TWO THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT TRIXIE
A couple of things you might not know about me:
1. I don't like those blue m&m's. I liked the old seventies colors. Red looked so pretty with the two colors of brown. Blue is ALL WRONG.
2. I believe that space colonization will save humankind -- that ONLY space colonization CAN save us. It's not something I think about often so it's not like I'm revealing some bizarre secret of mine. Or wait, maybe I am. This is something I've believed for a long time, maybe because the space station was such a big deal when I was a kid. Still, it wasn't something I had any detailed exposure to -- it just slid into my belief system.
Why does this nugget of belief appeal to me? I don't know -- probably because science barely-fiction captured my imagination somehow from an early age. I'm not very literate in the sci-fi genre in general, but my dad bought enough graphic sci-fi stuff (a huge Buck Rogers collection in giant-book form which I never read, but leafed through every so often, a couple of captivating books with spaceship blueprints, and a subscription to Omni) that it wiggled into my consciousness as something real. Star Wars was the first movie I remember seeing, and that in a drive-in theater with my dad after a fight with my mom so it made a big impression on me. I didn't study or immerse myself in science, science fiction, or technology but I saw and read enough that was so beautiful, believable, provocative and richly detailed that it planted seeds in my brain.
Maybe that's why I didn't like Star Trek: not very beautiful, believable, or richly detailed. My first exposure to Star Trek was the original series during reruns and I was too little to understand its provocative content, only to recognize its visual inferiority to Star Wars and the other pictures I saw. The only thing I liked about the original series were the short dresses on the hot chicks. Of course, in the past couple of years I've become a Next Gen fan but it didn't contribute to the formation of my belief system, only reinforced it.
I think space colonization is part of my faith; I have faith that a few smart, persistent, creative people will save us and we will endure thanks to scientists and technology. When I say "we" I don't mean "I" since I believe this will happen after I'm dead and gone, but not by much. The idea of space colonization comforts me even though it's completely irrelevant to my life and even though it will be fraught with tragedies and scary things.
I suppose I like knowing that the struggle will go on and that there are new frontiers to explore. Or maybe it comforts me to imagine that people in general won't become too much more advanced than I had a chance to be any time soon. I can't believe Firefly
only lasted one motherfucking season because that show perfectly captured what I think a lot of us imagine as the not-so-distant future of humankind.
Honestly, I don't spend a lot of time specifically thinking about space colonization as a cornerstone of my belief system. I have, however, spent quite a bit of time over the past few years reflecting on science fiction in general as the best contemporary vehicle for exploring spiritual, moral, and ethical issues. Science fiction is one of the most authentic ways I feel like I can "get religion". It's not fixed or as dogmatic as science itself so there is still room for faith (and when I say "faith" I mean faith in something -- ANYTHING -- wiggly and uncertain, not faith in any of the gods of religions we're so familiar with today), and it's not completely insane or irrational (again, like so many of the religions we're familiar with today). There's room for soaring idealism in science fiction, and for bitter cynical social commentary. I love it.
Anyway, even though I don't give daily deep thought to space colonization, I guess I do feel pretty anxious about this planet and sad about what we're doing to it. The amount of destruction I've seen in my short life, and the carelessness people have towards the "environment" leads me to believe (another part of my faith) that we aren't going to be able to live here naturally much longer without lots of artificial intervention. Much of what is most beautiful will be utterly fucking destroyed -- any of it that's saved will be via small-scale Jurassic Park type measures.
I didn't grow up in a city. Many days I actually got to wade in creeks, see big trees, smell clean air, enjoy darkness at night, have complete privacy/solitude . . . things like that. I've spent all of my thirty three years loving ferns and moss and the smell of rotting wood.
I didn't grow up in a city, but I grew up close enough to the city of Seattle to see major MAJOR changes in western Washington every single year for the past thirty-three. It's nothing against cities, because I love those too, but we are mowing good things down and paving over it so fast and furiously and on such grand scale that you have to have your head stuffed straight up your cornucopian ass to not recognize that we're shitting all over the planet; it cannot sustain these levels of "growth" and resource-rape. I wasn't raised to be an "environmentalist"; my grandpa was a logger and most people I knew were pretty conservative and hostile towards "tree-huggers". Really, my sentiments are fueled only by the gift of sight -- you have to be fucking blind to not see the destruction and life out of balance.
So. I guess I comfort myself with the fact that science will create new wonders, preserve and transplant some old ones, and life will go on. It really breaks my heart, though, imagining the world introduced to my nephew (or my own children if I ever have any) and trying to show them as many things as possible before they're bulldozed down. If my own lifetime has been marred by observable decimation of natural resources and beauty I can only imagine how depressingly ugly and destructive the world will become over the next three generations. And hey, it's not all about "nature" -- privacy and solitude are becoming relics of the past (or at least luxuries only the very richest of the rich can afford). If I ever have grandchildren I'm pretty certain their notion of these concepts (privacy and solitude) will be reduced to tiny fragments of what they should be.
It makes me fucking shudder, but I thank my lucky fucking stars to be alive in this time and place rather than somewhere else, or sometime long ago, or sometime in the near future. That brings me back to faith; who or what should I "thank"? Science fiction hasn't answered that question for me yet so sometimes I fall back on the old-fashioned stuff because really, I do need to give thanks even if it's primitive, superstitious and nonsensical.
Labels: fears, food, memories, nature, Pacific Northwest, privacy, religion, spiritual issues, Star Trek, television, things I treasure