It was one of those days when I had so much to do I didn’t know where to start so I decided to do the unusual.
I made myself a cup of tea, splashed with just a bit of stevia for a treat, kicked back in my favorite lounge chaise, put my feet up and decided to catch up on some mid-day news. I was a bit irritated that Ted Turner had pulled CNN out of the Dish Network system (I never did get the whole story on that one. I do wish those corporate mongrels (I don’t mean magnates) could get their act together. By choice, we live out in the sticks in Arkansas and I hate to have my choices limited as to the number of lenses my news is filtered through when I get it. So, I flipped the channel to MSNBC, cuddled my cup of tea, and leaned back to enjoy (probably not an accurate word) the antics of the outside world.
Much to my surprise, I was just in time to tune into the live re-entry and splashdown of the latest NASA feat, the Orion project. The woman commentator was interviewing a spokesperson from NASA. I remembered the excitement I had experienced with the landing on the moon and the moon walk. My being had soared with the possibilities and I was clear that I did not really want to be an astronaut. And, I was also clear that I would love to explore other planets and learn what is out there.
So, here I was seeing the flashback of the first aborted attempt for the Orion project because of a “small mechanical problem” and now, on its “real” attempt, I shared the palpable excitement of the NASA spokesperson as he enthusiastically burbled on about the perfect liftoff (flashback), the shedding of the boosters, the leaving of our atmosphere, and the serene quiet of orbiting in outer space. Now, we were waiting for the dangerous burnout as Orion re-entered our atmosphere, and the perfect splashdown within a mile of the planned target zone.
“Everything was ‘perfect’,” he said. “It went off without a hitch. It was perfect.” I could feel and share his excitement.
It was my spaceship that was performing so “perfectly.” It was my team that had achieved this amazing feat. It was my NASA that had survived all the attempts to close up such an expensive line item in the budget and limit what we would do in our space exploration. The thrill of the moon walk and all our history of the exploration of space was right there in my lounge chair as I sipped my almost-forgotten tea.
With the splashdown completed, the hostess and Jay (I believe was his name) went on with various “fillers” about the space program. Clearly “Jay” was very excited about this Orion test.
He said that this Orion series were not just shuttles or unmanned explorer craft. They were being developed to carry humans into outer space. They were being developed to explore other planets, moons, asteroids. They were essential for the survival of the human race.
He said that these crafts were not being built for the sheer joy of exploring the unknown or testing our mettle as scientists. These crafts were being built to ensure the survival of the human race.
Then the words came out –
“WHEN THIS PLANET IS NO LONGER HABITABLE, WE NEED TO HAVE COLONIZED ANOTHER PLACE TO LIVE.”
I WENT INTO SHOCK.
He went on to say –
“This planet is finite. There will be a time when it will no longer support human life. For the human race to survive, we need to explore other planets we can colonize. The Orion program is the next step to take humans to find livable planets to colonize.”
No, I was not sitting in some science fiction film. This was not a fictionalized Interstellar movie.
I was sitting in my living room watching a live newscast on MSNBC and the reporter was interviewing a spokesperson from NASA as they watched a perfect splashdown of the first test of the new Orion spacecraft.
This was not about coming to know our universe in the true sense of scientific exploration. This was not exploration based on a worldview I can respect.
To my horror, I was seeing – live with my very eyes – the extent to which this TMM (Technological, Materialistic, Mechanistic) scientific system had convinced itself of its own illusion.
To say that I was shocked would be a gross understatement. What I felt was far beyond shock. A deep horror and sadness surged through my being. I felt sick at my stomach and tears filled my eyes.
The NASA scientist/spokesperson actually BELIEVED the thinking and assumptions of his scientific belief system!!!! It was like the worst possible scenario of a growing nightmare of beliefs rampantly encompassing the planet.
We, our beliefs and assumptions, are, indeed, our beliefs and assumptions.
Here was an educated “scientifically oriented” person saying that it was okay and inevitable that we would pilfer, destroy, and use up this beautiful planet. He did not know that it is a living process that can heal and regenerate if the humans on it start to live responsibly and change the paradigm out of which they are now living.
With his very words, he was giving a whole new generation of wide-eyed wonderers permission to rape and pillage the planet because it was FINITE and WOULD be used up.
Why not get as much out of it as you can while you can? IT IS FINITE anyway.
He did not know that his worldview of the possibility (or reality) of stasis is not borne out by science or his own experience. Nor was he the least bit open to one of the basic scientific tenets – that of open-mindedness – and that his view was not reality and, indeed, is a very distorted view of reality.
With people in positions of authority and power being worldview-blind, how are we to help our children know that the other realities, belief systems, and worldviews exist and need to be explored?
How insane is it that we are allowing one worldview to spread its beliefs – with the help of religion and our other institutions – to the end of raping, pillaging and ultimately destroying this magnificent planet and all its diversity?
I have been writing about this scientific belief system and its assumptions and approaches that are toxic to all life and ultimately just not true, and, yet, never before have I accepted the lengths to which it has developed a worldview which WILL lead to the believed eventuality of the entire destruction of the planet.
Luckily, I could switch him off, sit back, and WEEP.
Every time I think of what I experienced while watching this interview tears start flowing.
I weep for him and the millions like him who have come to believe their own thinking, assumptions and beliefs.
I weep for those who rather trust their own beliefs and thinking than their experience and wisdom.
I weep for those who take the license to pillage, rape and destroy and believe it is justified.
I look around me at the beauty of trees, birds, animals, the air and the water and tears again fill my eyes.
How can he/they/we be so stupid?
I am weeping – – for us all.
Anne Wilson Schaef, Ph.D