Paul Bowen is a teacher at the Schilling School for Gifted Children. Paul and I had a wide ranging conversation. We started out with “we should focus on problems here at earth”, but as we explored those problems, we identified several drivers that could motivate other people to move to space. Intentional communities will find it challenging to maintain their identity and rules as communications technology and competition and pressure from other communities continue to put pressure on them to adapt to the mainstream. These communities might chose the hardships of space with the isolation and buffering that it provides in order to maintain their identity and their philosophy. Their way of life will have to change to adapt to the technology required to maintain life in uninhabitable places, but those challenges seem consistent with the apparent philosophy of those societies.
We also talked about conflict between US and China could result from the idea that China could be dealt with now. But that China is growing fast, and there will come a point in the future that it may not be possible to limit them. This conflict could escalate to be like no other with planet changing consequences. This may result in people that might prefer the seemingly manageable challenges that nature presents over the unpredictable challenges that fellow people represent going to space to be safe from potential world war.
The key sentence from our conversation was “It doesn’t have to be this way.” All the ills that we see in the world, all the short comings, all the sources of frustration and harm could be changed. We could chose to make the world a different way.
We can create a community of mutual respect, a world that is rational and supportive, and a world were we can focus on learning and advancement. The choice for that world is in our hands. But first we need to realize we have a choice.
Julian thought NASA’s plans to land on the moon were neat, but he had not heard of them before. And he thinks we should solve problems on earth before exploring space. The two problems we talked about were the environment and poverty. Electric cars need to displace gas cars. And we should work on putting solar panels on our houses before looking into space based solar power. He is most excited by solving problems that he can see the benefits of solving. For example, teachers spend much time looking for an eraser for the marker board, he has an idea for a solution. Also, getting tape off of a spool of tape is a pain. He is working on a solution to that too. In 2024, Julian will be a freshman in college. And he doesn’t plan to go wild when people are on the moon.
Julian has his own YouTube channel: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCvsRDQh2QoETeOH6hBJGNDA
Talked to Akash about the 2024 Artemis moon landing that NASA is planning. He had not heard about it before. Akash has some questions about the opportunity cost of a human moon landing. Could that money be used to solve more pressing problems on earth? We explored this a little and discussed the benefits we should get from improving our perspective. When those astronauts look back at earth and see something that is small, fragile, limited and yet extremely special, we will have a truer view of our place in the cosmos. Also what are humanity’s cognitive blind spots that might be addressed by having humans living in very different conditions than on earth. Where will Akash be in 2024 when the moon landings are happening? Celebrating this achievement with the rest of us.