Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

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After the rush of yellow toned tactile lightweight metallic substances

Last night I was strangely comforted by the very young twentysomething married couple in the row in front of me on the Vegas to Dallas leg of my flight. He spent the flight playing one-handed video Monopoly, and she was deeply embedded in a Harry Potter novel. I like that even when I've been through a personally quite grueling week, the world is still a place with room for Baltic Avenue and quidditch.

This morning I slept in, breaking my rest only to further progress on the very entertaining Daw-type science fiction novel (by a woman whose name begins with Cz with whom I am unfamiliar) I bought at the Vegas Waterstone Books. I tend to like golden-age-ish space opera-y stuff, so this one hits the spot, although I wonder if we really always have to call people who stayed on Earth "Earthers" and people who fared out "Spacers" and people who couldn't even get along with people in space "Outsiders". I get a form of 'future nostalgia' from books such as this. I am so pleased I got to see the pioneering space explorations--the moon walk, the first space station, the unmanned exploration of the solar system, and the confirmation of planets in other star systems. But I am nostalgic for a world I will not live to see, in which we discover things about the wide universe which will make all we know about the universe fit, like the old Guess Who song, inside one's little sister's purse.

I am grateful that we now live in a time when the first effective chemical treatments for various emotional conditions are finally having limited good effect for a material group of the afflicted. But wouldn't it be wonderful to be alive when all these mental challenges are history, in the way polio and smallpox are now? Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the same enthusiasm devoted to putting a man on the moon be devoted to solving the vast uncharted frontier of the mind? That will happen someday. I am nostalgic for that future time, although I have never seen it occur.

So many times science fiction confirms for us our essential humanity posited among fundamental social change. Whether the future is seen as rosy or as horrendous, the novels make the point that people will still be people, faced with the choices of love, hope and annihilation with which people are always faced.

But although I know that the human spirit is the human spirit, I am wistful today for a world in which democracy and human rights exists world-wide, hunger, disease and poverty are distant memories, and we all look up at the stars as a destination rather than a daydream.
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