Monday, February 1, 2010

Conquering Space

It seems conquering space (and I enjoy the ambiguity of the word) has always been the American way. And it is rather incredible to think about the "progress," the historical push forward, the evolution of the technologies used to conquer. From the American Axe to the iPhone. From the mill to the spaceship. From tangible land type of space to outer space. Ok, I realize the iPhone can't be cited for "conquering" but it could be for "consuming," that is, consuming every moment of some peoples' lives.

I do not indulge myself too much in science-fiction but it is interesting to think about the future of technology, human relation to it, and the possible narratives that will stem from this. For now, we only have speculative forecasts of this future and the same kind of narratives. In Phillip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," you'll find the future, one that always seems post-conflict/war/nuclear fallout, to be even more confusing than the present. There isn't much difference that the main character can tell between android and human, partly because the androids have been made so well, and narratives the populous at the time has is one involving catalogs of real and fake/electric farm animals to place on top of your residence. Sounds a little crazy if you haven't read it, maybe even if you have.

But still, Nye lays out a rather detailed history and lists of the narratives/counter-narratives for the past. This also helps us understand how this effected and still effects the present. The detail, skill, and academic research done by Nye proves to be an especially informative examination. But with past and present under my belt, it makes we wonder about the future.

With the world becoming more and more technologically advanced--not just the United States, though it may be pushed along in a significant way by the US--it should make anyone wonder what the future human relation to technology will be, whether the United States will lead the march to that future, and what will the narratives and counter-narratives entail?

Perhaps, with our long line of conquering space, the new frontier will not be as much West as it will be straight up.

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