If you’re reading
this… WE MADE IT!
It is now 3.19pm. On my telly is Star Trek TNG. Outside my window is my mrs., mowing the back garden.
(Bear with me – this post will be slightly rambling)
In around 4 – 5 billion years, our sun will begin to run out of fuel. In burning the less tasty elements, it'll balloon out into a red giant. The Earth's seas will be boiled dry and eventually the Earth itself will be vapourised. Everything humanity ever did will then be lost. Every atrocity and beauty, every novel and song, every building and thought.
We manage to get off this mudball, and spread across other solar systems, much as we've spread across the face of the Earth like a swarm of hairy locusts. Here's where a serious of major 'ifs' come into play:
IF we don't annihilate ourselves soon and learn to freely co-operate on a world scale, we may have the economic power and organisation that interstellar colonisation will need…
IF we then spread and grow across systems, the numbers of humans should magnify hugely. Imagine, say, a human diaspora consisting of 100 planets with … say 5 billion humans each (don't need to crowd too much – plenty of room!). That would be 500 billion humans. 200 planets? 1000 billion humans… well… you get my point.
IF this process carries on for a few millennia… imagine how important the 20th and 21st centuries will become to future historians? These were the centuries that contained the computer revolution and (hopefully) laid the foundation to world peace and prosperity, thus enabling interstellar colonisation. There'll be as much interest in 2003 as we have in the early humans 3 million years ago.
IF It's far enough in the future and there are billions upon billions of humans, then there will be a time when there are probably a billion future historians studying 20th/21st century history…
IF we have had world peace, rather than armageddon/rebuild, maybe there'll be a future historian reading these words from an extracted ancient MySQL database found holographically encoded on a diamond in the year 8003. She/he'll be puzzling over terms like 'mowing', wondering if Casanova Follup was related to Rudolph Valentino and studying any uploaded photos (hence stored in the database rather than linked) closely…
Do you follow me so far? Either we blow ourselves up or never co-operate enough to get off the planet. Either way, humanity is doomed. I mean, all of us posting here will be dead in 100 years, that's pretty much guaranteed but the future isn't written yet.
To leave this planet, establish perhaps Lunar and Mars colonies (or maybe on one of Jupiter's 52 moons?) and then cross the huge distances to habitable solar systems… no one nation can do that. As an entire world, we might just manage to, but we'll need the skills and talents of the entire human race, regardless of creed, gender or colour. I mean, the woman who invents a great new ion engine may be out there but, as I've said before, it doesn't do much good if she dies as a baby, shitting herself to death in some famine-stricken hellhole.
So… if anyone's reading this in the far future… we made it! We managed to overcome all the hurdles of war and bizarre economic systems. We managed to get off Earth!
…. and we managed to train enough historians that even this tiny, unimportant corner of the 21st century internet is being read… 🙂
love and kisses,
Saturday, March 29, 2003