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Water, Water Everywhere

An image of a quasar that resembles the one NASA found, around which the largest ever water reservoir has been identified

This post is a response to The Young American by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away. ~ Mission News, NASA Website

I once had a vision of humanity embarking on a journey to explore the universe, but they called me crazy because the economy was more important than silly dreams of exploration.

Mining the universe would be part of the process

They forgot that mining the universe would be part of the process. That it would yield huge benefits and returns, which would benefit the economy in the long term.

Instead, they said it would be better to stay put, tending to our everyday needs. Our real needs. One day, when conditions improved, they added, we could resume talk about extraterrestrial ventures.

And how will we venture beyond our planet without the necessary fuel and resources? I asked. If we exhaust everything we have, we won’t be able to launch ourselves out of orbit, let alone prospect the universe.

We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, they said.

But when we run out of resources here on Earth, the only options available will be in space, on the mineral-rich meteorites and asteroids and other celestial bodies – but we won’t be able to get there, I said.

We’ll figure it out, they said.

How? I asked. Like they did on Easter Island where they ran out of trees, then food, but had no material with which to build boats and go searching for food on other lands, or emigrate, or get help, so they starved to death, leaving behind a bunch of grand statues, and their bones … is that how we’ll figure it out?

You’re a cynic, they said, and walk away, having deflected the point.

And the idiotic feeding frenzy continues. Peak Oil, Fracking, Mediagasm, Infonami, Klondike 2.0; Hail Mary, Allahu Akbar, Mazel Tov, Namaste, Om – in the name of things that make our life better in the short term – our long-term prospects scuttled – we go round in circles.

Fact: we waste tomorrow’s investments and returns, living on resources that would ensure our long-term viability, were we to use them correctly.

We’re masturbating our way into the future, ejaculating the species’ last remaining sperm cells into a toxic solution

We’re masturbating our way into the future, ejaculating the species’ last remaining sperm cells into a toxic solution.

We’re having birth-controlled sex while the last human ovums descend from our ontological ovaries, screaming to be fertilized before it’s too late.

It’s time to rethink our strategy.

End of story.

PS – There you have it. An apt set of analogies. A bio-economic argument for the economically inclined and the biologically shrewd among us. A stark reminder that Earth, nature and humanity combined, constitute a giant organism, a gargantuan economy, which requires better planning if it’s to endure.

NB – The reservoir NASA located is 12 billion light-years away, which is kind of far away. But we don’t need that reservoir in particular. We could do with a smaller one, closer to us, if we look for one. There are so many things out there, resources that would make our lives better, if we looked for them – just like the Europeans did when they discovered America – if we got our minds out of our constipated heads and looked around.

NB 2 – This article was, in part, inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay The Young American. In his essay, Emerson delineated the incredible potential inherent in a free and open America, a culture ripe with ambition and brimming with potential, versed in commerce and unwilling to fall into the traps of its predecessors.

We’re at a similar point in history, able for the first time to break through the planet’s boundaries, in search of a new world, which will sustain and preserve the old one. Bar the dinosaur dogmas and all pea-brained -isms, both religious and secular, which deal primarily in superstition, prejudice, birthright and waste, we’re within sight of a viable future. Make a note of that.

NB 3 – This article was also inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the most famous verses of which are as follows:

‘Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.’

NB 4 – Gustav Doré based some of his illustrations on Coleridge’s poem. The imagery is compelling. It represents not just the Mariner but also humanity, bound as we are to Earth, floating in an endless, idle ocean where everything is precarious and nothing within bounds. Like the Mariner, we’re unable to operate our ship and navigate our way through, so we kill the Albatross, the only thing that can show us the way, and then wonder why on earth things aren’t working out for us.

NB 5 – There’s a reason why the classics are classic. They carry timeless messages, the essence of which will prove instrumental to our deliverance.

Even religion, that demented old fool, contains them – timeless messages. What’s the story of Noah, after all, but a cautionary tale, a primer on how to proceed when things reach their limits? And the sky where the limit is supposed to be – what is it, if not heaven itself, where salvation awaits?

Planets, planets, everywhere, asteroids and comets…