[ExI] Fermi Paradox and Volvo star systems

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Fri Apr 3 16:28:44 UTC 2020

On 31/03/2020 17:26, billw wrote:
> I dunno.  A lot of this seems so artificial, and of course that's all 
> it is.  I am deeply romantic and would hate to see that changed in any 
> way.  I hate what we are doing to this planet and don't want to live 
> in a habitat circling Jupiter or somewhere.  Why mess with perfection?

'Artificial' is what we do. What we strive for. Nature is far from 
perfection, and we are constantly trying to make it better. It's what we 
have been doing since we began. If that were not true, we'd still be 
swinging from tree branches. What we are doing to the planet (that bad 
things we are doing to it, that is) is unintended fall-out from that 
process, and we will learn to do it better, do less damage, fix the 
damage we have done, and continue to improve on nature.

We will do that or destroy ourselves in the process. There is no middle 
course, no 'sustainability'. That's just shorthand for failure. It's 
either up or down for us. Anything else is just balancing on a 
knife-edge and we know where that leads.

There's nothing wrong with 'artificial'. Think about what the word 
means, where it comes from. It's the expression of our highest impulse. 
The word is unfairly denigrated, and I think this is just luddite 
propaganda. There's a tendency to idealise nature, to regard anything 
'natural' as necessarily good, but a moment's thought should expose that 
for the dangerous lie it is.

Rather than the conflict between 'natural' and 'artificial', we should 
have a conflict between doing things well and doing them badly. We can 
better ourselves and the world well, or we can do it badly. Mostly, 
we've been doing it pretty badly so far, but that doesn't mean we 
shouldn't do it at all, it means we need to get better at it. Lots better.

And we are learning all the time.

Ben Zaiboc

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