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Slow train coming

  The space is pervaded with green, with the chirping of birds and the sweet smell of pollen. We are in the countryside of Dordogne, and it would be difficult for anyone to find a more idyllic setting. In general, I try not to read the news, especially here, but whenever I do, that idyllic image is replaced by another one: the slow train, picking up speed downhill. The machine engineers are incompetent and instead of stopping it and repairing the faults with care, they keep on loading it with coal. Its lights are on in the darkness; they illuminate only the small patch in front, so the passengers could see the end, but only in a fashion.  Why are we in a such a hurry to destroy our civilisation? Do we have so much that we are bored with it? There was this boredom in the air before the epidemic in 2020. I had the feeling that people, especially the young ones, were waiting eagerly for something to happen. Anything. Just not that day after day boredom. They were trying to shake it off –

Some rambling about stars, Amazon and space travel

Some of us hate Amazon, some of us love it. Yet, it is difficult to find a person in the modern world who has never bought anything on Amazon. I always had the feeling that buying goods on Internet destroys the conections between people and in general try to avoid it but in spite of my strong feelings, I have used the Amazon online shopping many times. It is so convenient! It saves time - everything is just one click away. It is one of those things that makes you dislike yourself - the gap between conviction and reality. 

Yesterday I took the time to read an interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and for the first time I saw the picture in a very different light. It made me think: may be the dislike of Amazon is based on our fear of change. We want to stop it and have everything we have known for years, everything with which we feel comfortable. What made me questioning my believes was Bezos’ idea of space travel. I always thought them useless. Why go somewhere else if we haven't even put in order everything on our own planet? - I thought. However Bezos puts it in a different way. ‘I believe if we don't we will eventually end up with a civilisation of stasis, which I find very demoralising. I don't want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in a civilisation of stasis.’ ‘Now take the scenario, where you move out into the solar system. The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power unlimited for all practical purposes. That's the world that I want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in.’

I am not sure if he is right or wrong because of course  the thousand Mozarts will come together with the thousand Hitler, Stalins and the rest who most likely will want to colonise the space regardless any other rights of life. Yet, we need to think big. If we could predict every outcome of our actions we will, most likely, never have the courage to do anything in life. To quote Edward Young: ‘Too low they build who build beneath the stars.’ 

So how did I get from Amazon shopping to space travel! I know they are ridiculously different from each other in essence but so close in the spirit of innovation, of thinking big. If we succeed of doing things with attitude devoid of arrogance and everything new is inwoven with the old, then our world will be OK. But then, we will not be ordinary human beings, will we? If we could do this, we will be in harmony with the balance of the universe. Then we will be able to build above; we will build among with the stars.


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