Discover more from Douglass’s Newsletter
So few seem t pu it together.
There are a few people who do things like read Rachel Caron's Silent Spring, and are changed by it. That change is necessary if we are to work together on climate. But so few people. Most see traffic congestion, homelessness, trash on the beach, atomic energy. And don't draw any conclusions. Consulting at the World Bank in the 90's I had some lunches with Herman Daly. I knew it was important but did not move me to take it fully serious. Why? Everything I did, like for most of us, looked reasonable at the time (this is a very weak use of reason.)The gas tank reads empty but we are surrounded by desert. Or Limits to growth
The result is.. We are not going to make it ….. without a deeply authoritarian shift. Or new religion, or new tech, mew plague or caring aliens?….. Any other scenario?
What you’ve given me is the most profound experience I can imagine.” Those were the words of William Shatner moments after returning to Earth from a trip just beyond the edge of space during an emotional talk with Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.
The Canadian actor, who famously played Capt. Kirk in the original “Star Trek””
“I mean, the little things, the weightlessness, and to see the blue color whip by and now you’re staring into blackness. That’s the thing. This covering of blue is this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue around that we have around us. We think ‘oh, that’s blue sky’ and suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, like you whip a sheet off you when you’re asleep, and you’re looking into blackness – into black ugliness. And you look down, there’s the blue down there, and the black up there, and there is Mother Earth and comfort and – is there death? Is that the way death is?”
“It was so moving to me. This experience; it was something unbelievable. Yeah, weightlessness, my stomach went out, this was so weird, but not as weird as the covering of blue – this is what I never expected. It’s one thing to say “oh the sky ... and it’s fragile,” it’s all true. But what isn’t true, what is unknown, until you do [go to space] is this pillow, there’s this soft blue. Look at the beauty of that color. And it’s so thin and you’re through it in an instant
Shatner: “So you’re through 50 miles ... suddenly you’re through the blue and you’re into black ... it’s mysterious and galaxies and things, but what you see is black, and what you see down there is light, and that’s the difference.”
“And not to have this? You have done something ... what you’ve given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I am so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now, I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life; it hasn’t got anything to do with the little green and blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my god, it’s unbelievable.”
Bezos: “It’s so beautiful.”
Shatner: “Beautiful, yes, beautiful in it’s way but.”
Bezos: “No, I mean your words. It’s just amazing.”
Shatner: “I can’t even begin to express ... what I would love to do is to communicate as much as possible is the jeopardy. The moment you see the vulnerability of everything; it’s so small. This air, which is keeping us alive, is thinner than your skin. It’s a sliver; it’s immeasurably small when you think in terms of the universe. It’s negligible, this air. Mars doesn’t have any, nothing. I mean, when you think of when carbon dioxide changes to oxygen and what is 20% that sustains our life? It’s so thin.”
Bezos: “And you shoot through it so fast.”
Shatner: “So quickly! 50 miles.”
Bezos: “And then you’re just in blackness.”
Shatner: “You’re in death.”
Bezos: “This is life.”
Shatner: “And that’s death. In the moment, this is life and that’s death. And in an instant you go ‘wow, that’s death.’ That’s what I saw.”