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Let's Cool It!

Observations about the state of things

as I see them. By,

Martha Adams

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The root of this piece is my observation that the people and industries outside Government [1] who are working on space, amount to many disparate little communities. These communities seem often to get into internecine frictions. This has unwelcome consequences: 1) helpful cooperation doesn't happen; 2) good social energy goes to bad service; 3) unaffiliated small groups cannot individually do challenging large works like space settlements. There cannot exist one single solution to this broadly distributed trouble, but I propose a small helpful change in how people think. I believe this small change would reduce frictions and facilitate productive interactions.

I'm starting this topic because I think we have, Terra has, arrived at a major historical break point. It's a Seldon crisis, with two mutually exclusive outcomes possible. In Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, a Seldon crisis is an excellent plot device. In real life, here in today's world, we are not in a story. And no good outcome to help sell the story, is required here in real life.

The crisis is, we are going to put settlements and a business ecology off our local Terra -- out in space, and do it soon -- or, we have no future.

I believe too many of us think, OK, yeah, things are kind of bad; but our Big Daddy will save us out of this. Where our Big Daddy falls somewhere along a range from Washington to One World to fate, "virtue always wins," and imagined supernaturals.

I'm not going farther than I have done already into Big Daddy theory, beyond observing that thru all history up to now, Big Daddy's track record is bad. Millions of people from Pompeii, Armenia, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia, Darfur (short take from a very long list) could tell you about this, but they're all dead. Have you looked at the Middle East lately? At our serious world climate issue? (Suppressed by Republican politicians until recently, but it didn't therefore vanish. Rather, it grew....)

We have a compelling example right here in America of our local Big Daddy at work. In the 1970's, we had built a large industrial base that could send people out into space, and a few of them walked on our satellite Luna. It was a beginning -- and then Washington killed it. As best I can see why that was done, I believe it was done to free up more money to finance the war in Vietnam. Today that industrial base is gone, almost without a trace. (As is the war in Vietnam, but Washington seems to have found substitutes.) So that particular Big Daddy has shown itself to have no sense of the future and much too much interest in certain short-term issues.

So if we rate our local Big Daddy in Washington it's an impressive loser. However, this other option exists. It's us nonGovernment groups and industries out there -- with all our little frictions. What if we could cool those frictions, develop some sort of a central meeting place, and get most of us heading in about the same direction at about the same time?

This is an idea with a future. For one thing, practical examples illustrate that generally, private industry accomplishes goals at around 10% of cost of doing it via Big Daddy. Thus a goal that could seem beyond the reach of private resources -- isn't.

And if not us, then who? If you're a gambler, there are a few other bets you could place. To visit Luna, maybe you should study Mandarin; or the Russians may yet get their act together. There are also the people in India and Pakistan, if they can cool their frictions (which at this writing seems most unlikely).

For me, it's back to where I think reality is. I haven't a guess how much money and talent there is in our nonGovernmental groups and their people, but I've an intuitive impression that if we valued up all these resources and multiplied that value by a factor of ten (that 10% governmental vs private number again) the result would look as large as Government. Maybe larger.

So it's doable, if we can cool these little frictions.

I propose a simple enough method to do this. It is to 1) cool the "value" of our individual perceptions. Nobody has all the answers, least of all, you or me. Then 2) re-state our ideas as models which we can review and show to others. Saying, when we do that, "This is my model of what we're up to, where it comes from, where it goes." And 3) look at other people's models, always with an eye to what our objective is.

I hope that objective is, settlements and a business ecology far off-Terra.

Finally, 4) peer into the future, seeking synergies. It's out there somewhere, that larger groups can accomplish larger tasks.

The Force is there: we must get our heads together and then it's only a lot of work to accomplish the outcome our future wants.

------------------------------------------------- Notes, Resources, and Pointers:

[1] Inside the American government is a whole another topic, immensely larger and more difficult than anything I touch on here. Most immediate and obvious is today's Republicans, the Party of No. They backup their stonewalls with invented conflicts based upon extremist religion and ignorance around small topics, irrelevant on a national scale, such as abortion and gays. Central to their accomplishment is their immutable belief "fair and balanced" means "My way all the way."

Concerning that, maybe the political parties could take themselves away from their destructive King of the Mountain conflicts. How about serious work on, "Given today's real world, where is America going and what do we need to do it?" And for that policy, get out of Total Surveillance and like programs copied from the former East Germany and out of today's China. Now, that would be real "Government business."

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