Merry Christmas and happy 2022 to all readers and subscribers, and special greetings to the paid subscribers! I am NOT one of those who feel forced to refrain from using the word “Christmas.” So again, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
And happy 2022! I’ll be back in January.
Please scroll down for the main topic of this newsletter and a reading list. But first:
Terasem Colloquium, December 10, 2021: VIDEO and impressions. Randal Koene, Max More, Ken Hayworth, Martine Rothblatt, Robert McIntyre, and other participants discussed consciousness and how to preserve consciousness beyond physical death at the Terasem Colloquium on December 10, 2021, via Zoom.
Topics presented and discussed in the video: the nature of personal consciousness and identity, cryonics, brain preservation (aka cryonics for uploaders), next steps in cryonics and brain preservation, mind uploading, and Terasem’s cyberconsciousness approach.
"His rockets, built from scratch on an autodidact’s mold-breaking vision, have saved taxpayers billions, reinvigorated America’s space dreams... The man from the future where technology makes all things possible is a throwback to our glorious industrial past, before America stagnated and stopped producing anything but rules, restrictions, limits, obstacles and Facebook."
It is good to see a mainstream publication and cultural arbiter like TIME say these words. Is this an indication that perhaps - just perhaps - Western culture could be about to swing back to the future again?
Of course, some whiners complain:
I took this picture earlier this month at the 5th Global Moon Village Workshop & Symposium (2021) organized by the Moon Village Association (MVA). Watch the video recordings of the event (December 6, December 7, December 8).
I am a member of the MVA and I like its approach focused on the Moon. To me, building a sustainable and permanent human presence on the Moon is our next step upward and outward before moving on to Mars and beyond. I also like the MVA because it is better organized than other citizen space organizations, and because its meetings are often in a Euro-friendly timezone.
I took the picture at the break-out session of the MVA’s Cultural Considerations Working Group. The group is producing a video titled “Why Me to the Moon?” The video will be a collection of one-minute statements by participants. I loved the project and added my own one-minute video, which is now on the website (thanks Arthur Woods).
Space expansion is a cornerstone of Turing Church, and the Moon is the first stop on the sacred road to the stars. See my books for more thoughts on this (links in the About page) and listen to my recent futurist spaceflight conversation with Agah Bahari.
The (next) spaceflight revolution
I’m familiar with the work of my friend Bill Bainbridge but I hadn’t read his first book “The Spaceflight Revolution: A Sociological Study” (1976, now a classic of spaceflight literature) until recently.
“As William Sims Bainbridge pointed out in his 1976 book The Spaceflight Revolution; a Sociological Study, space travel is a technological mutation that should not really have arrived until the 21st century,” said Arthur Clarke. “But thanks to the ambition and genius of Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev, and their influence upon individuals as disparate as Kennedy and Khrushchev, the moon - like the South Pole - was reached half a century ahead of time.”
“Actually, my thesis was that the Moon might never have been reached, because the period 1945–1965 was a launch window during which the development of the intercontinental nuclear missile could advance the technology needed for spaceflight,” commented Bainbridge.
Bainbridge argues that the spaceflight revolution was not inevitable. Rather, it was created by a social movement spearheaded by small groups of very committed leaders (e.g. Wernher von Braun, Sergei Korolev) motivated by, in the words of Arthur Clarke, “a primary human impulse which needs and can receive no further justification than its own existence.”
These spaceflight leaders found ways to sell spaceflight to the political and military elites of their time. This (not actual needs, not public support for spaceflight, not cultural factors, not science fiction fandom) caused the spaceflight revolution.
Among other stories, Bainbridge tells the story of Barbara Marx Hubbard, the Committee for the Future, and its Project Harvest Moon, which is a great story worth telling. But then the Committee became a spiritual group and refocused “from outer space to inner space.” After this “abandonment of space,” the group faded away.
This will not be the case of Turing Church, which is a cosmist group that is and will remain very much focused on spaceflight, among other things. Inner space AND outer space.
Bainbridge looks at the future from the 1970s:
“Will there be a second wave of intense and dynamic progress? Will there be a second stage to the Spaceflight Revolution?”
“My overall contention is that the next 20 to 50 years will be marked by a gradual upward coasting of space technology capabilities - a period of normal technological change. Somewhere soon after the turn of the century there is the real possibility of a Second Spaceflight Revolution...”
It appears this new spaceflight revolution is beginning to happen, spearheaded by a new generation of leaders. “I think that Elon Musk is more or less a kind of reincarnation of Sergey Korolev,” said Korolev’s grandson Andrey Korolev in an interview after visiting SpaceX.
Even more than in later books, Bainbridge writes as a detached sociologist who observes without judging and without taking side. He is “reasonably sure we will ultimately be able to inhabit other celestial bodies.” But this is not inevitable, and we must work to make it happen. So I say, again, here’s to Elon Musk!
Cover picture from Wikimedia Commons.