(video) A conversation with Howard Bloom
Spaceflight, NASA, Elon Musk, China, culture, media, physics, universal evolution.
This is a conversation with Howard Bloom. I should introduce Howard, but there would be too much to say. I’ll just say that Howard is one of the greatest thinkers of today. Just google him and take a look at his website howardbloom.net.
I planned to focus this conversation on spaceflight and human space expansion, and ask Howard the questions below. But being Howard the polymath he is, our conversation touched many other interesting things as well.
These are the questions I had prepared:
In one of your books you tell the story of how you accidentally started the sixties, which were a troubled but also wonderful decade. But the sixties are gone. Perhaps one day you’ll write a book on how you accidentally started the 21st century? We are in 2022 now and the 21st century never really started. We ended the nineties with great expectations but instead of the 2001 of Kubrick & Clarke we got September 11, 2001. September 11 set the tone of Western culture and we never recovered. So how do you plan to start the 21st century for real?
Please give me your best short elevator pitch for spaceflight and human space expansion.
What can we DO to make people and especially young people fall in love with space again like in the Apollo sixties? At the time there was almost as much opposition to space programs as today, and for the same reasons. I guess the difference in popular support was just a few percent points more than today, but those few percent points enabled miracles. What should we DO to recover that?
What are spaceflight enthusiasts in the West doing wrong? Is anyone doing it right? If not, how can we do better? What about the rest of the world?
Please suggest some novels or films that could promote the solar optimism and great expectations that we need.
What is the Space Development Steering Committee? What does it want to achieve and how?
Little things that all space enthusiasts should do today?
Short summary of Howard’s answer: support Elon Musk and oppose those who, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, say that the money should be spent on earth.
Frank White, Steve Wolfe and others including yourself promote the idea that we are meant to play a role in the evolution of the universe? What could the universe be evolving toward? I think it could be some kind of universal Mind. Question: Do we need radically new physics to understand universal evolution, or is today’s physics almost good enough?
Short summary of Howard’s answer: we need radically new physics, something beyond today’s physics.
At the end Howard said a few things about the two new books he is writing.
Concerning today’s lamentable culture wars, Howard quoted Voltaire (as interpreted by Evelyn Beatrice Hall): “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I pointed out that Noam Chomsky said exactly the same thing: “With regard to freedom of speech there are basically two positions: you defend it vigorously for views you hate, or you reject it and prefer Stalinist/fascist standards. It is unfortunate that it remains necessary to stress these simple truths.” On this (and almost all) points, Howard and I are on the same page.
Wake up every morning thinking that today is the first day of the most important 20 years of your life, is Howard’s advice. I’ll follow it.