The Underground Lady [Page Forty-Eight]

It is important to use one’s anger for something productive, and to seek to eliminate anger overall.  If you fail at the first task, you may end up becoming one more victim of the rampant virus of the adult-child; fail at the latter, and you will almost certainly end up a rank individualist.  Mountaineering is a good analogy, but only if one takes into account how veterans of the endeavor are especially critical of one way in which it has changed, with less and less emphasis put on the team. 

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The human is at its best when comatose or in some other inactive state.  This is one reason why these are the times when people elicit the greatest sympathy from us.  As for the rest of the time, one should learn how to contemplate blank walls.

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Really, I mean it, one should contemplate blank walls.

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Studying calculus is frustrating to some, for when they need shapes to guide them the most, they are denied this comforting presence.  And when the figural actually interferes with understanding (with certain problems like Venn diagrams), it is allowed to reappear.  Much of mathematics involves the denial of one set of cognitive skills in order to encourage the advancement of others—this is its old attachment to the religious discipline of Pythagoras and the technical severity of Euclid.  But what does this selective exercise really signify, if not the attainment of a state of enlightened weakness?  The student is beaten down, is leveled, so that he may be lifted higher.  It is as much a spiritual aerobics as a becoming in logic.

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I am not searching, in the above, for a psychological basis to mathematics, but for a meaning, other than futility, to the millenial struggle in intellect which has led to so many failed confrontations with the universe, a universe that is bound to end in darkness and ice anyway.

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Lucretius knew.  Look—he knew.

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Expansion, infinite expansion coupled with multi-staged acceleration, must become our new epistime.  We should seek to travel to distant parts of space and time.  Traversal is now a goal unto itself.  And this is nothing new for some.  Sir Hillory, for instance, in his famous quote about Everest, did not mean that the mountain was mocking him with its very existence, but that it represented a distance, and that like all distances, what one did with it was to traverse it.  That it happened to be a vertical distance simply suited his skills as a mountaineer.

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Direction makes no difference.  The same can be said of Outer Space.  We should simply pick a direction, any direction, and determine the distance that we want to traverse.  And then we should dedicate all our energies to achieving that goal.  We have already done this, in a way, but with robots, and always with the excuse of gathering information in mind.  To hell with having a reason—it is reason enough to want to get off this dying rock.  We need a full-scale revival in the cult of exploration, a global revival, and space is the only medium that will do.

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So far, in space exploration, we have chosen distances that have been too short, and so we suffer from a premature doubt and reluctance to continue, as a result even of our minor failings.  Any Himalayan climber will tell you that the really big summits are all long-term goals.  It is the “crumper” who gives up and goes home after a few weeks of storms on the mountain.  Space is a really big summit.  It is time for us to set our eyes on a distant star, literally; and then, getting to Mars, or to the moons of Jupiter, would seem much more probable.

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We are not going to solve our ecological problems before our time runs out.  We have neither the political will nor the level of organization needed to do so.  We must redirect all our energies into Outer Space Exploration.  We must get off this doomed little rock, or we will certainly perish.

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The corporatists, and their tiny-minded theories about how we should organize ourselves, and our resources, are what will turn out to be the last, and worst, obstacle in the way of our species’ survival, whether we achieve this through ecological regeneration or escape to another world.   This fact will become clearer with every passing decade.  Eventually we may have to exterminate the type completely, like a house pest that can no longer be tolerated.  Ah, well, then, good riddance. 

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Let’s just come right out and say it: Scientists should replace politicians.  Eisenhower conceived of this form of society as being a nightmare—but then, he was a general, and a politician.  And he had no understanding of science.  That’s really why the Soviets beat the Americans to space, despite recent attempts at revisionism.

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If we can wrest control of scientific discovery from the military, at all levels, in all countries, then it should be done.  Otherwise the militarists will join with the corporatists, and other politicians, and together they will choke off our only way out.  They are suicidal types, and nothing can change this.

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We do not require (as we’ve said) a new mythology of outer space.  What we require is a new species-wide way in which to conceive of it.  We need to kick down the doors of the mathematicians and end the cult of Pythagoras, the cult of obscurantism and mystery, once and for all.  No equation should be seen as esoteric, no calculation should be considered a secret priority. 

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Enough secrets.  Everyone, every individual on the planet, should be able to read a Venn diagram, and know how to build an atomic bomb.

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