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From Silicon Beach to the black sky
Thoughts on spaceflight and space expansion from LA.
Greetings to all readers and subscribers, and special greetings to the paid subscribers!
I’ve been in Los Angeles (Silicon Beach area) in the last few weeks. I’ll be here for two more weeks. See my Instagram for pictures. I love this city. I’m looking at the stars a lot - not the Hollywood stars, but the real ones in the black sky above us. Well, not literally: it’s june gloom time and the sky is overcast and I rarely see the stars, but I think about spaceflight and space expansion toward the stars.
It was a great pleasure to see again my friend Mani Bhaumik, Master of spiritual physics.
I highly recommend Mani’s book “Code Name God” - first published in 2005, then republished in 2018 with a new preface and a foreword by Walter Thirring. The concept of God presented in Mani’s book, based on contemporary physics and Indian spiritual traditions, is refreshing and inspiring. According to Mani, God is the One reality of quantum fields, of which we are part. I discussed Mani’s ideas in my book “Tales of the Turing Church” and I will further elaborate in my next book.
Robert Zubrin has penned a scathing condemnation of the recently published book “Astrotopia: The Dangerous Religion of the Corporate Space Race” (2022) by Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Professor of Religion and Science in Society at Wesleyan University. On Twitter, Zubrin calls the book an “ultra-woke anti human manifesto,” which seems right.
Zubrin’s op-ed, published in Quillette and titled “A Declaration of Decadence,” defends not only spaceflight and human space expansion but also science and common sense.
Best comment: “Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them.” The poster tentatively attributes this quote to Thomas Sowell, but it is often attributed to George Orwell. Perhaps both said it, I wouldn’t be surprised.
My comment: Rubenstein and her ilk are the enemies that we must fight. And we must win. Unfortunately their stupid ideas could become an integral part of the “progressive” cultural package, wrapped in politically correct talking points about social justice and climate change. But to me, space expansion is not only compatible with, but required for environmental protection and social justice.
A great pleasure of life in Los Angeles is that I’m able to participate in the weekly online meetings of the Space Development Steering Committee (SDSC). These meetings take place at 3am in my usual European timezone, which is very inconvenient, but here it’s a very convenient 6pm, so I’m trying to attend every Monday.
The SDSC is one of the most interesting citizen space organizations. The group, founded by polymath Howard Bloom, has included and continues to include top space experts with real clout and reach. Howard and many others in the group are outspoken SpaceX fans and look forward to Starship opening the road to the planets and moons of our solar system. For the SDSC’s background and goals, listen to this conversation with Howard on spaceflight and space expansion.
Howard runs an SDSC mailing list and weekly SDSC video calls via UberConference (now Dialpad Meetings). The SDSC email discussions and video calls are idea factories, and the ideas that emerge are often escalated to the powers that be. If you wish to participate, please let me know and I’ll suggest to Howard to include you in the group.
I‘ve participated as a panelist in a webinar on “Deep Space: Awe or Fright,” organized by the Cultural Considerations Working Group of the Moon Village Association (MVA). Here is the full video of the webinar.
The two main speakers were Deana Weibel, anthropologist, who gave a talk titled “An Outrageous View of the Heavens: The Ultraview Effect as a Cognitive and Cultural Response to the Panorama of Deep Space,” and Christopher Cokinos, poet and author, who gave a talk titled “Awe is Not Enough: Contextualizing Astronomical Views through the History of the Sublime and Looking Toward Scientific Studies of Overview Effect(s).” Other panelists were Arthur Woods and Remo Rapetti, leaders of the Cultural Considerations WG.
This was the third MVA webinar on the Deep Space Effect (DSE). Frank White was the main speaker of the first two. I participated as a panelist also in the second webinar, on a day that was a very sad one for me. Then I had a long one-on-one conversation with Frank, published in the Turing Church podcast.
The DSE is a cosmic version of the Overview Effect: looking at deep space, we feel one with the universe. In this third webinar the speakers elaborated on “sacred” aspects of the DSE related to the sense of the Sublime, the Ultraview Effect (DSE on steroids), and those cosmic “hyperobjects” that fill us with awe but also fear. To me, it is awe without fear. Perhaps farside lunar observatories and VR telepresence will give everyone the opportunity to experience the DSE with ultraviews and hyperobjects, and contribute to our cosmic awakening. I emphasized that we need the Sublime to be spiritually alive, and referred to the intersections of sci/tech and the Mystery.
It was a great pleasure to see again my friend Stellar Magnet, a space traveler on a quest to change this planet and the black sky around it. She will join me as a co-host of the Turing Church podcast.