that time he has, why not take care of humanity? I care about the continuation of all species on earth, and I'm only a member of one of them. :wink:

I agree.

Besides, isn't ensuring the survival of ones species one of the most basic instincts of all living things?

Reproduce to ensure ones species lives on?

I flunked on Biology 101 so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!

I think when survival of self is not possible we will resort to ensuring survival of those who possess our evolutionary traits, like cognitive processing. Since mortality is a stated fact, when the mortality of our entire race comes under fire, we become more desperate. After non existence of self, isn't non existence of our hummanity to be feared?
Dont worry, I am english major so that I can avoid biology. I took geology and will be taking either astronomy or intro to engineering instead. lol

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Olympos » 02 Mar 2010 14:45

Leto is arguably the most human creature in history. He embodies the memories of countless men and women back to our evolutionary origins, tieing him to our past, and he sees a myriad of possible futures for us, tieing him to our future.

Like Paul he is haunted by the nightmare of the possible futures where humans are wiped out in a terrible holocaust. The emotional impact of seeing this future is impossible to overemphasize. Look how Leto brings rebels like Moneo and Siona into the fold: he shows them the future. Once they realize the terrible cost of the Golden Path failing, they are his reluctant allies, they really seem to have no choice after this. No more choice than he has. Muad'Dib turned his back on this choice and in many ways it destroyed him and put all humanity at risk of being destroyed by Alia and what would follow her, but for Leto's choice.
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 03 Mar 2010 04:26

reverendmotherQ. wrote:
Xenu wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:Why consider the continuation of humanity important? Well, this is a human-only universe (or at least as far as they've found so far over many galaxies), so it's the continuation of sentient life.

He's gotta do something with all that time he has, why not take care of humanity? I care about the continuation of all species on earth, and I'm only a member of one of them. :wink:

I agree.

Besides, isn't ensuring the survival of ones species one of the most basic instincts of all living things?

Reproduce to ensure ones species lives on?

I flunked on Biology 101 so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!

I think when survival of self is not possible we will resort to ensuring survival of those who possess our evolutionary traits, like cognitive processing. Since mortality is a stated fact, when the mortality of our entire race comes under fire, we become more desperate. After non existence of self, isn't non existence of our hummanity to be feared?
Dont worry, I am english major so that I can avoid biology. I took geology and will be taking either astronomy or intro to engineering instead. lol

I see what you mean and I agree.

Though age immortality is certainly possible, it is quite unlikely we will ever find a way to make us completely immortal, we will probably continue to be killed by other people, accidents, sickness etc.

I fear the extinction of humanity every day, I can not logically explain it to myself why I do, because I often see people committing great atrocities and great acts of greed and inhumanity. But something about the idea of mankind completely dying out(as in going extinct before the next evolution of our species can take over our throne) makes me feel very uneasy, not because I'm afraid of dying, I am not. But because it would mean that all the amazing and beautiful things humans had done would likely disappear.

Damn it, I sure hope we find a way to escape our galaxy's future death..

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 03 Mar 2010 05:58

Xenu wrote:Damn it, I sure hope we find a way to escape our galaxy's future death..


Why the galaxy?

I would be concerned with the planet first. I doubt that the entire galaxy is going to go blooey at the behest of humankind - at least, not in the next few thousand years.

As for humankind dying out - I fear it and I don't fear it.

I fear it for the probable cause - our own good selves, and what that tells us about the disposition of humanity.

I don't fear it as I strongly identify with all life. Something of a species traitor at times, I am.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 03 Mar 2010 08:05

Aquila ka-Hecate wrote:
Xenu wrote:Damn it, I sure hope we find a way to escape our galaxy's future death..


Why the galaxy?

I would be concerned with the planet first. I doubt that the entire galaxy is going to go blooey at the behest of humankind - at least, not in the next few thousand years.

As for humankind dying out - I fear it and I don't fear it.

I fear it for the probable cause - our own good selves, and what that tells us about the disposition of humanity.

I don't fear it as I strongly identify with all life. Something of a species traitor at times, I am.

Galaxy because I'm one of those people that tend to look way too far ahead and get stressed up over things I can't do anything about.

And I hear what you're saying, I strongly identify with all life too, in fact I often find myself becoming more infuriated at cruelty to other animal species than man. Like seals being brutally clubbed to death.

I guess it's also partially because I personally have seen more violence committed by humans against other humans so I'm more desensitized to it, you know?

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Mar 2010 14:54

We'll be loooooooooong dead and forgotten by the time our galaxy is toast. Like liklihood of us even surviving until our sun goes kabloey are pretty much zero. If our species (or whatever we turn into) makes it 1 million years from now, that will be far far beyond my expectations and could be considered an amazing perseverance boarding on miraculous.


Hard to say how long we'll make it, because if we do ever try to colonize another world, it will 99.999% likely be with sub-light speed sleeper ships (no living crew) that will take hundreds if not thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years to reach their destinations. So we might send out a ship, spend several centuries/millenia going extinct here, only to start over ages later on another world, and so forth and so on.

I doubt we'd ever have the tech necessary to leave our galaxy though. I'd be impressed if Humanity manages to send ships more than 1 or 2 % of the galaxy's width before we die out.
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 03 Mar 2010 15:28

A Thing of Eternity wrote:We'll be loooooooooong dead and forgotten by the time our galaxy is toast. Like liklihood of us even surviving until our sun goes kabloey are pretty much zero. If our species (or whatever we turn into) makes it 1 million years from now, that will be far far beyond my expectations and could be considered an amazing perseverance boarding on miraculous.


Hard to say how long we'll make it, because if we do ever try to colonize another world, it will 99.999% likely be with sub-light speed sleeper ships (no living crew) that will take hundreds if not thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years to reach their destinations. So we might send out a ship, spend several centuries/millenia going extinct here, only to start over ages later on another world, and so forth and so on.

I doubt we'd ever have the tech necessary to leave our galaxy though. I'd be impressed if Humanity manages to send ships more than 1 or 2 % of the galaxy's width before we die out.

I try to remain optimistic but I know you're just being a realist. I'm depressed enough without thinking everything we do is for naught, you know what I mean?

But it's also hard to fully predict the future, I mean what were the chances that we'd become as 'advanced' as we now are to begin with? Doesn't seem very high to me. Oh well, nothing I can really do anyway, I'll (hopefully) be dead long before we go extinct. But still, part of me hopes we find a way to overcome all obstacles thrown at us as a species, only time will tell.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Mar 2010 15:39

Well, if we do endure for a long time I think it will be as I mentioned, in small pockets spread far amonst space and through time. I would maybe recommend reading a book by one of SF's greatest minds, Jack Williamson called Terraforming Earth, which is a series of short stories about a secret base on the moon operated by machines that try to fix earth everytime it is decimated (firstly by a comet) by cloning the same group of people over and over and then terraforming Earth. (The books spans millions and millions of years).

That's the only kind of scenario I can imagine being realistic, rather than a "continuous" humanity. Who knows how long we'll make it before we just download to VR anyways?

And hey, who says it's all for naught? Is your life, or my life for naught just because we eventually die out? Even if I choose never to have children? I think it is the fact that things end that gives them value in the first place, which is part of why I don't like the idea of an afterlife - life becomes less valuable if you're an imortal that's just going somewhere better (for eternity) after you die, I think that life has so much more meaning when you're a "mortal" (atheist).

Human life will end, but we might serve life in general by not wiping it out wherever we find it amonst the stars. This kinda ties into my philosophy that the best thing humanity can do is not to merely survive, but to make sure we don't wipe out all the other life on this balll of rock.

And now I'm getting mushy... bahumbug.
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 03 Mar 2010 16:41

I don't mind that human life end, if we get some off-shoot or evolution of us that continues.

I personally feel like my life is currently for naught since I contribute nothing useful to my family or society. So that's sorta what I consider for naught, contributing in some useful way to the world you live in, or universe.

Sorry if I don't make a lot of sense, I'm not a sensible person.

I guess I just have a hard time accepting the in my opinion logical concept that anything that has a beginning also has to have an end at some point.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby SandChigger » 03 Mar 2010 19:33

IIRC it was Carl Sagan and another guy who calculated it would take only five million years to colonize the galaxy using sleeper/generation ships.

Evidently no one has made it to the point of being able to do it yet.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Mar 2010 19:45

Or, other civilizations have made it that far, but simply didn't see the point. Colonizing other planets is a pretty expensive endevour compared to just not destroying your own - especially if terraforming is involved (and if terraforming isn't involved, then mightn't a culture that advance have ethical problems with colonizing a planet that already bears life? I know I would stay away from those myself, just put something in orbit to study them and that's it).

Think about the cost to build and FUEL just 1 ship capable of travelling a couple dozen parsecs. I'm sure building in space and nano-tech/auto-build tech would help bring costs down, but still... I could see sending out a couple, but sending out thousands/millions? Pretty tough on the pocketbook.

Not saying someone wouldn't do it, just that I could certainly see why they wouln't, even if they could.
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 03 Mar 2010 23:41

Call me loony, but I've stopped subscribing to the old sleeper-ships scenario.

It makes a good yarn, sure- Heinleinesque exploration of the stars, frontiers-people, and so on (and how I loved those tales when I was a child!) - but I have a deep feeling that if/when we leave this planet, it will be through a better understanding of how space and time is formatted.

Not quite warp-drives and wormholes, although that's closer, but there should come a breakthrough cogniscance that space is more than the three dimensions we're so accustomed to, that it's not arranged on three axial grids, and that time is something other than a handy way to count duration.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 04 Mar 2010 02:43

A Thing of Eternity wrote:then mightn't a culture that advance have ethical problems with colonizing a planet that already bears life? I know I would stay away from those myself, just put something in orbit to study them and that's it

There's a big debate still raging about that with regards to Mars, one camp wants to colonize and terraform Mars at all points, claiming the needs of humanity must take priority, whereas the other group says that if any form of life is found on Mars we should do just like you wrote, i.e. only study it, not directly interact with it or alter its evolution or so forth.

I'm not sure which camp I subscribes to, but if Earth is still a nice and habitable place in the future, I'd prefer not to terraform Mars.

And IF we have to start colonizing our solar system, I'd rather see something like O'Neill Cylinders, which IMO are a smaller project than terraforming a bloody planet.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby SandChigger » 04 Mar 2010 05:33

Earth has about 500~800 million years left before the Sun gets too hot for anything except extremophile life to be happy here. (This has nothing to do with the Sun's red giant expansion phase, which shouldn't take place for another five billion years or so. That will actually destroy the Earth ... unless we move it. For now, the Sun is just gradually getting warmer as it settles into a comfy middle age.) The increase in temperature will slowly move the "Goldilocks Zone" further out, so the real question is what effect this will have on the Martian environment and whether any life there would be capable of evolving into something worth fretting over.

Anyone else read Clarke's 2010? Grabbed this from the Wikipedia page:
In the novel, the aliens are using Bowman as a probe to learn about humankind. He then returns to the Jupiter system to explore beneath the ice of Europa, where he finds aquatic life-forms, and under the clouds of Jupiter, where he discovers gaseous life-forms. Both are primitive, but the aliens deem the Europan creatures to have evolutionary potential.

And then they set the monoliths to compact Jupiter to the point of initiating fusion and becoming a mini-star, annihilating the Jovian gas cows because they were evolutionary dead-ends. (No cow bells ... although they could probably have used some. Like this thread.)

That's kinda how I feel about any life we may discover on Mars: does it have the potential, given the limitations of what Mars is and can become, to evolve into something significant? If not, screw it. Denying ourselves the use of a whole planet just because we find a few amoebas that will never amount to much more is just stupid. Panda stupid, I like to call it: stupid in the way of a dumb animal that won't even fook to keep its species alive. ;)

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 04 Mar 2010 06:54

SandChigger wrote:Earth has about 500~800 million years left before the Sun gets too hot for anything except extremophile life to be happy here. (This has nothing to do with the Sun's red giant expansion phase, which shouldn't take place for another five billion years or so. That will actually destroy the Earth ... unless we move it. For now, the Sun is just gradually getting warmer as it settles into a comfy middle age.) The increase in temperature will slowly move the "Goldilocks Zone" further out, so the real question is what effect this will have on the Martian environment and whether any life there would be capable of evolving into something worth fretting over.

Anyone else read Clarke's 2010? Grabbed this from the Wikipedia page:
In the novel, the aliens are using Bowman as a probe to learn about humankind. He then returns to the Jupiter system to explore beneath the ice of Europa, where he finds aquatic life-forms, and under the clouds of Jupiter, where he discovers gaseous life-forms. Both are primitive, but the aliens deem the Europan creatures to have evolutionary potential.

And then they set the monoliths to compact Jupiter to the point of initiating fusion and becoming a mini-star, annihilating the Jovian gas cows because they were evolutionary dead-ends. (No cow bells ... although they could probably have used some. Like this thread.)

That's kinda how I feel about any life we may discover on Mars: does it have the potential, given the limitations of what Mars is and can become, to evolve into something significant? If not, screw it. Denying ourselves the use of a whole planet just because we find a few amoebas that will never amount to much more is just stupid. Panda stupid, I like to call it: stupid in the way of a dumb animal that won't even fook to keep its species alive. ;)
Extremely well-written post and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

I have also sadly not read Clarke's novels, only seen the 2001: A Space Odyssey film. Damn, reminds me of what a huge backlog of sci-fi must reads I have. :P

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby reverendmotherQ. » 04 Mar 2010 09:24

^ Now I feel compelled to read them.
And someone should be working on FTL travel about NOW. I may be dead before the end of life on earth, but I am not comfortable with humans just being incinerated out of existence.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Olympos » 04 Mar 2010 10:42

SandChigger wrote:That's kinda how I feel about any life we may discover on Mars: does it have the potential, given the limitations of what Mars is and can become, to evolve into something significant? If not, screw it. Denying ourselves the use of a whole planet just because we find a few amoebas that will never amount to much more is just stupid.

In the words of Ed Harris in Appaloosa when the villain brags that 'you'll never hang me' ... "Never ain't here yet."

We are so, so far away from being able to predict the evolutionary course of alien biospheres that I don't see how we could look at any planet, even Mars, and say "Nope, nothing 'significant' will ever evolve here."

But we are also far, far away from being able to colonize Mars in any meaningful way to relieve the resource & population pressures here on Earth. There are much easier solutions within our technological reach, like not putting 20 billion people on this rock, and utilizing the seabed, which is less alien than Mars and a heckuva lot closer.
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby SandChigger » 04 Mar 2010 18:10

Colonizing the sea is of course one option we will want to pursue. (I remember when I was a kid there was this Saturday morning cartoon I loved to watch, about people living in the oceans. Was called "Sealab 2020" or something like that?) But it does nothing in terms of ensuring long-term human survival against threats like asteroid strikes or global pandemics.

(And I'm sure as we move towards colonizing the oceans, a new class of Grünen kelp-huggers will emerge to protest it. ;) )

While I agree with you that at present we can't predict future evolutionary viability (if that's the right way of putting it), as we explore and learn more, we should get better at it. The issue as I see it is whether, as Mars warms, it will be able, unassisted, to provide the environmental conditions needed for the evolution of any life there long enough for that evolution to occur.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Olympos » 04 Mar 2010 19:22

SandChigger wrote:Colonizing the sea is of course one option we will want to pursue. (I remember when I was a kid there was this Saturday morning cartoon I loved to watch, about people living in the oceans. Was called "Sealab 2020" or something like that?) But it does nothing in terms of ensuring long-term human survival against threats like asteroid strikes or global pandemics.

(And I'm sure as we move towards colonizing the oceans, a new class of Grünen kelp-huggers will emerge to protest it. ;) )

While I agree with you that at present we can't predict future evolutionary viability (if that's the right way of putting it), as we explore and learn more, we should get better at it. The issue as I see it is whether, as Mars warms, it will be able, unassisted, to provide the environmental conditions needed for the evolution of any life there long enough for that evolution to occur.

I just think if you're really talking about living *off* the Earth, you're talking about completely artificial and self-contained biospheres, and Mars is really not much more attractive to us than any dead rock in the Kuiper Belt, because the investment to make Mars anything but another rock we'd have to have self-contained environments on is ridiculously expensive, *and* it's just another gravity well to stick people at the bottom of.

I see a human civilization mining the asteroids being more viable than Mars, and sooner. Far less fuel required to get useful things off the rock and back to Earth, or just manipulate it there to create your civilization.
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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Xenu » 05 Mar 2010 03:12

There was recently a very good documentary over here that involved NASA; I think it was called "Living on Mars"; they went over discoveries they've made in recent time, especially with regards to how viable it is to makes Mars more habitable and so forth, I'd really recommend trying to find it if you're interested in the subject.

But I think the future colonization of space is more likely to be perhaps orbital 'colonies', the O'Neill cylinders seem like quite good concepts from what I've read about'em.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby SandChigger » 05 Mar 2010 05:53

IIRC one of the major problems with Mars is its weak magnetic field, which leaves it more exposed to the solar wind and allows its atmosphere to erode much faster than occurs on Earth. (The planet is also smaller, so its grip on its atmosphere is also weaker to begin with.) Terraforming Mars and maintaining its environment would be a never-ending project.

A ridiculously expensive investment with questionable returns? Of course. But I rather suspect that if we ever do manage to become a true space-faring species, our perceptions of expense and "investment worthiness" will also change, so who can say what we will and won't do?

If we cast off ignorance and superstition and allow ourselves to adapt and evolve (or more clearly stated: if we allow ourselves to redefine "human" and manipulate and change ourselves), we may not need worry about planetary habitats, may in fact come to avoid or even detest them. That's not an outcome FH showed us in the Duniverse, of course. ;) (Is there ever even any mention of an orbital space station in the Dune books?)

As for being stuck down gravity wells, if our materials sciences and fabrication technologies develop sufficiently, there seems to be no reason we couldn't eventually build a space elevator or sky hook or the like, making getting from planet surface to orbit and back again much more efficient and much less expensive.

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Lundse » 05 Mar 2010 07:32

SandChigger wrote:If we cast off ignorance and superstition and allow ourselves to adapt and evolve (or more clearly stated: if we allow ourselves to redefine "human" and manipulate and change ourselves), we may not need worry about planetary habitats...


Are you thinking about Seed Stock, too?

SandChigger wrote:...we may not need worry about planetary habitats, may in fact come to avoid or even detest them. That's not an outcome FH showed us in the Duniverse, of course. ;) (Is there ever even any mention of an orbital space station in the Dune books?)


And now I am thinking Iain M. Banks. But no, I don't recall anything like that in Dune, but there might be a short story or two out there by FH with orbital stations...

SandChigger wrote:As for being stuck down gravity wells, if our materials sciences and fabrication technologies develop sufficiently, there seems to be no reason we couldn't eventually build a space elevator or sky hook or the like, making getting from planet surface to orbit and back again much more efficient and much less expensive.


Screw elevators, this is what we should be aiming for: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_fountain (If nothing else, because it is cool beyond measure).

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Re: Golden Path as philosophy

Postby Olympos » 05 Mar 2010 10:26

SandChigger wrote:If we cast off ignorance and superstition and allow ourselves to adapt and evolve (or more clearly stated: if we allow ourselves to redefine "human" and manipulate and change ourselves), we may not need worry about planetary habitats, may in fact come to avoid or even detest them. That's not an outcome FH showed us in the Duniverse, of course. ;) (Is there ever even any mention of an orbital space station in the Dune books?)

No argument there, it's why I see something along the lines of Larry Niven's "Belter" civilization arising before terraforming an inhospitable place like Mars. A civilization of people who don't live in 1G environments, become taller and leaner and less bone dense, ultimately not even really capable of living on a planetary surface but still capable of trading with it.
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