Space Travel: Putting off the Inevitable

Mankind will one day disappear from the universe. This thought fills some people with so much anxiety that they seek to escape fate through dreams of populating the stars. I think it is a bit better to deal with what is here and now.

Whence things have their origin,
Thence also their destruction happens,
According to necessity;
For they give to each other justice and recompense
For their injustice
In conformity with the ordinance of Time. -- Anaximander

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Yeah this is just another value or preference I had, back when I was an atheist, and didn't realize how much it was coming from that metaphysical position. The idea of humanity dying with our sun used to horrify me.

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  3. No need to worry. In the long run we're all dead.

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  4. Sorry Rob I accidentally deleted your comment. In any case, I think it was roughly equivalent to: "if the universe is infinite, T Rex will never disappear from it. "

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    1. Yes something like that.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19IqwU3itFk

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  5. If there is no human immortality - that is, fleshy human immortality - then the situation is genuinely horrible and tragic. I share Pascal's view that in order to truly not care about this you must be/become "a monster".

    ***

    "From the poets of all ages and from the depths of their souls this tremendous vision of the flowing away of life like water has wrung bitter cries—from Pindar's "dream of a shadow," σκιας οναρ, to Calderón's "life is a dream" and Shakespeare's "we are such stuff as dreams are made on," this last a yet more tragic sentence than Calderón's, for whereas the Castilian only declares that our life is a dream, but not that we ourselves are the dreamers of it, the Englishman makes us ourselves a dream, a dream that dreams."

    ...

    "The problem is tragic and eternal, and the more we seek to escape from it, the more it thrusts itself upon us. Four-and-twenty centuries ago, in his dialogue on the immortality of the soul, the serene Plato—but was he serene?—spoke of the uncertainty of our dream of being immortal and of the risk that the dream might be vain, and from his own soul there escaped this profound cry—Glorious is the risk!—καλος γαρ ο κινδυνος, glorious is the risk that we are able to run of our souls never dying—a sentence that was the germ of Pascal's famous argument of the wager.

    Faced with this risk, I am presented with arguments designed to eliminate it, arguments demonstrating the absurdity of the belief in the immortality of the soul; but these arguments fail to make any impression upon me, for they are reasons and nothing more than reasons, and it is not with reasons that the heart is appeased. I do not want to die—no; I neither want to die nor do I want to want to die; I want to live for ever and ever and ever. I want this "I" to live—this poor "I" that I am and that I feel myself to be here and now, and therefore the problem of the duration of my soul, of my own soul, tortures me."

    ...

    "And they come seeking to deceive us with a deceit of deceits, telling us that nothing is lost, that everything is transformed, shifts and changes, that not the least particle of matter is annihilated, not the least impulse of energy is lost, and there are some who pretend to console us with this! Futile consolation! It is not my matter or my energy that is the cause of my disquiet, for they are not mine if I myself am not mine—that is, if I am not eternal. No, my longing is not to be submerged in the vast All, in an infinite and eternal Matter or Energy, or in God; not to be possessed by God, but to possess Him, to become myself God, yet without ceasing to be I myself, I who am now speaking to you. Tricks of monism avail us nothing; we crave the substance and not the shadow of immortality."

    -from Miguel De Unamuno's *Tragic Sense of Life*.

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