Spiritual aspects of spaceflight and space expansion
Toward our cosmic duty and destiny. Also: Black Sky, 2022 Terasem events.
On February 9 I gave a talk at a webinar titled “Spirituality and the Moon,” organized by the Cultural Considerations Working Group of the Moon Village Association. The webinar was moderated by Remo Rapetti and Arthur Woods, leaders of the Working Group.
Other speakers: Catherine Newell, author of “Destined for the Stars: Faith, the Future, and the Final Frontier” (2019), and Jorge Mañes Rubio, designer of a Moon Temple for a future lunar settlement in Shackleton Crater.
Here’s the video.
Here are the slides I used.
There wasn’t time for a discussion after the three talks. Here are my impressions and comments.
The main points of my talk, mostly derived from my book “Futurist spaceflight meditations,” can be roughly summarized as:
Space expansion is our cosmic duty and destiny, and we must get started asap no matter how.
Out there among the stars, we will become God-like cosmic engineers and realize all the promises of religions.
This is a much needed new spirituality of nature, technology, and human futures.
Listening to the excellent talks of Catherine and Jorge I was thinking that they probably find my approach too aggressive, too hard-sci-fi-like, too “Western,” or something like that.
I liked Catherine’s evocation of Yosemite as a sacred natural space to preserve and enjoy. I have been there, and I really appreciated Yosemite’s beauty and spiritual atmosphere of oneness with nature.
But when I went to Yosemite I had to fly to LAX, rent a car, and drive to Yosemite. In theory I could have sailed to the West Coast of the US and then walked to Yosemite. But in practice, of course, I wouldn’t have done so. Without technological infrastructure in place, I would never have seen Yosemite and never felt its mind-changing spiritual impact.
I liked Catherine’s suggestion to preserve the Moon as a sacred space. But the Moon is big (bigger than Africa). We could have spaceports, observatories, research stations, mining outposts, factories, small cities, big cities, AND spiritually enriching natural preserves on the Moon.
The spaceports and the cities would enable people to visit and enjoy the sacred Moon. So, I say: not either/or, but both/and. There’s room for both, and we can/should do both.
Jorge’s ancestors, the Conquistadores, did bad things, and so did my Roman ancestors: Caesar wasn’t nicer than Pizarro. But I don’t share Jorge’s harsh opinion of Western culture. I think Western culture is not “better” (whatever that means) than other cultures, but not worse either. History shows that ALL cultures have done as much bad as they were able to, and I’m afraid this won’t change much anytime soon. But ALL cultures, including Western culture, have also done good things.
However, I totally share Jorge’s call for more and more non-Western voices to join the spaceflight community as enthusiasts and professionals, and I totally agree with Jorge’s observation that non-Western cultures have a lot to contribute to space expansion, not only in terms of philosophy but also in terms of hard science and technology.
I mentioned future super-science and the “cranes” (ref. Eric Steinhart) that lift the universe to greater heights of complexity and encourage us to expand beyond the Earth. I suspect that understanding these things will require concepts (e.g. non-linear time) found in non-Western cognitive and metaphysical frameworks.
I love the Moon Temple idea. Of course no government agencies or big companies will ever fund it. But I think crowdfunding is not to be entirely ruled out. My rough estimate of the construction costs (with ISRU, 3D printers and construction robots only, no people) is of the order of a few hundred million dollars.
This could be within reach of a well planned and executed fundraising campaign. Multi-user virtual reality models of the Moon Temple and the surrounding region of the Moon, as well as crypto tokens, could facilitate fundraising.
On February 2 I gave a similar talk on the spiritual aspects of spaceflight at the first event, or “inaugural digital experience,” organized by Black Sky, a new collective “on a mission to minimize dystopia and maximize harmony with the cosmos.” I couldn’t participate in real time but contributed a prerecorded video.
I’m sure the good folks at Black Sky will post the video of the entire event soon. In the meantime I have posted a Turing Church podcast episode with the audio of my talk. And now that Substack supports video, I have also posted the video of the talk here as a first experiment, and for future reference.
Since 2020 I have been co-organizing and running Terasem events in July and December, via Zoom.
Here are the videos of the last three events, featuring star speakers like Howard Bloom, David Brin, Martine Rothblatt, Max More, and others: 1, 2, 3.
December 2022 will be the 50th anniversary of the last human landing on the Moon. On December 14, 1972, the last astronauts left the Moon, and we haven't returned to the Moon ever since.
This is even more significant than the 50th anniversary of the first landing, because it is a reminder that we must get started again on the road to the stars, and this time permanently and forever. And this is also a human right issue: the right to dream of awesome futures, and of playing a part in these futures.
So both 2022 Terasem events will be focused on spaceflight and space expansion. The July event, which will take place as usual on July 20, the anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon, will cover cultural, philosophical, and spiritual aspects of spaceflight. The December event, which will take place on December 14, the 50th anniversary of the last human takeoff from the Moon, will cover what is being done to return to the Moon and stay there sustainably and permanently.
Stay tuned for more forthcoming info on the 2022 Terasem events!
Cover picture: screenshot from Zoom meeting.