Category: Exploration



It has been over 3 centuries since my earliest ancestors from Scotland and Ireland set foot on this continent. Regardless of that time interval I, to this very day, have deep feelings for my links to both those two countries. Every once in awhile, just like ET, I have this urge to “call home”, but unlike him I am not sure who to call. I do have one compensation in that by posting a few articles for a British online magazine, The Urban Times, I have contact with that broad home-base of my ancestors.
ET’s yearnings will, in my opinion, be ours to experience someday as we succeed in exploring and, in some cases, settling on distant planets both in this galaxy and beyond. I am also certain that those new space-pioneers will experience the ET-effect.
Perhaps there is a genetic link or geological imprint that is passed along from generation after generation. Again, in my opinion, that imprint could be a composite not just of family linkages, but deep seated associations with the physical and emotional pull of our home-base; in this case our planet. Science-fiction notable, Ray Bradbury, documents this in his short story, “The Martian Chronicles.” In that regard, I suspect Bradbury also has experienced the ET-effect.
Going a step further, scientists are researching the source of our beginnings, and are currently documenting the fact that we are “stardust people.” By that they mean, the critical biochemical ingredients that lead to our coming into being have come from the Cosmos. Is it possible then that our deep urging to reach out and explore into deep, deep space, is a cosmic ET-effect? In other words, as stardust people, do we possess a cosmic imprint that makes us yearn to not just call home, but to explore where that home might be? Furthermore, does this imprint have a spiritual impact as well? In either of these cases we can only be enriched if, in fact, they are real.
Perhaps one of the most potentially exciting and rewarding results would be when we have a meet-up with ET, and because of our mutual cosmic imprint we quickly achieve a comradeship that welcomes us into our real home; the COSMOS. Suddenly many of our Earth-born irritations and prejudices shrink to nothing as we embrace our real home. Yes, there will be evolutionary and developmental differences between us and the ETs we meet, but they become insignificant because of our growing mutual sense of unity and belonging. We are really home and among a host of amazing kinfolk. – JOY!

In the composite image above, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay are at a pinnacle of mutual accomplishment. Alongside those two great achievers are astronauts Bill McCarthur and Valery Tokarev the Commander and Engineer, respectively, of the International Space Station (Expedition: 12 ) They too, are at a pinnacle of mutual achievement. Most importantly neither of these great moments occurred without the full support of each partner for the other.  Furthermore, in each case all of the team members are from different nations. Global success was a fact and not an impossible dream for both of those great moments in history.

Ego is good.  If by that we mean we are stable in both our self awareness and self confidence. We all possess it in varying levels of healthiness. When we say ego is bad are we really talking about ego or are we talking about how it is being misapplied? Following the preceding explanation we would suspect misapplication is the dominant reason.

As parents, friends, employers, in fact all society, declare we are expected to excel. This is good and healthy too. Here again, if we mature, with a balanced awareness between excelling and compassionate fairness to others we should be leaders. Unfortunately there are others who place excelling, by any means, as vital and at the usual expense of others. History records that many of these types become leaders. History also records the ongoing endless and often violent power struggles between these ego-abusive leaders. In these settings, humankind is held hostage, and any progress is more by accident than design.

In the “dynamic duos” depicted above. ego is definitely present and strong. Yes, there are even momentary clashes, but these are modulated by that sense of compassionate fairness that is actively present. So, we should not attempt to stamp out ego in an effort to achieve more peaceful and cooperative global unity. We should both honor it, and strengthen those compassionate elements by giving those who possess and practice them leadership responsibilities. Right now, in a very limited, but successful way, we are doing  just this with our space programs such as the International Space Station.

No, no, there is no way to legislate this type of global relationship. We must work to help it evolve. Our international efforts with the space station, with the Hubble and other space telescopes are exactly the ideal environment. We focus ourselves and our egos on working together toward common goals. We mutually and joyfully share the GLORY of our successes! The host nations beam with pride and welcome compatriots from other nations with honor.

Well, how many disadvantaged, oppressed and hungry will any of this directly affect? Directly, none. Indirectly, many and over time possibly all. How? We do it by boosting global pride (call it ego) and by expanding each nation’s involvement in some level of the exploration of space. This, in turn, can begin to create a national atmosphere that enables changes in governance and care for all its citizens. Yes, individual nations will lose their unique moments of glory, but will greatly enjoy shared progress. Now we know this can happen, it has in the past, high upon Everest and continues today, up there in Low Earth Orbit. It also grows through the multi-national eyes of our powerful space telescopes. Next, way before Mars, we should be jointly establishing another great International Space Station; this time on fair Luna. Luna belongs to all of us, and an international Moon Base will achieve a new, and exciting unity that again can lead to newer and stronger steps toward world peace.

This concentration on mutuality and shared glory could also impart flacid egos. This is definitely a possibility, but it can be avoided by preserving the focus of our international missions and goals. Demand is constant and insistent. Resting on one’s laurels presumes we have all the answers when actually what we have accomplished is a multitude of new questions. Our focus on mutual goals is enlivened and sharpened. We remain motivated.

Well, just how sure-fire successful would all of this be?  We will not know for certain unless we continue what we have started. Nations will begin to change because their citizens now enjoy a real and expanded ego boost as opposed to the vicarious boosts from flawed egos they have regretfully elected to lead them. They will look for new leaders who have those compassionate elements and the desire to share in humankind’s progress. Above all else, those of us who are currently enjoying this progressive status must do all we can together to promote and strengthen it, globally. International efforts for space exploration are very positive ways to put ego in its proper place and humankind back on a progressive path.

Those days of glorious, courageous single nation moments in space history are. past. From this point forward we must go forth again, but jointly, joyously, heroically and for the betterment of all humankind. No longer is space exploration a unique expedition, it is forever now a global obligation.

IMAGE CREDITS:

Image on Mount Everest of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay: Courtesy of “A Continuous Lean” http://tinyurl.com/3cp8sux

Image of astronauts McCarthur and Tokarev Courtesy of Space.com



A Blue Cosmic Hug Courtesy Of Hubble Space Telescope

Looking for a quick and easy, everyday spiritual boost?

Well, have you tried a Cosmic Hug? They are all around you. Right under your nose. Let’s look over some various nearby and distant samples and the reasons why they are cosmic hugs.

Our own cosmos and associated hugs: The image on the left is a part of my local cosmos, but every one of us has one. All we need to do is look for it. It doesn’t hide. If we cannot see it, it is because we are not looking for it.

The image of the gulls in both flight and reflection are cosmic elements that enthrall us. Experiencing that uplifts us just as if we had been given a warm, affectionate hug. The sound of the gulls’ sometimes gleeful, sometimes plaintive cries also draws us in to that cosmic moment and we feel tension; even bitterness or grief fly away from us.

Well, not everybody is for the birds. Be assured they do not mind, and you are not abandoned either. Many of us are often stopped in our tracks by the stunning beauty of a wildflower calmly waiting for our discovery. No musical cries, often not even an enticing odor. The only thing that emanates constantly from it is pure beauty.The lovely wild orchid on the right is also part of my local cosmos, but it can also be yours just as those gulls can be. These cosmic elements are always with us, if we doubt that then most likely we are not paying attention to our local cosmos. While we are taking those hikes in the woods we may also find other stunning examples of our personal cosmos. Like the gulls and the orchid, those examples await us. In each case in some very unique and personal way we are both surprised and renewed. We actually feel it course through our bodies as we welcome a treasured cosmic hug.

Although venturing forth across our earthly cosmos or even beyond and into the great Cosmos is an appealing goal. Our first efforts should begin locally. It will include all that is and all that surrounds us and they will always be rewarding. Yes, there are pockets of ire, sorrow, hate, and abuse within our human cosmos, but we will never find those perils from the natural world or the Cosmos above us. We can take full refuge within our naturally local cosmos. Once we have made those discoveries then our ventures into the deep glory of  the great Cosmos will bring richer more fulfilling hugs. Most importantly, usually those hugs come from a glance, not from prolonged, difficult searches. The image on the left is an example of a surprise embrace that we only receive if we keep an open spirit to all that surrounds and often awaits us.

Often frantic, sporadic hook-ups are physically refreshing, but are cosmically vacant. The stimulation from these hugs starts in the brain and spreads throughout and usually becomes embedded psychologically.  Perhaps the most effective process for finding and benefitting from these embraces is to practice a Star Trek “shields down” attitude.  We are each a cosmos, so a smile, a friendly greeting to all, or a” hello young man/lady” to a youngster are all elements of cosmic hugs. No contact required; just awareness and acknowledgement.

Do you greet beautiful Spring flowers? Do you laugh with a joyful bird? Do you express sympathy to a fractured or dying tree? All are cosmic and when you share and extend a cosmic hug all are enriched; especially you. Above all, we suddenly realize the opportunity for these hugs is both unlimited and universal.

Have you had your cosmic hug today? Have you given a cosmic hug today? If neither, why? Well, you can get an awesome hug by joining Carl Sagan in a walk along the shores of our Cosmic ocean. Just click the Lady Vinca image below to begin a stroll along the shores of that majestic ocean.

May The Cosmos In All Its Ways Be With You.

IMAGE CREDIT: 

Blue Cosmic Hug – courtesy of Hubble Space Telescope and NASA/ESA

Gulls: Waddell Robey (c) 1968

Wild Orchid: Waddell Robey (c) 1965

Shy Racoon: National Wildlife Refuge images

Vinca: Waddell Robey (c) 1970


Human Compatibility with Robomatics: A New Enduring Consciousness

*Ossification: a tendency toward or state of being molded into a rigid, conventional, sterile, or unimaginative condition.

Two of my recent blog articles, Nurturing Nature, and An All Digital, Deep Space Voyage have included concerns and commentary about the rise in the use of automation and robotics. This is not meant to imply that either automation or robotics are a threat or bad for humankind. What is of both concern and importance is how humankind manages those developments to its best advantage.

We have already seen evidence of situations where humans have been lulled into dulled attentiveness within an automated or robotically controlled environment. Yes, a good bit of it has been in the form of science-fiction which tends to promote fear and not reason. In reality, though, we have also learned of situations where failed or malfunctioning systems have led to catastrophic events including the loss of human life. Emergency detection and warning systems that fail are one example, another are automated control systems that suddenly fail.

In many instances of these failures serious damages or loss of life are avoided due to the alert and rapid intervention by humans. What happens if there are no humans around; only robots monitoring robots? The risks, if any, would all depend upon the particular automated environment. The higher the risk of a chained failure the more important it is to have immediate and alert human monitoring and intervention. If the environment requires human presence then we must address the real problem of decreasing alertness. Do we depend solely on robotics to alert the human to problems?

Interactive compatibility: The critical challenge: By interactive compatibility we are referring to the increasing high-tech relationships between humans and robomatic (automation + robotics) systems. The word active has always been a critical element. We find it is both expensive and hazardous to take a casual or even indifferent view of our duties in monitoring and adjusting robomatic systems. Compatibility relates directly to the fitness of the human counterpart for these responsibilities. In our view the ongoing, successful interactive compatibility between NASA’s scientists/engineers/technicians and the many robomatic systems they have launched and continue to monitor exists as a key role model for the future.

Compatibility also embraces the engineering design of the various spacecraft that NASA/JPL has created. These spacecraft are not simply pre-programmed systems, they are, in essence, alive and maintain contact with their human counterparts. This is most remarkably illustrated by the very alive and far away Voyager craft, the gleeful explorer-craft Cassini, and, of course, the Mars rovers. Yes, there are many more in the list. The foregoing are just newsbreaker examples. The future with its rapid growth of robomatic systems on Earth and in space will demand entirely new perspectives in areas of scientific and high-tech education/training. This will be especially critical when those relationships between robomatic systems and humans span centuries. Contact with deep space systems will, of necessity, become trans-generational.

Transgenerational interactivity with deep, deep space robomatic systems will introduce an entirely new array of sci-tech skills that become a culture. Yes, a highly scientifically oriented culture is essential for humankind’s growing interrelationship with the Cosmos and with all the exploratory craft we both send and command into that awesome arena. Great grandfather, grandfather, father, son, and so forth will be an uninterruptable and contiguous chain of scientific and technical competence that will carry humankind safely into distant galactic environments and worlds. There will be no room in this culture for regressive or unimaginative thinking. In fact, it will not even exist.

A scary future? For some of us now, it could very well be. This is because our education and with it the encouragement to think creatively has generally been underdeveloped. For others this could appear as a defiance of spirituality whereas in reality it will be an entirely new and highly consoling spirituality. Finally there are no longer any doubts about our status as people in what will become an immense cosmic reality. We feel welcome. We are made whole by this awareness and become joyfully at peace. The power and glory of the cosmos is within us and we are welcome participants in the discovery of all that it is. Lastly, we will finally achieve that great meet-up with other life-forms and fully rejoice that it is certain we are not and will never be alone.

The following video of a talk by Arthur C. Clarke in the 20th century predicting our future in this century is highly relevant because of the accuracy of his predictions. The forward evolution of humankind he predicts is and will continue to progress. So, unleash your minds and let them begin to explore all that surrounds us. You will be warmly welcomed.

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