NASA is building a new Voyager spacecraft that will carry the best of modern human culture. What belongs onboard?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us CULTURE.
There exists a story that Adolf Hitler collected the cultural art treasures of the third Reich and emerged them in Lake Toplitz in the Austrian Alps somewhere near Salzburg. A plausible statement, Hitler having his mountain residence Berghof in this area, so he knew what he was doing, or did he? I am not an authority, but I believe that despite many searches looking for this wealth of culture goods, it has never actually been found. Other items crop up now and again in other places much to the delight of researchers.
Now the NASA has decided to pack a new Voyager spacecraft full with the best of modern human culture. I assume we are to decide what the best of modern human culture is. I find my photo is one of the best examples, a field and mountains laced with trees: living space for wild life. In the part of the world I live, this is not an exception, although these scenes are becoming rarer; humans occupying more land for their housing, roads, motorways and whatever. Even the air is not as clean as it was.
Of course this whole theme could be interpreted as modern art works, statues, sculptures, literature. This NASA Voyager spacecraft is going to be full quite quickly, people all standing in the NASA headquarters holding their own specific signs of modern cultural life. I would minimise my offerings and just bring the hard disk from my computer showing a little bit of everything. However when I gradually reach the top of the queue one of the official NASA people say, sorry full up, no more room in the inn ship and I am turned away disappointed that my idea of modern cultural life on Earth in refused.
The person behind me is also disappointed, and so the chain reaction occurs. Fights break out, for the right to put your own cultural memories into this space ship, the entrance to the ship is bombarded with disappointed humans wanting to spread their own idea of culture into the planetary system. The army is called in, a few shots are fired and eventually, when the injured and dead are removed (have we ever solved a problem without this happening?) everything is organised in a military way. So it seems that the human race cannot agree on what would be important to send in this ship. Everyone wants to steal the show.
One day this symbol of worldly culture will arrive on a barren planet where life has not yet evolved. A few thousand years later, or more, this planet will be civilised, perhaps by green men with four arms and one leg (they hop), but they live. One of these future creatures will dig a hole and discover a rusty broken Voyager where our culture goods are spilling out. Perhaps a child might begin to play with its contents, or if we are lucky a future scientist will recognise the value of what he has found. What does he think? He thinks look, this is how the beginning of our world was, this is how our ancient cultures wrote and thought. What did we think when we discovered the Egyptian hieroglyphics? We spent time analysing them, deciphering them and we were proud eventually to be able to discover their meaning. We were convinced they were the first Earth civilisation (my cats are convinced the Egyptians were the slaves of Bast, after all they did worship the feline race – OK, I am going off the point).
So would this strange one legged race carry out their investigations with our cultural treasures? Imagine a future planetary world, all having Facebook showing one legged creatures with photos of their planet, containing likes and dislikes about their politicians, above all this would be the new culture of this strange world and just because the whole idea of this NASA rocket was from Mark Zuckerberg.
Oh, what the universe has to thank us for.
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