Friday, February 21, 2014

Pessimism, & the Pessimistic People Who Push It

While I was researching last night, I stumbled upon some editorials by a former space scientist and professor. I'm not going to mention his name, as that will accomplish nothing, but for a few years starting around 2001, he was quite prolific. His work tapered off and now he is seldom seen. But his comments, which I had read before, still raised my ire. 
A lot of them made sense, however. He wasn't entirely off base. Too much of what he wrote, though, came across as simply bitter opinion. A lot of his insight was sloppy. He claims to have been a former "space cadet" himself, but saw the light.
He feels that he is being a realist.
Trouble is, realists seldom make history.
I'm not going to sit here and write about all those discoverers and explorers of yore. That's a tiresome exercise. If you want to, you can certainly look these things up and see where some person or persons had an idea, pursued it, and were dogged and nagged and belittled along the way.
I'm not going to do that.
To be honest, he just seemed pessimistic. Horribly so.
It just puzzles me, though, that someone can be so bitter and negative about something. Perhaps it's a function of age. Some of my oldest friends and acquaintances have become this way. Sorry, the Space Age didn't work out for you, but remember, I was right there with you, and I still hold out hope. 
Is it going to be complicated? Yes. Expensive? At the moment, sadly, yes. Does it need to be done?
Depends upon your viewpoint.
If you think that the fate of life will be forever tied to that of our planet, then of course you might take the stance that human expansion into space is a costly mistake.
That seems so pessimistic to me. Sorry, I don't want to see that happening.
Whenever I read things that are that pessimistic, I remember what Edward O. Wilson said at the Connecticut Forum "A Look Into The Scientific Mind", back in December of 2002. When asked how long he thought the human race would ask, his response was "forever, or at least until the end of time."
How more optimistic can you be than that?

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