pollychromatic

the world through rainbow eyes


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Utopia. Star Trek. SF Bay Area. Being a child of the 70’s.

I am a child of The Future. Don’t mistake that for me thinking that I’m somehow more advanced, or that I am misplaced in my generation. More that the surroundings and influences that were part of my formative years were those of people or things heavily invested in the ideas of a technologically, sociologically, and scientifically advanced “Future.”

I was born in the East San Francisco Bay Area to heavily geeky parents in the beginning parts of the 1970’s.  My mother worked in science and technology labs, and eventually in the computer industry. My father also was heavily into the computer industry.

I don’t really quite remember our first home computer. I can’t say we were necessarily the first adopters, but it feels like there has always been one around. My elementary school classes included lessons in Basic and Hello World is a touchstone for me in the classical sense.

Our converted garage held the local High School’s computer lab during the Summer. My brother and sister both have gone on to careers in the IT industry, having been in it early enough that it easily led to such for people with their talents and intellects.

We were also readers, gamers, fantasy and sci-fi lovers much as you’d expect.

Star Trek was watched faithfully in our home (it’s original airing having ended right about the time I was born, we were mostly watching syndicated broadcasts, though I do believe the original broadcasts were most likely watched by my family).

Next Generation was playing when I was in my very late teens and early 20’s.

This is me trying to work through some thoughts I’ve been having, you see. So, if you’re looking for a thread to follow, there isn’t one as of yet. Perhaps there never will be. It’s just some thought patterns.

What I know is that I was introduced to the idea of post-capitalism exceptionally early. Starfleet and it’s utopian future are even sort of part of my geographical cultural heritage, coming from the Bay Area as I do.

My thought processes are intricately tied to the idea of a space exploration, scientific and technological innovation and utopia.

Not really going anywhere with this as of yet, as I mentioned. Just sketching.


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Pale Blue Dot

“Since my first flight to the Russian space station Mir back 17 years ago, I’ve always maintained that the favorite pastime of astronauts is looking at the world out the window,” – astronaut Chris Hadfield

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about space, and Earth, and babies, and the future.

When babies first look in a mirror, they don’t entirely know what they’re seeing. They know it’s a face, they know it’s a creature like them. After some time, they come to learn that it is their face and their body they see in the mirror. It’s a slow process, but it’s a process nearly every single baby ever will accomplish: learning to recognize self.
As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even simply start with the mirror. It starts the first time a baby can see their fist or foot flung outward from their trunk. In time, fairly quickly even, they learn that that is their foot, their hand, their body.

We must recognize self, and where that self ends, to move on to the next stage of development.

 

Listening to that quote from Hadfield up there had me thinking about that. Many different astronauts have spoken of the unique experience of seeing the world from space. Many.

They all speak eloquently and fervently of it. They speak with the passion of those who have clearly had a conversional experience. I challenge you to go back and read those quotes if you didn’t click on the link.

If you still refuse, I will give you one of the more direct:

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’”

– Edgar Mitchell

and this one:

“A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl who, upon seeing her beauty, become her protectors rather than her violators. That’s how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. I could not help but love and cherish her.”

Taylor Wang

 

They’re speaking of something here. Again, a conversional experience. Like all conversional experiences, you can only feel the edges of what they speak of. Perhaps you have your own conversional experience that you lay over it or next to it. Perhaps you have no place in your own experience to understand what they speak of.

It is not something I have experienced. I have not seen the world from space, except as a picture or video. As lovely and moving as that is, I have no illusion that it is anything but mist compared to the ocean of that full experience.

It makes me think, though. It makes me think of evolving. It makes me think of babies learning the process of recognizing themselves in the mirror.