John C. Wright (johncwright) wrote,

Space Euphoria!

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/05/space-euphoria.html

In February, 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell experienced the little understood phenomenon sometimes called the “Overview Effect”. He describes being completely engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness. Without warning, he says, a feeing of bliss, timelessness, and connectedness began to overwhelm him. He describes becoming instantly and profoundly aware that each of his constituent atoms were connected to the fragile planet he saw in the window and to every other atom in the Universe. He described experiencing an intense awareness that Earth, with its humans, other animal species, and systems were all one synergistic whole. He says the feeling that rushed over him was a sense of interconnected euphoria. He was not the first—nor the last—to experience this strange “cosmic connection”.  Rusty Schweikart experienced it on March 6th 1969 during a spacewalk outside his Apollo 9 vehicle….

My comment: the philosophical the theological implications of all this to one side, Space Euphoria could have a benevolent side effect on the languishing march of our manifest destiny to conquer the planets.

At present, the main hindrance to a further space program is the absence of an economic motive that would involve private enterprise, and harness the energy and ingenuity for which private enterprise is justly famous to the goal of Getting Us Off This Rock. So far, there has been no California Gold Rush into space.

Aha, but once Space Euphoria spawns a widespread urge for Space Pilgrimages to go to Deep Heaven to seek it, the economic motive is more easily served because there is no material return. If there were a religious impulse driving a segment of the population into space, no more economical than medieval pilgrimages to shrines of saints, then the vast expense of space travel might be like the labor costs of erecting an Pharaohic Pyramid, spent without regard for personal fiscal return. The infrastructure for space exploration and colonization would be established as a side effect.

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