Since the early second half of the last century we start to see how this long dream of exceeding the borders of all what we always knew until then as Home, namely planet earth, start to become true. We become a planetary society.
Since then we have not just seen the arriving of the man on the moon‘surface, but several space missions have covered a much wider spectrum of the space territory that the one that we ever dreamed. Actually, if we count all kind of space missions to this achievement and not just the ones driven by men (and it makes sense to do so, because the machines are pretty much sent by us and on our own interest) and we include the satellites, space stations or space probes as the Voyager 1, we can without hesitance claim that the humankind has already gone through the whole length of our solar system ‘surface.
Therefore, we became Carl Seagan´dream of what to be human means that he showed us on the last chapter of “Cosmos” when in the last image we saw the first picture of our planet from the outside, this newly planetary society.
We are a species that must start think about itself as a planetary one and we can allow ourselves to consider our growth all over the galaxy as a next step. This dream of travelling there, of living outside this planet is now a matter of time. We´ll get there, soon or late, and that is why is so important to start to make of this dream the best of our possibilities and not just a natural extension of what we have now on earth. Let´s live this process with all the maturity that must have brought us to become a species who was able to conquer its whole planet surface, to have achieved unthinkable things for the other species such as technology, political institutions, medicine, art and so on. Let´s do not live this process as something that will just happen and will bring us to a point in which we ought to be force to do things that we do not want to do or to create a kind of society, which does nothing to do with our wishes.
This future reality starts now, on this very right moment, from our thoughts and suppositions, problematizing this “future” in order to start to draw it according with our goals.
Nevertheless we have never dealt with an interplanetary society and it is understandable that most of us might feel really unrelated to this topic but we were not related to internet since a couple of decades either and here we are using it on daily basis, studying it, working with it. It is not unrealistic to think that we´ll be living the same phenomenon with the colonization of space. It is going to be a synergic process and this means that since the time that we get there the things will start to move extremely fast, whereby now is the time to ask ourselves the following questions: In which kind of society do we want to develop once that we achieve this interplanetary phase? Which will be the relationship between earth and those extra planetary societies or their newborn habitants (something that can happen very soon if we are talking about grounding colonies)? Who is going to be on control of these extra planetary places? Is it going to be a process, which involves the whole planet, or will it be a national or maybe private mission of a few groups or nations?
The common sense, when it comes to one of those questions is a general: but of course it is going to be a whole planet earth business, everybody will be relate to it, every country will take part on it and will send some astronauts. Instead of the ONU we will create sort of new interplanetary federation who takes over this and it will be just fine. In addition, if we find any resources out there, well, they will belong to everybody just as water, air or this kind of stuff.
However, is that how the things will really work? Is it even how do they work back here? Do we even have an effective international nation’s organization? Do we have something called “all human being resources”? Does those terms even existed?
These are tough questions because it is a problematic that affront all the prejudges of the common sense. This is the typical kind of thing that everybody holds as true, but in facts, is not and can take an enormous effort to show on their real nature.
Therefore, let´s start from the beginning… We are Homo sapiens, the species that has achieved to dominate earth and the other species developing into a planetary society and for doing so, created different institutions and myths in order to explain its development to herself as well as for holding together it´s population. It´s well known that the ability that supports our conquest of the Earth was the fact that our species was able to cooperate on large basis. The fact that we were and still are-until now at least- able to cooperate with each other in order to achieve certain goals allow us developing in a way that was unthinkable for all the other species.
Since the far away discovering of agriculture, crossing the origin of different empires, the first trades society until the development of modern states the basis for all our achievements was always that a huge amount of people could cooperate on the pursue of a purpose.
It is well known for us nowadays that this cooperation was not always driven by the motivation of generosity or the wish of getting a bonus that probably runs the motivation with their work of modern bureaucrats. Sometimes there was a threat, a gun on their head, the fear for starvation, the weight of slavery on their shoulders or an angry god who will fill them with unlikeness if they do not commit to their duties. Nevertheless, the fact that they did cooperate is irrefutable and can be easily proven with a trip to the pyramids, the Aztecans ruins or to the coliseum-if we want to see the immensity of this on a physical way-because we experience the consequences of this cooperation all the time. We just need to think about simple things like; our breakfast, clothes or cellphones, everything on our world hides a huge chain of cooperation that makes possible their born. A single person makes almost nothing alone anymore, at least this “single person product” must be transported to one place to the other and need to touch at least the hands of a dozen of workers of the mail service.
Notwithstanding this is nothing that belongs exclusively to our times, not even to our era, even during the middle age, which we used to call “autarchic”, many things were not produce at the community itself, but on the best case on another city or state and they needed to be trade. Shoes, clothes, certain food or furniture, were all expensive luxury not just because of their quality and specialize work, but because they were produced from faraway places, and from there needed to be transported.
We do cooperate, that is a fact. However, other species such a bees or ants also cooperate and they have never gotten so far on their conquest. Still, none of them does it on large basis, every single community of these animals has it owns ways. Neither ants nor bees have nothing as the International Ants Forum or Bees Consulate overseas and they do it for a practical and specifically proposes. There is a huge difference between these two kind of cooperation and it is precisely this difference what make us to cooperate on large basis. This is the fact that we can create stories without any basis on real facts that would hold the necessity of this/our cooperation. That is what really differentiate us from other species, the value of freedom, politic, honor, religion or philosophy. Our cooperation has always hidden a story behind of it and we have been doing this since a long time ago on our sapiens ‘existence (even before of that). This is what really matter if you want to dominate a planet, you need to be able to hold cooperation on huge basis and for doing so you need to tell a story that everybody trust. Creating a story is the power that we own and the other species do not.
In our modern times, the myth-or story-is that we own something call Human rights and that we were born with them. How can we know that this is a myth and we are not actually born with those rights as most of the constitutions in most of the countries stablish? Well, the fact that we did survive for over thousands year without even knowing what does a constitution means should tell us something. Every epoch creates different myths, we well know the ones from the previous civilizations, we have studied them enough. I am not going to explain how that this exactly works, it is not the main point of this essay and furthermore it has been explained enough in popular modern books such as Homo Deux or Homo Sapiens from Noal Yora so it would not contribute great news either.
What matters for explain this is the fact that this Human Rights myth runs the common sense of our era and its consequences for the future coming times which I describe as “Planetary times”. The importance of understanding that there is a myth behind our thoughts and that this controls the way in which we judge or evaluate the things is the main point here. Because this modern common sense will be the one that draw the configuration of the beginning of this new era along with all its consequences.
The myths that govern an era do not need to be either accurate nor extend to the whole of the population. What they need to achieve is to be the dominant way of thinking and understanding at their time. Coming back to the examples about the past, we can think about the Egyptian population on the times of the building of the pyramids. As everybody knows, Egypt was not an equalitarian society, and we are not talking here on this way in which modern people, with all their believes on human rights understands as equalitarian. We are not referring to the fact that in Egypt there were too many very poor people by that time. We are literally meaning that two people in Egypt who comes from different part of the social leader were not consider the same in front of Egyptian society. Their inherent value was not the same and therefore what they could wait, get or ask from the society was completely different. If a poor Egyptian slave ‘kid died, bad luck, we lost a material resource, nothing to worry so much about despite the fact that there was some money involved. No second’s thoughts about a soul or a broken family, no hard feelings. Slaves were different from the pharaohs and everybody saw the things that way. If a pharaoh ‘kid died, well, that was something different. A god´s son was needed to be bury and this will shake up the whole empire. The idea that it was exactly the same kind of lost would have not crossed anyone´s mind, this was the way in which things were. This is what the gods wanted for them and there was not so much to discuss about. To even consider this way of seeing the things is something crazy for us. Sending dozens of little kids to be bury with the pharaoh because this would help him to go through his next life is an alien though which not even the weirdest person on the world would agree on. Although it is not that in this modern world there is no kid who suffers or lives a terrible situation but it is well agreed by the international society that this kind of things are tragedies that must be eradicated from earth surface. During the Egyptian pharaoh´s time this was consider normal and necessary because the myths that explained their way of living said so.
The pharaoh was a son of god, he was a sacred person and must be above all the others, the slaves are not persons, the gods will provide abundancy for the ones who follow their orders and so on. If this was actually true did not matter, there was any scientifically pragmatically way of thinking by that time and nobody will come up with the idea of trying to test on Lab whether the pharaoh was really different, owns more chromosomes or whether his blood was really blue. There were any physicist trying to test out the magnetic field of this other world in which the pharaoh was nor was someone trying to invent a new cellphone able to connect with this fifth dimension in order to send greetings from pharaoh’s widow.
Their understanding of the world determinates the way in which they lived. The trueness of their myth was not relevant, but necessary.
Ourselves way of understanding this currently world is also a necessity for us. Just imagine what would happen if we all stop to believe that those little pieces of paper(namely money) hold any value and refuse to get them on exchange for our services. What would happen if we do not trust this human rights thing anymore and we decide to go for the all way and try to solve the things by ourselves under the old teeth by teeth, eye-by-eye precept?
World would be chaos and we will probably start after a very short time to see again starvation on earth faze. We are 7.000.000 million people now on earth surface and if we suddenly decide not to believe any more on our myths we would not be able to cooperate on huge scale any more. Without the trust on the value of money you cannot hold together this currently international market anymore, goods will stop to be interchanged or they´ll be but on a very unsifting way. It makes sense to trust our own stories if you want to go to the market to get some goods or being paid for making your job and it´s exactly this necessity, which explains why is it so hard to get the people to think under a new perspective.
Although everybody honestly thinks that we all own the sea, the air or the water how many have given some time to analyze this facts. It is a consequence of trusting on this modern world ‘myths to hold as a logical this understanding of the planetary property of the natural resources but how many of these can really be found on facts?
Because to fly on a jet or drive a yacht is a thing that people can do for experiencing this “shared international property”, thus not a common one, but other completely different is wanting to export through sea or to extract oil. We all have seen how many wars have been leaded in the last decades because of those named planetary resources.
This “openness” stop to be so as soon as you touch one the nations ‘interest who are on control of it. The same happens with air and any other planet resource so what can we really expect to happen with the interplanetary territory?
It is not a secret that most of the military international conflicts are driven by the motivation of the control over those things. That just the most powerful countries have something to say when it comes to decide their administration and that even though Africa is an area extremely rich on these resources its population one of the poorest on the world.
The things are not as they seemed to be on a first impression, a second, third of fourth analyze must be necessary if we want to get the truth of all this. The truth of what? The truth of how do the administration of the “planetary resources” really work and who benefits from it. Otherwise any possible supposition about the future administration of this infinite possibility of new resources-which means the control or domination of the extra planetary space or territory-will be lead on the very same way that are being leaded now on earth. The future should be a place in which all our dreams as human beings could be fulfill.
The jump to becoming a planetary species must be consider as an achievement of all its history and all its members because was based and built over the bases of its cooperation.
There is nothing achieved by a single man. Every single step that the humankind leads forward was a collective meeting of all human ‘work. With this understanding and lecture of things must be build this next “humankind” step. We do not need to live all the science fiction movie stuff to realize what we should have avoided. The future does not need to be a place divided by the ones who have the control of the outer space and the ones who does not. We do not need to export our wars and conflicts to the space. This can be a new foundation for our specie, the moment in which our collectiveness encounter the form of the future. The outer space must be our new home, new humankind home, for all of us and in consequence with that to draw under the understanding that it belongs to the whole specie.
If we want to live according with those goals, if these are going to be ours expectations, we need to embrace this image of ourselves that was given to us by Carl Sagan at the end of Cosmos. A planetary specie, which locates itself over the burdens of nations and continent, which recognizes just one place as its territory, the whole world, soon an interplanetary world.